PHILADELPHIA — A little lunchtime wisdom served Christian Vázquez well.
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.
The Red Sox catcher had gone without a homer for 13 straight games and had just one in 25 contests entering Sunday. He was stuck on 19 homers and trying to reach 20 — probably trying too hard. Over lunch on Thursday with manager Alex Cora and former big league slugger Carlos Delgado, Vázquez listened as the two told him not to press.
“Don’t look for No. 20, it’s going to come,” Vázquez said of their advice. “Look for line drives, get a couple hits and get your confidence back. It’s going to come.”
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, becoming the first Red Sox catcher with multiple homers in a contest since Jason Varitek clubbed three on May 20, 2001.
“He’s swinging the bat well,” Cora said.
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.
“The breaking ball was good, good conviction behind all his pitches,” Cora said. “He works hard trying to find it. We felt that five innings was good. He did an outstanding job.”
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, and they’ll now head on the road for an 11-game trip.
“Definitely is a tough spot,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “From here on out, every game is like Game 7 of a playoff series.”
Brandon Workman pitched a scoreless ninth for his 14th save.
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.
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.
Morales rung up Harper on a pitch that looked to be low. Harper watched the video and then told Morales, “It’s not even (bleeping) close.”
Both Harper and Kapler felt Morales should’ve showed some restraint.
“You’ve just got to be better in big games,” Harper said. “He wasn’t going to take it today.”
Kapler charged out to the plate for an animated conversation with Morales, earning the manager his fourth ejection of the season.
“Everybody can look at the pitch and see why Bryce was upset,” Kapler said. “In a game of this magnitude, there could’ve been a longer leash.”
Hoskins has 12 extra-base hits (eight doubles, a triple and three homers) in his last 17 games.
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 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 at Atlanta on Tuesday night. Phillies RHP Vince Velasquez (6-7, 4.95) opposes Braves LHP Dallas Keuchel (8-5, 3.35).