One night after taking the opening game of this series against the New York Yankees in blowout fashion on Thursday, the Red Sox were back at it again with another convincing win on Friday.
Rocking the red tops, as is tradition for Friday home games to kickoff the weekend, Rick Porcello had himself a night to remember in one of the biggest games of the season.
Making his 23rd start of the season, Porcello was the only Red Sox hurler to take the mound tonight. He made sure to see this win through to its completion.
Pitching nine full innings, the righty hit the very first batter he saw in Brett Gardner, which led to some drama a few moments later.
After Alex Cora got ejected in the bottom half of the first, which I’ll talk about more down below, Porcello went on to give up just one run on one hit in the final eight frames he appeared in.
That one run, a solo shot off the bat of Yankees’ DH Miguel Andujar on a 0-1 89 MPH changeup in the third, was just about the only mistake the New Jersey native made all evening.
To go along with the lone run, Porcello tied his season-high in strikeouts with nine and sat down the final 21 Yankees he faced to notch his 14th winning decision of the year.
Finishing with an efficient 86 pitches, 79% of which went for strikes, the 10-year veteran relied on his fastball, both two and four-seam, 46 times on the night and topped out at 93.3 MPH with his four-seamer in the second inning.
In two starts against New York at Fenway Park in 2018, the former Cy Young Award winner is 2-0 with zero earned runs in 16 total innings pitched.
He’ll look to build on this success in his next time out, which should come against the Blue Jays up north in Toronto sometime next week.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup may not have put up as many runs as they did on Thursday evening, but they took an early lead and would not have to look back in this win.
Facing off against one of the better pitchers in the American League in Luis Severino, who entered Friday with a 8.84 ERA in his last four starts, Mookie Betts set the tone right away even though he did not reach base.
After Brett Gardner was hit by a pitch in the Yankees half of the first, Severino more than likely retaliated by airing a 96 MPH fastball right by Betts’ head on his first pitch of the night.
Obviously, Mookie, along with the Red Sox dugout, did not take too kindly to that gesture, and Alex Cora ended up getting tossed as a result.
Once the dust settled from that incident and Andrew Benintendi ripped a one out ground-rule double, Steve Pearce, fresh off a three homer game on Thursday, continued to mash by launching ANOTHER home run, this one good for two to put his team’s first runs of the contest on the board.
Three batters later, after Ian Kinsler had singled and swiped second, Eduardo Nunez came through with his second RBI knock in as many days by hitting a bloop single to shallow center to drive in Kinsler from second.
Unfortunately, the newest member of the Red Sox would have to depart from this game with tightness in his left hamstring after he came up gimpy while crossing the plate.
Because of that injury, we did get to see Mookie Betts patrolling a second base, his “natural position”, for the first time since 2014 and made a nice play on the very first ball hit to him in the second.
Anyway, Mitch Moreland, who did not start this game but came in because of the Kinsler injury, wrapped up the scoring for the Red Sox in the fifth, as he drove in JD Martinez from second while collecting his 49th RBI of the season. That made it a 4-1 game and that would be the final score in a game that took two hours and 15 minutes to complete.
Some notes from this win:
The Red Sox are 77-34. They are 7.5 games up on the Yankees in the AL East. Talk about damage.
From @SoxNotes: Rick Porcello is the first Red Sox pitcher to allow 1 or 0 hits in a 9.0-inning complete game against the Yankees since Pedro Martinez did so on September 10, 1999.
Having already guaranteed a series split, Nathan Eovaldi gets the start tomorrow afternoon going for the series victory.
A former Yankee, Eovaldi spent two seasons (2015-16) rocking the pinstripes and has only started against New York once in his seven-year career.
He’ll be matched up against rookie Chance Adams for New York, who will be making his big league debut on the biggest stage possible on Saturday.
First pitch of the third game is scheduled for 4:05 PM ET.