BOSTON — Chris Sale struck out eight over six innings and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run homer in the first inning to get Boston’s offense off to a fast start, carrying the Red Sox to a 9-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.

It was the fourth consecutive win for the AL East-leading Red Sox, who remained 41/2 games ahead of the second-place Yankees.

Andrew Benintendi had three hits and three RBI, and Mitch Moreland also drove in three runs.

Tampa Bay lost its third in a row, and has allowed nine runs or more in each game. The Rays entered the day 41/2 games out of the AL’s second wild-card spot.

Danny Espinosa had three singles for the Rays.

Sale (16-7) allowed six singles, walked two and increased his major-league leading strikeout total to 278. He lowered his ERA to 2.76.

Carson Smith, Heath Hembree and Blaine Boyer each worked an inning of relief.

Matt Andriese (5-3) got just five outs, giving up eight runs – six earned – and seven hits for the Rays.

For the second straight night, the Red Sox took control early, putting this one away by scoring three in the first and five in the second.

Boston won the series opener on Friday, 9-3.

Pedroia homered into the first row of Green Monster seats after Eduardo Nunez singled, making it 2-0. Moreland’s groundout scored another run.

INDIANS 4, ORIOLES 2: Cleveland earned its 17th straight win, topping visiting Baltimore behind a pair of timely swings from Jay Bruce and Francisco Lindor.

Bruce’s fourth-inning single put the Indians ahead to stay as Cleveland became just the second team in the expansion era – since 1961 – to win 17 straight in a season.

The franchise-record streak is the longest in the majors since Oakland won 20 straight in 2002.

Lindor added his 28th homer in the seventh for the Indians, who haven’t lost since Aug. 23.

YANKEES 3, RANGERS 1: Aroldis Chapman earned his first save since being removed as closer to finish a one-hitter in New York’s win at Arlington, Texas.

Tyler Austin hit a go-ahead single in the ninth inning for the wild card-leading Yankees.

Texas’ only hit was a run-scoring double in the fifth inning off Luis Severino, who went seven innings in his first no-decision since July 15 at Boston.

Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth for his team-leading 17th save and first since Aug. 15.

ATHLETICS 11, ASTROS 1: Houston’s bullpen forced in five runs with bases-loaded walks and the team tied a franchise record with 13 free passes, costing the AL-leading Astros in their second straight loss at Oakland in the early game of a doubleheader.

Houston tied the franchise mark for walks set May 4, 1975 against the San Francisco Giants.

ROYALS 5, TWINS 2: Eric Hosmer drove in the go-ahead run in a three-run eighth with his third hit to spark host Kansas City.

Mike Minor (6-6) got the win with 12/3 scoreless innings. Brandon Maurer earned his second save in three chances with the Royals.

BLUE JAYS 5, TIGERS 4: Kevin Pillar had four hits, including a tiebreaking home run, and made another sparkling defensive play in the outfield, Brett Anderson pitched six innings for his first victory with Toronto, and the Blue Jays won at home.


BREWERS 15, CUBS 2: Hernan Perez homered and drove in five runs, and Milwaukee pounded host Chicago.

Chase Anderson pitched five scoreless innings as Milwaukee pulled within three games of NL Central-leading Chicago. Anderson also helped himself with two hits and two RBI.

CARDINALS 4, PIRATES 3: Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter homered for host St. Louis.

St. Louis pulled within three games of the Cubs with its sixth victory in seven games, but outfielder Dexter Fowler left the game with a bruised knee after crashing into the wall.

METS 6, REDS 1: Rafael Montero overcame five walks to win his third straight start, Kevin Plawecki hit a two-run homer and New York won at home.


WHITE SOX 13, GIANTS 1: Jose Abreu became the first White Sox player to hit for the cycle in 17 years, among six Chicago players to go deep in a rout at home.