Sox Finish Off Brutal Month with Win, Avoid Ignominious Distinction

July 31

As we finish off the series and month and gear up for the trade deadline on Tuesday, sportswriter Alex Speier points out a startling stat that the announcers have mentioned time and time again: no starting pitcher has gotten a win for Boston in 29 consecutive games, the longest streak since Seattle starters went 33 straight in 1979. Winckowski pitches for the Sox against Ashby. The first two batters reach in the bottom of the first, and then Davis moves to third on a fly out to put runners at the corners with one out before a double play ends the inning. Wong doubles off the Monster with one out in the top of the second inning, and then Renfroe goes deep to the Monster on the next pitch to make it 2-0 Brewers early. It’s his nineteenth of the year. The Brewers look to keep going in the top of the fourth, loading the bases with one out, but a double play snuffs that out.

Ashby breezes through the first four innings before allowing the first two men to reach in the bottom of the fifth. With two out, Bogaerts makes him pay for that with a double to the left-field corner that ties it up at 2-2. Then Martinez doubles to the right-field corner to bring him around and give Boston the lead for the first time today at 3-2. He doesn’t wait long there: Vázquez doubles to right to bring him home as well and make it 4-2. That ends Ashby’s day. Two pitches later, though, Verdugo doubles to left to score Vázquez and make it 5-2. A pop out ends the string of doubles. The Brewers put two on with two out in the top of the sixth, but the tying run pops out to end the inning. Arroyo leads off the bottom of the inning with another double down the left-field line before moving to third on a fly out and scoring on Jackie Bradley Junior’s ground-rule double to the gap in right-center to make it 6-2. That results in another pitching change. That makes it seven consecutive hits for doubles for Boston, but that streak ends with a Martinez single to score Jackie Bradley Junior and make it 7-2. With a runner at first and one out in the bottom of the eighth, Jackie Bradley Junior hits a surprising ground-rule double down the left-field line to put two men in scoring position. They are stranded, but the Red Sox have finally done more than enough in their 7-2 win. Winckowski is the only starter to win a game for the Sox all month. The team avoids being just the third team in baseball history to go a full calendar month without a win from a starting pitcher. The two teams to do that are the Pirates this year and the 1996 Tigers. At the end of the dismal month that was July, the Sox are 51-52, 3.5 games behind Tampa Bay for the final wild card.