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Rafaela homers, drives in seven runs to lead Red Sox' rout of Cubs

Ceddanne Rafaela Boston Red Sox Ceddanne Rafaela - The Canadian Press

BOSTON (AP) — Ceddanne Rafaela homered and drove in seven runs, and Tyler O’Neill also went deep as the Boston Red Sox routed the Chicago Cubs 17-0 on Saturday.

The 23-year-old Rafaela was asked if he could recall a time when he amassed seven RBIs in a game.

“That I remember? No,” Rafaela said.

The Red Sox established single-game season bests at home with runs and 21 hits. Boston, which lost eight of its first 11 games at Fenway Park this season, snapped a two-game skid and won for the fifth time in eight games overall.

Rafaela, playing shortstop and batting ninth, went 4 for 4. Masataka Yoshida made his first start since April 20 and went 4 for 5. Bobby Dalbec, who entered the game batting .093, had two hits, three RBIs — including a run-scoring hit in a six-run fifth inning — and scored twice.

“It was a sense of relief that I was able to deliver good results,” Yoshida said.

Six Red Sox players finished with at least two hits – a good development for a lineup that has lost a few key contributors since opening day.

“We always want the guys to stay healthy throughout the year. It’s sad that we’re missing some players, but whoever is in the lineup and on the roster, we’ve got to do our best,” Yoshida said.

O’Neill jumped on a 3-0 pitch and sent it over the Green Monster for his ninth homer and a 2-0 lead in the first inning. A sacrifice fly by Rafaela made it 3-0 in the fourth. The Red Sox broke loose for six runs in the fifth.

“I loved it. That was professional right there,” Rafaela said about his sac fly. “It’s the little things that’s going to allow us to play in October.”

Rafaela hit a basesloaded double that made it 8-0. Wilyer Abreu became the first Red Sox rookie to record RBIs in eight consecutive games when he singled, scoring O’Neill, who helped get the big inning going with a one-out double.

“It’s what we work for and what I work for … to help the team,” Rafaela said. “It’s awesome to have these types of games and awesome to do it in front of these fans.”

Red Sox starter Josh Winckowski worked three scoreless innings before turning things over to the bullpen. Boston starting pitchers came in with an American League-best 2.15 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a league-low .214 batting average.

Justin Slaton (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings, striking out two. He was one of four relievers used after Winckowski.

The Cubs managed just four hits and needed two position players — Matt Mervis, Patrick Wisdom — to record three outs in the eighth inning. Chicago starter Ben Brown (0-1) allowed three runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings, striking out four.

“I was in a good spot to go out there and compete,” Brown said. “Obviously it’s a tough game, but we have a really tough team. We showed that today. ”


Cubs: LHP Justin Steele (left hamstring strain) threw 47 pitches in an extended spring game in Arizona on Friday. The next step is a rehab start with Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday. Steele has been on the IL since exiting his opening day start on March 28.

Red Sox: RHP Nick Pivetta (IL since April 6 with a flexor strain of his pitching elbow) is on track to make a rehab start Thursday. Triple-A Worcester is scheduled to play at home that same day. Pivetta threw a 50-pitch live LP Saturday. … Devers made his first start at third base since April 16. … The minor-league rehab assignment for 2B Vaughn Grissom (left hamstring strain) could be nearing the end. Cora said the plan was for Grissom to play nine innings Saturday and Sunday for Worcester. … The Red Sox acquired 1B/OF Garrett Cooper from the Cubs for cash considerations. Cooper was designated for assignment on Tuesday. Boston transferred 1B Triston Casas to the 60-day IL to make room for Cooper on the 40-man roster.


Red Sox RHP Tanner Houck (3-2, 1.65) will start Sunday night’s series finale against Cubs LHP Jordan Wicks 1-2, 4.70).