BOSTON (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers had lost seven straight at Fenway Park, including Games 1 and 2 of the World Series last October.
That’s nothing, at least to Chris Sale.
The Red Sox left-hander has not won a regular-season game in Boston in more than a year, a slump that continued on Saturday night when he left in the fifth inning with a four-run deficit and the Dodgers went on to beat the Red Sox 11-2.
“I’ve got no other excuses. I’m just not getting it done,” said Sale, who allowed five or more runs for the third straight outing — a career first. “Nobody else to blame.”
Justin Turner had three extra-base hits, two of them off Sale, and Cody Bellinger moved into a tie for the major league lead with his 31st homer — one of four hit by the Dodgers to snap a four-game losing streak. Los Angeles had lost seven straight at Fenway and fell to 1-11 all-time there after dropping the series opener on Friday night.
Sale (3-9) knows how they feel, going 0-3 in 13 regular-season starts in Boston since his last win at home on July 11, 2018.
“Going out there every fifth day and getting my (butt) kicked … it’s not fun,” said Sale, who made the All-Star Game and finished in the top six of the Cy Young voting in each of the last seven seasons. “I’m still working, still grinding. I’m not going to give up. It’s tough going out there every day and being a liability to your team.”
Sale allowed five runs on seven hits, a walk and a hit batter while striking out seven. He gave up Turner’s leadoff homer in the third that made it 2-0 and then an RBI double to start the scoring in the Dodgers’ three-run fifth inning.
“He’s one of the best pitchers in the big leagues and this is on us — the coaching staff — to get it right,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “We’ve got to get him the right place. We’ll look hard the next four days and he’ll be out there on Thursday ready to go.
“We need him. We know that.”
Ross Stripling (4-3) allowed one run — Xander Bogaerts’ 19th homer — on four hits, striking out seven to snap Boston’s five-game winning streak. Bellinger, who turned 24 on Saturday, and A.J. Pollock hit back-to-back homers off knuckleballer Steven Wright in the seventh for the Dodgers, who lead the majors with 61 victories.
The next batter, Max Muncy, lined one off Wright’s foot to knock him out of the game.
The large and vocal Los Angeles contingent in the crowd out-cheered the Red Sox fans for much of the game. By the time Dodgers left the field after the game, almost all of the fans who had remained were rooting for the visitors and they serenaded Bellinger with an “M-V-P!” chant.
Ex-Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly reliever Stripling to start the sixth with a 5-1 lead and gave up a flare single to Bogaerts that brought in one run. With two on, he threw an extremely high wild pitch to put runners on second and third, then worked a full count to Christian Vázquez.
Vázquez fouled off a pair of pitches before fanning on a 99 mph fastball to end the inning.
With Sale pitching to his regular catcher Sandy León, Cora put Vázquez at first base to keep his bat in the lineup. He had a tough time.
In the fourth inning, Corey Seager hit a sharp grounder to first and Vázquez wheeled to throw to second to get the lead runner. The relay from Bogaerts at shortstop came back to first, where second baseman Brock Holt was covering.
Vázquez, who was in the area but a step or more away from the bag, nabbed the throw, but needed a second before realizing he had to hustle to tag the base before Seager got there.
There was no damage done, but that wasn’t the case in the Dodgers’ four-run eighth. With Muncy on first, Seager hit a slow roller back to the mound for the 1-3 putout; Muncy headed to third, which was uncovered because of the shift.
Vázquez threw behind third baseman Rafael Devers as he raced to the bag, the ball went into left and Muncy scored to make it 8-2.
“With this club, you’ve got to continue to push on,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “They’re so offensive, anything can happen. It’s a credit to our offense. We didn’t give them an opportunity to come back into the game.”
Dodgers: Roberts said LHP Scott Alexander is still not ready to return from left forearm inflammation. He wasn’t on the injured list June 11 and remains in Arizona. “This has taken longer than expected,” Roberts said.
Red Sox: 1B Mitch Moreland (right quadriceps strain, June 8) was “a little bit tight,” Cora, and did not play in his rehab assignment on Friday. He’s now scheduled to make an appearance for Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday. … RHP Nathan Eovaldi (loose body, right elbow) was scheduled to pitch to live batters on Monday.
The teams complete their three-game series on Sunday night, with Red Sox lefty David Price (7-2) facing All-Star Game starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (10-2).
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