Less than 24 hours after defeating the Orioles in convincing fashion on Saturday night, the Red Sox took care of business against those orioles once again on Sunday. They are now 5-1 against them this season.
Coming off a so-so outing last time out against the Athletics, Eduardo Rodriguez made his ninth start of the season in this one, and he had himself a solid day on the mound. In 5.2 innings pitched, the lefty scattered nine hits, zero walks, and seven strikeouts while holding the Orioles scoreless over that span. Like Rick Porcello last night, Rodriguez had to deal with base runners all day, and that definitely hurt his pitch count. Despite shutting the Orioles out, he never faced the minimum in the first five innings.
In the sixth, the Venezuela native was one pitch away from ending his start on a positive note. With two outs in the inning, runners on first and second, and Craig Gentry at the plate, Rodriguez had the count in his favor at 1-2. On the fourth pitch of the at bat, Gentry took a 90 MPH cutter and lined a single to right field. That loaded the bases for the Orioles and ended the day for Rodriguez, as he was up to 110 pitches (74 strikes). Like I said earlier, not a bad start for the 25-year-old against his former team, but certainly not his best earlier. He’ll look to build on this in his next turn through the rotation, which should come against the Atlanta Braves next weekend.
With the bases loaded in the sixth and one more out to get, Heath Hembree got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in a high leverage spot. Fortunately, Hembree got the first batter he faced, Trey Mancini, to pop out to right field on the second pitch of the at bat, thus killing any chance at an Orioles rally,
Hembree would come back out for another inning of work in the seventh, and he retired the side despite giving up a one out single to Manny Machado. That made way for rookie reliever Bobby Poyner in the eighth, and he tossed a scoreless frame in his first appearance out of the Red Sox bullpen since May 15th. Speaking of Red Sox relievers who had not made an appearance in a game since May 15th, lefty Brian Johnson got the call for the ninth to wrap this one up. He worked his way around a leadoff double and retired the next three batters he faced in order to notch his team’s 32nd win of the season. At the end of the day, the Orioles had at least one runner on base in all nine innings they hit in, yet they could not bring across a single run. That’s a sign of a pretty bad team right there.
On the other side of things, JD Martinez got the scoring started for the Red Sox on his first of two home runs on the day.
That was the first ever pitch Martinez saw from Orioles starter David Hess, and he sent it 324 feet to right field right past the Pesky Pole.
Fast forward to the fifth, the Red Sox lineup went off for four runs on six hits to put this game away early. Coming off a two home run performance on Saturday, Andrew Benintendi launched another big fly, his fifth of the season now.
On that 92 MPH slider from Hess, Benintendi sent it 394 feet towards the Orioles bullpen for the second night in a row. That homer was good for two, as it also scored Jackie Bradley Jr. from second after he led the inning off with a double.
Following a double from Mitch Moreland, JD Martinez recorded his second and final hit of the day, and it was another home run for the Miami native.
He sent that 91 MPH fastball from Hess 443 feet to dead center for his teams sixth and final run of the day. Thanks to some solid pitching, the lineup did not need to do anymore scoring after that.
Some notes from this one:
With his two home runs today, JD Martinez has tied his teammate, Mookie Betts, for the league lead in home runs with 15 on the season. It was the eighth multi-homer game of Martinez’s career as well. He’s been so good as of late, he was telling Manny Machado where the Orioles should put their outfielders.
Andrew Benintendi has hit 60% of his home runs this season in his last six games. Over that span, the outfielder is slashing .478/.519/.913.
Jackie Bradley Jr. reached base twice today! That has not happened since last week, when he reached base twice against the Blue Jays in Toronto.
After an off day on Monday, the Red Sox will be back at it against the surging Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg. The Rays, who have won six of their past seven games, have certainly been a surprise in the American League this far, especially when you consider they got off to a 1-8 start to begin their season. They will be sending righty Jake Faria to the mound for the series opener on Tuesday, while Chris Sale will be getting the ball for the Red Sox. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET. For now, let’s enjoy this picture.