PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Christian Vázquez homered twice, including his first career grand slam, and drove in a career-high five runs to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
Andrew Benintendi had a pair of hits for the defending World Series champions, who have won three in a row. Boston began play trailing Tampa Bay by 10 games for the AL’s second wild card.
Rick Porcello (13-12) allowed two runs on five hits with six strikeouts and a walk in five innings.
Rhys Hoskins homered for Philadelphia, which started Sunday 3½ games behind the Cubs for the final wild card spot in the NL. The Phillies also trailed the Brewers and Mets.
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler and right fielder Bryce Harper were ejected in the fourth inning by plate umpire Gabe Morales for arguing after Harper was called out on strikes for the second time in the game.
Brandon Workman pitched a scoreless ninth for his 14th save.
Vázquez put Boston ahead 5-1 in the third with his grand slam, a drive just over the wall in left on a 2-1, 71-mph curveball from Jason Vargas (6-8).
César Hernández’s RBI single in the fifth pulled Philadelphia within 5-2, but Vázquez responded in the sixth by taking Mike Morin deep to left. It was Vázquez’s 21st homer and first career multi-homer game.
Harper was called out on strikes in the first inning and appeared frustrated, although he didn’t argue. In the fourth, Morales again rung up Harper, this time on a pitch that looked to be low. With Hoskins batting, Morales ejected Harper in the dugout. Kapler then charged out to the plate for an animated conversation with Morales, earning the manager his fourth ejection of the season.
The Red Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the first, but Vargas got out of the jam with just one run allowed on J.D. Martinez’s sacrifice fly to right. But Vargas couldn’t escape similar trouble in the third.
Vargas lasted three innings, giving up five runs — four earned — on three hits with six strikeouts and a walk. The 36-year-old lefty dropped to 0-3 with a 5.48 ERA in nine starts since being acquired from the Mets on July 29.
Red Sox: OF Mookie Betts (sore left foot) was out of the lineup for the second straight day. Manager Alex Cora said Betts would visit a doctor on Monday in Boston. … RHP Heath Hembree, out since June 11 with a right elbow strain, felt sore after Saturday’s bullpen session and will be re-evaluated on Tuesday.
Phillies: LF Corey Dickerson (sore left foot) was not in the lineup for the third straight game.
Red Sox: After an off day, Boston hosts San Francisco for three games beginning on Tuesday with Red Sox RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 5.81 ERA) on the mound.
Phillies: Philadelphia also has Monday off before starting an 11-game trip with three games at Atlanta on Tuesday night. Phillies RHP Vince Velasquez (6-7, 4.95) opposes Braves LHP Dallas Keuchel (8-5, 3.35).
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