Steven Wright had his way with the Dodgers, fluttering his way through the lineup like a hot knife through butter in a 9-0 win for the Red Sox in the opener of a weekend interleague series on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
Wright struck out nine in his first career shutout, and had his knuckleball working so well he made Vin Scully say “Wow” a few times while calling the game on SportsNet LA.
The right-hander allowed only three hits and one walk, and after his leadoff walk of Joc Pederson in the third inning Wright retired his next 15 batters faced.
Wright pitched the first individual shutout against the Dodgers this season.
Scott Kazmir did not fare as well on the mound, allowing two home runs and walking four batters against the top offense in baseball.
He left in the sixth inning down 4-0, but the Red Sox tacked on a tidy five runs to further put away a game that was already decided.
Dodgers starting pitchers have failed to last six innings in five straight games, and have completed six or more innings just 11 times in the club’s last 32 games.
Red Sox backup catcher Sandy Leon gave Boston a 1-0 with a sacrifice fly in the second inning, then slammed a two-run home run to left field in the fourth.
He added a bases loaded drive off the center field wall in the eighth inning that was somehow was only a single, thanks in part to a great play by Pederson in center.
Leon has ridiculously productive as a backup catcher this season, hitting .374/.409/.598 with 15 extra-base hits in 35 games. Against left-handed pitchers, including Kazmir, Leon has been sublime, 18-for-40 (.450) with three home runs, four doubles, five walks and 14 RBI in 47 plate appearances.
Justin Turner doubled in the first inning, his 25th of the season. It was Turner’s sixth consecutive game with an extra-base hit, the second-longest streak by a Dodger this season. Corey Seager had a seven-game streak from June 22-30.
During his extra-base hit streak, Turner is 9-for-24 (.375) with six doubles and a home run.
Running in place
The Dodgers (.556) and Red Sox (.551) entered Friday within percentage points of each other, and both were two games out of first place in their division. Boston trailed the Blue Jays and Orioles in the American League East, with Los Angeles behind the Giants in the National League West.
Thanks to Friday’s efforts, including wins by Toronto and Baltimore and a loss by San Francisco, both the Red Sox and Dodgers end Friday like they began the day — two games out of first place in their respective divisions.
Ross Stripling will be recalled on Saturday to start the middle game of the series, a 1:10 p.m. PT start, televised on both SportsNet LA and Fox Sports 1. Stripling was optioned to Triple-A on Tuesday, but is allowed to come back within 10 days because he’s replacing a player going on the disabled list, with a strained back sidelining Bud Norris.
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will start for the Red Sox.
Home runs: Mookie Betts (23), Sandy Leon (4), Travis Shaw (14)
WP - Steven Wright (13-5): 9 IP, 3 hits, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
LP - Scott Kazmir (9-5): 5⅓ IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts