OAKLAND, Calif. –- On a night of firsts for the Boston Red Sox, they moved back into a tie with Toronto Blue Jays for first place in the American League East by overwhelming the Oakland Athletics again, 11-2.
The Red Sox have won all five games they've played against Oakland this season, outscoring the A's -- get this -- 67-19. The 11 runs Boston piled up Saturday were the fewest it has scored in those five meetings.
"It's been awesome," winning pitcher Rick Porcello said of a Boston offense that has racked up 27 runs and 34 hits the past two nights. "Really, from top to bottom, there's no weakness. Everybody's been swinging the bat well."
On Saturday, highly regarded infielder Yoan Moncada picked up his first major league hit in his first major league start, and Porcello became the first pitcher in Red Sox history to go 19-3 in a season.
"To think that so many pitchers have been through this organization and yet he's the first to have a 19-3 record I think speaks volumes to the year that he's putting together," Boston manager John Farrell said.
Porcello leads the majors in wins this season.
He retired the first 16 Oakland hitters. Porcello went seven innings, giving up two runs and four hits without issuing a walk. The right-hander has worked at least seven innings in each of his past eight starts. In those eight starts, he has given up only four walks.
Said Farrell: "He's been in command of the count [against] pretty much every hitter that he faces. He's forcing the hitter to be defensive by staying ahead of the count."
The only previous Boston pitchers with 18-3 records in a season were Cy Young (1902) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (2008).
That gave Betts an even 100 RBIs this season. It's the first time in his three-year career Betts has reached the century mark.
It was Jose Canseco Bobblehead Night at the Oakland Coliseum, and Hanley Ramirez jolted one Canseco-like with two out in the third. Ramirez took Mengden deep to left for his 20th homer of the season and a 3-0 Boston advantage.
The Red Sox were by no means done at that point, but Mengden (1-6) soon would be. After a Sandy Leon double and a walk to Chris Young, Moncada –- a switch-hitter batting left-handed –- slapped a double down the left-field line for his first big league hit. It brought home Leon, and Davis' error allowed Young to score.
A 21-year-old Cuban, Moncada made his big league debut as a defensive replacement Friday night.
"Yesterday, I felt a little nervous," Moncada said through interpreter Daveson Perez, "but today I felt more confident. It was exciting to get my first hit in the big leagues. It's a big step."
Moncada went 2-for-5 with two strikeouts. He recorded his first right-handed hit in the ninth, a single off Daniel Coulombe.
Jackie Bradley Jr.'s run-scoring single made it 6-0 and ended Mengden's night. The Red Sox tagged John Axford for three more hits, with Ortiz capping the seven-run outburst by drilling a two-run double off the wall in center. Ortiz's major league-leading 44th double gave Boston a 9-0 edge.
The only drama left for the evening was whether Porcello would give up a hit.
Stephen Vogt launched a drive to deep center with two out in the fourth. Bradley grabbed the ball with a leaping catch in front of the wall.
In the fifth, Young raced to the left-field fence and pulled down Yonder Alonso's drive in foul territory.
Finally with one out in the sixth, Jake Smolinski smoked a ball over Young's outstretched glove for a double. Bruce Maxwell, the next hitter, ended Porcello's shutout bid with a single to right-center that brought home Smolinski.
The Red Sox figure to be a little bit wistful about Sunday's series finale: It's the final time they face Oakland this season.