In their first visit to Fenway Park since Game 6 of the 2013 World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals, who entered Tuesday winning eight of their last nine, opened up a two-game series against the Red Sox. Starting for St. Louis was Mike Leake, and he was matched up against Rick Porcello. Neither starter was great, but Porcello ended up pitching significantly better than Leake. In the seven innings he pitched, Porcello scattered eight hits and two walks, surrendering three earned runs while also striking out six. The Red Sox righty had great defense playing behind him on Tuesday night, including a triple play that was turned in the fourth.
Every run the Cardinals got off of Porcello came in the sixth inning, and half their hits off of Porcello came in the sixth as well. Luckily, the seventh inning was much better and that’s how the defending Cy Young Award winner would end his day. In his 25 starts this season, only twice has Porcello failed to pitch at least six innings. Joe Kelly would be inserted into the game in the eighth, in a much different situation than last Friday in New York. Kelly completed the inning, but not before giving up one run on two hits while striking out one. To secure the win, Robby Scott pitched a scoreless ninth.
Offensively, it looked like the Red Sox were going to struggle to score off of Mike Leake. Rafael Devers drove in the first run of the game in the first, scoring Andrew Benintendi on an RBI single. After that though, they left the bases loaded and didn’t score again until the fifth. This time, the scoring started when Leake loaded the bases again. With Hanley Ramirez up, Leake served up a hard double off the Monster, allowing both Eduardo Nunez and Mookie Betts to score. An intentional walk of Devers reloaded the bases, which led to Xander Bogaerts driving in Benintendi from third and keeping the bases loaded. A Mitch Moreland RBI single booted Leake out of the game, making way for Matt Bowman. That change didn;t affect the Red Sox though, as three consecutive hits led to three more runs, giving them a total of eight in the inning and a 9-0 lead. Another run would cross the plate in the sixth with a bases-loaded walk of Jackie Bradley Jr., and that was more than was needed for the win. Everyone who started this game recorded at least one base hit. The 5-7 hitters, Devers, Bogaerts, and Moreland went a combined 7 for 13 with 3 RBIs. The three hits out of Xander Bogaerts were good to see since the shortstop has been in a bit of a slump since the middle of last month. Eduardo Nunez also impressed with yet another multi-hit game at Fenway Park. It looked like a precaution, but Andrew Benintendi was removed from the game after he got hit by a pitch in the fourth.
Eduardo Rodriguez gets the start against Lance Lynn tonight, as the Red Sox go for the mini sweep.
68 down, 27 to go.