BOSTON — Pinch-hitter Brock Holt drove a tiebreaking double off the Green Monster on the first pitch after Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled off the very top of the left-field wall, helping the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Mets 5-3 on Saturday to lower their magic number to four.
Rick Porcello (17-7) earned his 10th straight interleague victory, pitching five innings of two-hit ball as the Red Sox improved their major league-best record to 102-47. Steve Pearce had three hits for Boston, and Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 41st save.
Boston’s magic number to clinch a third straight division title is four. The New York Yankees trail in the AL East by 10 ½ games with 14 games remaining.
The Mets, who had won four straight, took a 3-1 lead on Brandon Nimmo’s three-run homer in the fourth. With two on in the fifth, Bradley lined a ball that bounced off the top edge of the wall and up, back toward the field. Although the umpires signaled for him to circle the bases, Bradley was sent back to second base when replays showed it didn’t completely clear the red line that signifies a homer.
Paul Sewald (0-6) intentionally walked Rafael Devers, Drew Smith came on in relief, Holt hit for Sandy Leon and, on the first pitch, lined one off the Monster in left-center to score both runners and make it 5-3.
Holt has five extra-base hits in 14 appearances as a pinch-hitter this season, including his second game-winning pinch-hit homer of the season Tuesday.
Porcello allowed three runs, walking one and striking out five. The Red Sox have won each of his last 14 interleague starts — the longest streak since regular season interleague play began in 1997; Johan Santana started 12 straight interleague wins from 2002-05.
Sewald got two outs, allowing four runs on three hits and an intentional walk. He also struck out one.
Boston’s 102 wins is third-most in franchise history, passing the 1915 World Series championship team. The Red Sox need to win four of their last 13 games to surpass the franchise record of 105 set by the 1912 champs.
A large contingent of Mets fans, many wearing the same blue and orange shirt, took over the right-field corner at Fenway Park and at times out-shouted the home crowd. Both sides took part in a spirited “Yankees Suck!” chant in the eighth inning.
With Mets third baseman David Wright announcing this week that he would retire at the end of the season, the Red Sox gave him a No. 5 from the Fenway Park scoreboard, according to MLB.com. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, a teammate of Wright’s from the 2009 World Baseball Classic, presented it to him after batting practice.
Red Sox: RF Mookie Betts took a sinker off the midsection with Mets starter Corey Oswalt’s third pitch of the game. He remained in the game.
The teams finish the series at 1 p.m. on Sunday with a pair of Cy Young Award candidates. LHP Chris Sale (12-4) will face Mets righty Jacob deGrom (8-9). It’s a rematch from their college days in 2010, when deGrom, a two-way player at Stetson, hit his only college home run off Sale, the ace at Florida Gulf Coast.