Shota Imanaga

Shota Imanaga continues impressive MLB start, raising record to 4-0 as Cubs beat Red Sox 7-1

USA Today

BOSTON (AP) -- Shota Imanaga continued an impressive start to his major league career by pitching one-run ball into the seventh inning to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 7-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Friday night.

Signed to a $53 million, four-year deal during the offseason after spending his eight-year, professional career in Japan, the 30-year-old Imanaga (4-0) beat Boston right-hander Kutter Crawford in a matchup of two pitchers with impressive ERAs.

Coming off a three-game sweep at Wrigley Field over the Astros, the Cubs rode a two-hit, two-RBI night by rookie Pete Crow-Armstrong for their fifth win in six games. Patrick Wisdom added a pinch-hit, two-run double.

Tyler O’Neill hit his eighth homer for the Red Sox, who fell to 3-8 in Fenway Park.

Imanaga held Boston’s offense, which has struggled at home and came in hitting just .198 in Fenway, to five hits with seven strikeouts and a walk over 6 1/3 innings, raising his ERA slightly to 0.98.

Crow-Armstrong got his first MLB hit, a tiebreaking two-run homer on Thursday that snapped a 0-for-16 start to his career.

Crawford (1-1) gave up four runs, three earned, on 10 hits over six innings, raising his ERA to 1.35 from a major league best 0.66.

He allowed two runs on four hits in the second -- both more than he has totalled in four of his previous five starts this season -- when Chicago grabbed a 2-0 edge. He had not given up more than a run in each of his other starts.

Matt Mervis had an RBI single and Crow-Armstrong added a run-scoring single after Red Sox manager Alex Cora won a challenge that he wasn’t hit by a pitch, forcing him back to the plate.

Crow-Armstrong’s safety squeeze scored Dansby Swanson, making it 3-0 in the fourth. Swanson held about halfway down the line before breaking to the plate when Crawford turned his back and threw to first.

After breezing through the first 10 batters, Imanaga gave up O’Neill’s homer into the center field bleachers.

The lefty worked up in the zone -- sometimes just out of it -- with a fastball in the low 90 mph range and down with a sharp splitter.


Cubs: Manager Craig Counsell had very little update on outfielder Cody Bellinger, who fractured two ribs crashing into a wall on Tuesday that landed him on the 10-day injured list a day later. “We’ve just got to get Cody symptom-free here, then we’ll go onto the next steps. That’s where we’re at right now,” he said.

Red Sox: Cora said 2B Vaughn Grissom (out since spring training with a left hamstring injury) is scheduled to play nine innings on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Saturday and Sunday in what could be “the last hurdle, probably” before he makes his season and Boston debut. … RHPr Nick Pivetta (IL since April 6 with a flexor strain of his pitching elbow) is slated to throw live BP off the Fenway mound on Saturday.


Cubs: They haven’t announced a starter for Saturday yet.

Red Sox: RHP Josh Winckowski (1-1, 4.20 ERA) is scheduled to start the second of the three-game series.

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