BOSTON — The slumbering Boston Red Sox erupted for five runs off Jake Arrieta in the first inning and held on for a 5-4 interleague victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday night.
On a night that featured the return to Boston of Chicago general manager Theo Epstein and former Red Sox pitchers Jon Lester, John Lackey and Koji Uehara, rookie Andrew Benintendi homered to start the five-run assault against Arrieta (3-1). The right-hander lasted 4 1/3 innings and saw his 10-game April winning streak snapped.
Drew Pomeranz (2-1) pitched six innings, allowing solo homers to Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr. before leaving with a 5-2 lead. Relievers Robby Scott and Joe Kelly each allowed a run (Kelly wild-pitched home the first run allowed in Scott’s career), but Fernando Abad struck out two men with first and second and one out in the eighth and ended the inning with Kyle Schwarber’s fourth strikeout of the game.
Craig Kimbrel struck out Bryant and Anthony Rizzo to start the ninth before Ben Zobrist doubled. Kimbrel then notched Boston’s 14th strikeout of the night (the Cubs fanned 10), getting Addison Russell as the large contingent of Cubs fans in the sellout crowd dueled verbally with the home fans.
The Red Sox had scored 13 runs and been shut out three times in the previous seven games before scoring the five in the first.
It was the second straight start that saw Arrieta allow at least four runs in the first inning, a career first for the right-hander.
The Red Sox came into the game 5-for-44 with runners in scoring position and with only seven first-inning runs on the season. Both were quickly taken care of as the home team came through on its first four chances with runners in scoring position in the five-run first.
Ahead 5-2, Boston had a chance to break it wide open in the fourth, but Arrieta pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation. The Red Sox chased Arrieta and threatened again in the fifth, but Mike Montgomery came on and got Jackie Bradley Jr. to hit into an inning-ending double play.
NOTES: The Red Sox recalled RHP Ben Wright and activated utility man Chase d’Arnaud and optioned LHP Robbie Ross Jr. and OF/1B Steve Selsky to Triple-A Pawtucket. … Former Red Sox LHP Jon Lester visited with several ex-teammates on the field before the game. He and former GM Theo Epstein, the architect of both storied franchises finally winning a World Series, met the media. Lester brought out the Cubs lineup card and he and RHP Koji Uehara received a video tribute in the second inning. … Former Boston RHP John Lackey, also part of the video tribute, goes for Chicago against RHP Steven Wright Saturday, both trying to overcome shaky starts to 2017. … Red Sox INF/OF Brock Holt, on the disabled list with vertigo, started a rehab at Pawtucket. … Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio is missing the series for a personal matter. … Ex-Red Sox and Cubs P Ryan Dempster threw out the first pitch. … Fans can pose for pictures of World Series trophies of both teams before Sunday night’s game.