Entering Sunday having lost their last two games against the Mariners, the Red Sox looked to even the series up before heading to Minnesota for the final leg of their road trip that starts on Tuesday.
Coming off a quality outing in his last time out against the Orioles, Eduardo Rodriguez put together yet another solid performance on the mound yesterday afternoon. In six full innings pitched, the first time he’s gone that deep this month, the lefty surrendered two runs on six hits and one walk while notching nine strikeouts on the day.
Rodriguez’s first three innings went fairly smoothly, as he scattered two hits and that one walk while recording the first nine outs quietly, but the fourth and the fifth were a different story.
With notable slugger Nelson Cruz in for his second at bat of the day to lead off the fourth, the native of Venezuela served up a 3-2, 89 MPH two-seam fastball to the Mariners DH, and he took it 442(!) feet to left to put his team on the board. His first career hit off of Rodriguez in eight tries.
An inning later, three straight singles from the 8-9-1 hitters in the Mariners lineup loaded the bases with no outs for Jean Segura. A run came around to score when Segura grounded into a force out at second, but that was all Rodriguez gave up in an 18 pitch inning.
With his pitch count at 96 going into the bottom half of the seventh, Alex Cora must have wanted to get the most out of Rodriguez, because he came back out and proceeded to retire the side in order to end his day on a more positive note.
Now finishing with a grand total of 113 pitches (70 strikes), the 25-year-old hurler topped out at 95.1 MPH with his four-seam fastball, which he threw 29% of the time. Later improving to 9-1 on the season, Rodriguez will look to continue this successful run he’s been on as of late in his next time out, which should come against the Mariners once again back at home next weekend.
Needing nine more outs to clinch the series-split, the Red Sox bullpen, with an initial three-run lead to work with entering the bottom of the seventh, took care of business against a pesky Mariners lineup.
Bouncing back from a blown save on Friday night, Matt Barnes tossed a 1-2-3 seventh inning on 13 pitches. Making his fourth appearance of the road trip in the eighth, Brandon Workman could only record the first two outs of the inning while the Mariners plated a run. Hector Velazquez would be inserted into a bit of a jam, end the inning, and wrap this thing up by pitching a scoreless final frame with a pure display of athleticism on the final out. 49th win of the season secured.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup rebounded from getting shutout on Saturday night in a big way.
In the third, after Leake had retired the first two batters he faced, two singles from Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts and a JD Martinez walk loaded the bases for Mitch Moreland.
Entering yesterday’s contest 1-for-his-last-18, the first baseman broke out of that slump by ripping a two-run single to center field to put the Red Sox on top early.
Having just seen his 10-game hitting streak come to an end the day before, Rafael Devers followed up that Moreland RBI knock by mashing his 11th home run of the season to right field.
408 feet with an exit velocity of 106 MPH on that one for Devers, in the place where he hit his first career homer as well.
Fast forward to the seventh and the Red Sox bats struck again, this time for three runs on two home runs.
Leading off the inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. took M’s reliever Chasen Bradford yard for his fourth big fly of the season.
And three batters later, after Andrew Benintendi singled before him, Xander Bogaerts stayed hot by launching his third home run in his last four games to pretty much put this thing out of reach. 436 feet, 109 MPH exit velo. on the shortstop’s 12th long ball of the season.
One note from this win:
From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox improve to 13-1 in Eduardo Rodriguez’s starts this season. Rodriguez is 9-1 with a 3.59 ERA, including 6-0 with a 2.29 ERA in his last 6 starts.
With an off day today in Minnesota, the Red Sox will look to take advantage of below-average Twins team starting tomorrow. The last time Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello were lined up to pitch in the same series, the Red Sox dropped two out of three to the White Sox. This time though, they’ll be looking for different results against another AL Central team. Chris Sale gets the ball in the series opener, as does Jose Berrios for the Twins, with first pitch scheduled for 8:10 PM ET on Tuesday.