BOSTON (AP) — The red-hot Red Sox are rallying around their yellow jerseys, and even Chris Sale is on board.
That's what a winning streak will do.
"I love them. I do," Sale said after striking out eight in five innings to help Boston win its seventh straight game, 12-5 over the New York Mets. "I know that might be a surprise to some people, but I think it's great."
Before coming to Boston in 2017, Sale pitched for the White Sox and once hated the throwbacks set out for his start so much that he snipped them with scissors to make them unwearable. He was suspended five games.
But this is different, Sale said, because the jerseys are a tribute to the Boston Marathon and the city's connection to the race since the 2013 bombing at the finish line killed three people and injured hundreds of others.
"What it represents means even more to us," Sale said. "It's kind of crazy. We're wearing baby blue and yellow and we're a red-white-blue-gray team. But I think you're going to see them more because we play well in them. I think we're going to keep that rolling."
Kyle Schwarber homered twice and scored four times as the Red Sox scored in each of the first six innings to open a 12-3 lead.
They have not lost since dropping the opener of a three-game series at Seattle on Sept. 13. They had planned to wear the alternate jerseys for last weekend's series against Baltimore, but after sweeping the Orioles they stuck with them through the two-game sweep of the Mets.
The winning streak has lifted Boston from fourth place in the AL East — percentage points out of playoff position — into second and the top AL wild-card spot, with a two-game lead over the Yankees. New York beat Texas 7-3 on Wednesday to move ahead of Toronto, a 7-1 loser to Tampa Bay, in the race for the final wild-card berth.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora said "there's a pretty good chance" they will wear the yellow jerseys on Friday when they open their three-game series against the Yankees.
"We're not superstitious, we just love routines," he said. "At 6 o'clock, those uniforms are there. It's part of our routine right now."
Sale (5-0) allowed two runs on six hits in his seventh start since returning from Tommy John surgery.
Walker allowed six runs on six hits and two walks in two innings. Pete Alonso homered for the Mets, his 35th of the year.
Schwarber hit a solo homer in the first and a three-run shot in the second. In the fourth, he lofted a popup to left that fell in for one of Boston's six doubles in the game.
Schwarber has nine homers in his last five games against the Mets while playing for the Red Sox and Washington Nationals — four of them off Taijuan Walker (7-11). It was his fourth multi-homer game against the Mets this season, and according to STATS he's the first player ever to have nine homers in a five-game span against a single opponent.
Asked about his success against New York, both when he was in the NL and since coming to Boston at the trade deadline, Schwarber said, "That's a good question."
One he didn't have an answer for.
José Iglesias hit a triple over the head of right fielder Kevin Pillar that yielded a run when second baseman Javier Báez's relay went into the dugout. He also made a nice stop on Francisco Lindor's grounder up the middle, then flipped it backhanded to Xander Bogaerts to start an inning-ending double play.
If the ball had gotten through, the Mets would have had the tying run on deck with one out in a 6-1 game.
"That was a big point in the game, right there," Sale said. "Playing against Iggy for long enough, I knew there was nothing to worry about. I've seen it too many times before."
Red Sox: RHP Phillips Valdéz, the last of a dozen Red Sox players to test positive for COVID-19, has cleared quarantine. Two members of the staff also tested positive during the four-week outbreak.
Mets: After taking Thursday off, open a three-game series against the Brewers, with RHP Tylor Megill (3-5, 4.57 ERA) on the mound.
Red Sox: Rest up on Thursday for a three-game weekend series against the rival Yankees. RHP Nathan Eovaldi (10-8, 3.58) will face RHP Gerrit Cole (15-8, 3.03).
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