Vince Velasquez pitches 5 strong innings as the Chicago White Sox beat the Boston Red Sox for their 4th straight win – The Denver Post
Vince Velasquez feels like everything is clicking.
The right-hander had his second straight strong start for the Chicago White Sox, allowing one run in five innings in a 4-2 victory against the Boston Red Sox in the series opener Friday in front of 30,944 at Fenway Park.
Velasquez surrendered three hits, struck out two and walked two as the White Sox won their fourth straight.
“It’s a good feeling, knowing that you’re establishing good command with your secondary pitches,” Velasquez said. “I knew I wasn’t going to get a lot of punchouts today, but I utilized the defense as much as I possibly can and forced some contact and made big pitches when I needed to.
“It’s a good sign of heading in the right direction, knowing that things are kind of falling into its right place.”
Tim Anderson and Luis Robert led the way offensively.
Anderson had three singles. He scored on a sacrifice fly by José Abreu during a three-run third.
“The shortstop had a Hall of Fame game,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said of Anderson. “The base hits. Watching him — I told him too — you watch Tim Anderson run the base when he’s got to make a cut and turn, it’s as good as anybody I’ve ever seen in all my years.
“That jet motor he’s got, when he makes that turn, he kicks it into another gear. It’s as fast as anybody I’ve ever seen. (And) the defense.”
Robert supplied the other runs in the third with a two-run homer to left, his fourth of the season.
The White Sox added an insurance run in the eighth. Adam Engel singled, stole second, moved to third on a flyout and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by catcher Reese McGuire.
The White Sox had 10 hits while Velasquez and four relievers limited the Red Sox to six.
“You have to give (Velasquez) extra credit,” La Russa said. “He knows who he’s matched up against. (Red Sox starter) Nathan (Eovaldi) has been throwing the ball as well as anyone in baseball.
“(Velasquez) moves his fastball around, he’s got an extra little zip. He can sink it in. He’s got breaking ball and a slider and a change. He can get through the lineup several times and give guys different looks. Reese does a good job of mixing it up.”
Velasquez (2-2) earned his first win of the season in his previous start against the Los Angeles Angels, allowing four hits and striking out six in 5⅔ innings in a 4-0 victory on April 30. It was his first win since June 29, 2021, for the Philadelphia Phillies against the Miami Marlins, snapping a career-high 12-start winless streak.
Friday’s win was his first on the road since May 25, 2021, in Miami. He came in 0-7 with a 13.50 ERA in his last seven road starts.
“Utilizing the slider and curveball to get me back into the count, I think that was very useful,” Velasquez said. “And also the trust that’s being established from Reese and I. Last two outings, we’ve been on the same page. That’s another confidence booster going into any game.”
He had to work out of trouble in the fifth. The Red Sox scored once and had runners on the corners with two outs. Velasquez got Trevor Story on a check-swing third strike to end the inning, putting him in position to pick up the win.
“Story is going to make me work, man,” Velasquez said. “I faced him (when Story was) in Colorado and he was one of those guys that did some damage on me. It came down to execution. Kind of helping myself get back into the count and I let him get himself out.
“Again, it’s a matter of having that boost of confidence and knowing that there is one pitch that can have that impact and I want to win that.”
Liam Hendriks walked one but struck out three in a scoreless ninth for his eighth save.
“The more you win, the more joy it brings,” Hendriks said. “Then it just rolls. It turns into that cyclone rainstorm when it rains, it pours. Everybody assumes the next guy is going to pick him up. We are picking each other up every time.”
He has saved all four games during the winning streak. Wednesday’s save against the Cubs came with a heavy heart after the death of his grandfather.
“Losing my dad’s dad, Opa … I was holding it together before (Wednesday’s) outing and then it was just the adrenaline,” Hendriks said. “Everything kind of flowed through me and it was extremely hard.
“We are glad he went peacefully and it wasn’t a struggle or anything like that. He’s upstairs looking down on us with a sherry in hand.”
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