Coming off a three game sweep in Baltimore, the Red Sox continued their ten game road trip by kicking off a four game set against the first place Seattle Mariners in Seattle last night. Owning two of the three best winning percentages in all the American League entering Thursday, this series has potential to be a postseason preview.
Making his 14th start of the season in this one, David Price put together his best performance since he tossed that complete game against the Orioles back on May 17th.
In seven full innings pitched, the lefty allowed just one run on five hits, zero walks, and a HBP while notching seven strikeouts on the night.
There was really no point last night where Price found himself in too much trouble. The only run he gave up came in the fifth inning, when after Kyle Seager and Ryon Healy both led things off with singles, Guillermo Heredia drove in Seager from third on a sacrifice fly for the first out.
Other than that though, the Tennessee native shut the Mariners down from that point on up until the conclusion of the seventh inning. With the help of some slick defense from Xander Bogaerts, Price got out of the sixth unscathed.
And in his final frame of work, with his pitch count getting up there, it looked as though Price was going to get the hook after giving up another single to Healy with two outs in the seventh. Instead, Alex Cora let him stay in the game after a meeting on the mound, and Price responded by striking out the last batter he faced to retire the side.
Finishing with 106 pitches (73 strikes) on the night, the 32-year-old hurler reached a maximum velocity of 95.5 MPH on his four-seam fastball, which he threw 23% of the time in those seven innings.
In his last seven starts, not only are the Red Sox undefeated, but Price himself has been outstanding. Over his last 44.1 innings pitched in those even outings, the southpaw owns a 2.64 ERA while opponents are hitting a measly .205 off of him. It must have all started with that carpal tunnel scare back in early May, because David Price has been one of the better pitchers in the American League since then.
Back to the game, the Red Sox bullpen would be responsible for the last six Mariners outs with a run lead to protect. As he usually does, Joe Kelly tossed a shutdown eighth inning to pick up his 14th hold of the year, and that set up another save situation for Craig Kimbrel in the ninth.
It certainly was not easy, as the first two Mariners in the inning on consecutive walks, but the Red Sox closer bounced back, struck out Kyle Seager for the first out of the inning, and with some help from Xander Bogaerts at short, got out of the jam thanks to an inning-ending double play off the bat of Ryon Healy. 22nd save of the season secured. Fifth straight win for the Red Sox also secured.
On the flip side of things, I gotta start off by tipping my cap to M’s starter Felix Hernandez. A franchise legend in Seattle, King Felix’s best years are definitely behind him, but I would be lying if I said I was not impressed with the performance he put together against the Red Sox last night, 7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K’s.
Of all people, Jackie Bradley Jr. got the scoring started for the Red Sox in the top of the second when he drove in Rafael Devers from second on an RBI double to put his team on the board first.
Fast forward to the sixth, and Xander Bogaerts came through with the go-ahead run on a 404 foot solo shot off of Hernandez. Good for his 10th home run of the season on what was a terrific night for the Red Sox shortstop.
Like I said, that solo homer put the Red Sox up by one and they would not have to look back on their way to the series opening win.
Some notes from this W:
From @SoxNotes: Red Sox starters have allowed 2 ER or fewer in 10 of the club’s last 11 games, including each of the last 7.
Another one from @SoxNotes: Xander Bogaerts hit his 10th HR of the season tonight. The Red Sox are the only team with as many as 6 players with 10+ HR (Martinez, Betts, Benintendi, Bogaerts, Devers, Moreland).
Rafael Devers extended his hitting streak to nine games last night. Over that span, Devers is slashing .314/.333/.514 with one home run and four RBI.
The Red Sox are 17-3 in the last 20 games Christian Vazquez has started behind the plate.
Heading into the middle game of this series later tonight, Rick Porcello will be getting the start for the Red Sox. He will be matched up against lefty James Paxton for the Mariners, who has already thrown a no-hitter this season back on May 8th in Toronto. We could be in store for another pitchers’ duel here. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM local time.