Mitch Moreland homered on the first pitch of the seventh inning and five pitchers combined on a three-hitter as the Boston Red Sox salvaged the finale of their season-opening 11-game road trip with a 1-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix on Sunday. The Red Sox finished their trip at 3-8. Boston avoided its fifth 2-9 start and first since 2011.
Moreland hit his third homer of the trip when he got just enough of a first-pitch cutter from Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly. He lifted the pitch just high enough to clear the right field fence as right fielder Adam Jones attempted to make a leaping catch. Instead of using Chris Sale, the Red Sox used a bullpen game. The Red Sox will start Sale in their home opener Tuesday afternoon against Toronto.
Hector Velazquez opened the game and allowed one hit in three innings. Brandon Workman pitched a scoreless fourth while Marcus Walden (1-0) and Matt Barnes tossed two scoreless innings apiece. Ryan Brasier allowed a two-out double to David Peralta in the bottom of the ninth but retired Jones on a groundout to record his second save.
Arizona scored 20 runs on 29 hits in winning the first two games but mustered only two hits before the ninth on Sunday -- a single by John Ryan Murphy in the third and a double by Christian Walker in the fifth. In his second career start, Kelly (1-1) took a tough-luck loss, allowing one run on four hits in eight innings. He ended the game by retiring 16 of the final 17 hitters and struck out nine while throwing 70 of 94 pitches for strikes.
Kelly got Moreland to rap into a double play to end the first, and he retired shortstop Xander Bogaerts with two on to end the third to start a string of 10 straight hitters retired before Moreland homered Arizona threatened when Walker opened the fifth with his double, but he was thrown out at the plate by Bogaerts two batters later.
--Field Level Media
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