BOSTON (AP) — Drew Pomeranz was trailing 1-0 after his second pitch of the game, and he knows that things can get worse — quickly — at Fenway Park.
But after giving up Tim Anderson’s leadoff homer, the Boston left-hander got out of the inning — and into the seventh — without allowing any more runs and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the Chicago White Sox, 4-1, on Saturday night for their fifth straight win.
“It’s all about not letting it snowball into something else,” said Pomeranz (11-4), who has lost just once in 15 starts since starting the season 3-3. “You give up the homer, get rid of it. Set up the next guy, try to sit him down.”
One night after Mitch Moreland hit a walkoff homer in the 11th, the Red Sox rallied early. Andrew Benintendi hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the first, and Jackie Bradley Jr. cleared the bullpen with a man on in the second to give Boston a lead it never relinquished.
“We can swing it a little bit,” Bradley said.
The Red Sox have won seven of their last nine games and are 35-20 at Fenway Park — the best home record in the AL. They maintained a three-game lead in the division over the second-place Yankees, who beat Cleveland 2-1.
Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 26th save.
James Shields (2-4) took the loss for the White Sox, who have dropped five straight games and 22 of their last 26. Shields was charged with four runs — three earned — five hits and an intentional walk, striking out six in six innings.
Shields is 1-4 with a 7.63 ERA since spending two months on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his back.
“He did a nice job keeping us in contention there for the whole ballgame,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “He did a nice job working after giving those two (homers) up early.”
HOW THEY SCORED
Pomeranz held Chicago to seven hits and a walk while striking out eight and lowering his ERA to 3.36. Anderson smacked a 1-0 pitch out to left-center, but Benintendi made it 2-1 in the bottom half of the first.
Moreland doubled with one out in the second. Bradley followed one out later with a shot over the bullpens in right field to make it 4-1.
Alen Hanson was doubled off first base to end the seventh inning on Anderson’s short line drive to right field. Mookie Betts caught the ball while running in, and Hanson was too far off first to get back in time.
“I knew I was going to catch it at a certain point,” Betts said. “I saw out of the corner of my eye he was still off the bag.”
Roger Clemens, who won three Cy Young Awards and as many games (192) in a Boston uniform as Young himself, visited the ballpark. He spent time in the broadcast booth talking about the importance of the Jimmy Fund.
White Sox: 3B Matt Davidson is day-to-day with bruised right wrist. … OF Avisall Garcia (sprained right thumb) has begun swinging a bat without problems.
Red Sox: DH Hanley Ramirez has soreness in both sides. “I can’t tell you how long it’ll be. At this point I don’t see it being a DL,” manager John Farrell said. … 2B Dustin Pedroia (left knee) is on schedule to return Tuesday.
White Sox: RHP Mike Pelfrey (3-9) tries to avoid a fifth straight loss.
Red Sox: RHP Doug Fister (1-5) looks for his second straight win.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.