After taking 12 innings to take the series opener from the Orioles on Monday, the Red Sox had themselves an ugly win against Baltimore that took nearly four hours to complete last night.
Making his 13th start of the season on Tuesday, Eduardo Rodriguez had himself a busy night against the team he began his professional career with. Pitching into the sixth inning of this one, the lefty surrendered two runs on eight hits and two walks while fanning four.
Right from the beginning, it did not appear that things were going to go smoothly for the Venezuelan hurler. In fact, Joey Rickard greeted Rodriguez by launching a 395 foot home run to lead things off in the bottom of the first.
From that point on, Rodriguez did not have one clean frame of work, as the Orioles reached base at least once in every inning the 25-year-old pitched in. Luckily though, they did not do too great of a job of capitalizing on those opportunities, since, outside of that leadoff home run, Rodriguez gave up just one run in the third inning before departing with two outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the sixth.
Finishing with 109 pitches (67 strikes), Rodriguez’s night came to an end after giving up a single to Craig Genrty. That made way for Hector Velazquez, who hadn’t pitched since last Friday, to take over things in the sixth.
Needing one out to get out of the inning, Velazquez struck out catcher Austin Wynns to retire the side. Coming back out for the seventh, the Mexico native did not have nearly the same amount of luck, as he loaded the bases for the Orioles in between recording the first two outs. And for the second night in a row, we got Joe Kelly coming into a high stress situation with the bases loaded.
Unlike Monday, Kelly did not need a strikeout to get out of the bases loaded jam. Instead, he got Jonathan Schoop to softly ground a comebacker to himself and made the toss to home for the inning-ending force out.
In the eighth, Matt Barnes was the recipient of some bad luck when, after he walked the first guy he saw in Mark Trumbo, Craig Gentry, Graig Gentry reached base on what looked like a routine groundout set up for a double play. Instead, Rafael Devers, who had been playing great defense at third lately, misplayed it and everyone was safe.
Thankfully, the UCONN alum bounced back and retired the next three batters he faced in order, with some help from JD Martinez, to get out of yet another jam.
Entering the ninth with a four run lead, it was a bit surprising to see Craig Kimbrel, who pitched on Monday, enter the game in a nonsave situation. As he usually does, the Red Sox closer did not look all that comfortable pitching in a game that was not close at the time, and he gave up two runs on one hit and two walks to make things interesting before striking out Pedro Alvarez to lock up the series win. It was the first time since May 26th against the Braves that Kimbrel had been roughed up in an outing.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup got to Orioles starter David Hess early for the second time this season. They scored five runs off of him in 4.2 innings pitched last month, and they got to him for another five runs in just 3.1 innings on Tuesday night.
Rafael Devers got the scoring started in the top of the second when, after Xander Bogaerts drew a walk to leadoff the inning, the young third baseman mashed his 10th big fly of the season 396 feet to right field to put his team in front early. On that home run, Devers became the fifth member of the Red Sox to reach double-digit home runs this year.
An inning later, Andrew Benintendi joined in on the action by launching his 12th homer of the season 402 feet to center field.
In the fourth, after Hess loaded the bases with one out in the inning, Benintendi came through again by drawing a five pitch walk to pick up his 46th RBI of the season.
That led to an Orioles pitching change, and righty Miguel Castro took things over with the bases still loaded. With JD Martinez at the plate, a balk allowed everyone to move up and another run was on the board. Castro then reloaded the bases for Mitch Moreland, but he grounded into an inning ending double play to end the threat.
To wrap up the scoring, Christian Vazquez knocked in Xander Bogaerts on an RBI single in the fifth, and the Orioles bullpen shut them down from that point until the middle of the ninth inning. In total, the Red Sox reached base 19 times last night, but they still got outhit 9-11 by the Orioles. I hate to say it, but I think this game may have gone in a different direction if the Orioles were not one of, if not, the worst team in the American League.
Some notes from this win:
Forgot to mention this earlier, but the Red Sox are now 12-1 in Eduardo Rodriguez’s starts this season.
Despite the shiny 1.93 ERA, Hector Velazquez does own a 1.44 WHIP this season. He gets hit a decent amount, but he is definitely the benefactor of some good luck.
In the seven game hitting streak he is currently riding, Rafael Devers is slashing .296/.321/.519.
At his current pace, Andrew Benintendi is projected to finish this season with 31 HR and 117 RBI.
Jackie Bradley Jr. was the only member of the Red Sox lineup who failed to reach base last night.
On a more positive note, the Red Sox will look to close out this series with a sweep in a few hours. Chris Sale will be taking the mound for his 15th start and he will be matched up against righty Yefry Ramirez, who will be making his major league debut for the Orioles. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 PM. Last one before heading out to Seattle.