After splitting the first two games of their first series of the season, the Red Sox took the finale against the Yankees on a rain filled Thursday night.
Rick Porcello was matched up against Sonny Gray in this one, and the right hander from New Jersey looked like he was at the top of his game last night. In seven innings, Porcello allowed just two hits and a HBP while walking none and striking out six. It took six plus innings and a 40 minute rain delay for the Yankees to get their first hit off of Porcello. The 2016 AL Cy Young Champ was nearly perfect against what’s supposed to be one of the more intimidating lineups in baseball.
Before the rain delay, the only mistake Porcello made was unintentionally hitting Giancarlo Stanton in the elbow with a fastball in the fourth inning. Once the delay ended about 40 minutes after it started, Porcello was back on the mound for the sixth. He retired the side in order, and it appeared as if things were about to get interesting.
Unfortunately, Aaron Judge greeted Porcello in the seventh with a leadoff double, thus ending the no-hitter bid. Giancarlo Stanton followed that up with a single, and all the sudden the Yankees were threatening to put a dent into the Red Sox lead. Wanting to end his night on a positive note, Porcello proceeded to retire the next three batters he faced, including a dramatic eight pitch strike out against Aaron Hicks to get the Red Sox out of the inning unscathed. That last inning was a grind for Porcello, but he held his pitch count to under 100, finishing with 99 total, 69 (nice) of which went for strikes.
In relief of Porcello, Marcus Walden got into his first action since being recalled from Triple A Pawtucket earlier in the day. The reliever out of California looked like two different pitchers in the eighth and the beginning of the ninth. He allowed just one hit in a scoreless eighth, then followed that up by allowing the first four batters he faced in the ninth to reach base, with the help of two errors from Rafael Devers. The last guy Walden faced before exiting was Gary Sanchez with the bases loaded. On the first pitch he saw, Sanchez unloaded the bases with a double to center field, and all of a sudden, the Yankees had cut the Red Sox lead in half.
Luckily, that’s where things would stay. With no outs in the inning, Craig Kimbrel got the call I’m sure he was not expecting an inning earlier to go out and get the save. After getting Aaron Hicks to ground out to first for the first out of the inning, Kimbrel proceeded to strike out the next two batters he faced. That gave him his fourth save and his team the series win.
Offensively, the Red Sox got to Yankees starter Sonny Gray early, scoring four times in the second and twice in the third. Hanley Ramirez would have to exit the game in the first after he got hit in both wrists on a wild pitch by Gray.
X-Rays were negative and Ramirez was diagnosed with a contusion. Alex Cora said he could be ready to go after getting today off, so that is a positive sign. After sending five to the plate in the first, Eduardo Nunez got things started in the second with a leadoff single. A walk to Jackie Bradley Jr. and a wild pitch put runners on first and third for Sandy Leon with no outs. On a 1-0 count, Leon ripped a single to right field, scoring Nunez and putting the Red Sox up by one.
Later in the inning, after Brock Holt walked to load the bases, Mookie Betts drove in Bradley from third on a sacrifice fly to center field. Andrew Benintendi followed that up by driving in Leon from third on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error by Yankees second baseman Tyler Wade. The very next batter, Mitch Moreland, capped things off in the second by scoring Brock Hole from third on a single to left field.
In the third, Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in Eduardo Nunez from second on an RBI double. Two batters later, Mookie Betts scored Bradley from third on a ground out, giving the Red Sox their sixth and final run of the game, which is all they needed.
At 10-2, the Red Sox look to be in great shape as they welcome the Baltimore Orioles into town for the first time in 2018 later today. Eduardo Rodriguez will be looking to rebound after his disappointing season debut last weekend. Chris Tillman gets the ball for Baltimore. First pitch is at 7:10 PM for the first Fenway Friday of the year.