After opening up a three-game series in Baltimore with a disappointing 4-1 loss on Monday, the Red Sox bounced back with an eight-run performance on Tuesday, defeating the Orioles by a final score of 8-5 to take the middle game of the series.
Getting the start in the place of the now shelved David Price in this one was Hector Velazquez, who last started this past Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics.
Working the first three innings Tuesday, the right-hander held Baltimore to two runs, both earned, on three hits and one walk to go along with no strikeouts on the night.
Similar to Josh Smith’s start for Boston in the opener, both of those runs given up by Velazquez came on one swing of the bat for Baltimore, a two out, two-run home run from Rio Ruiz in the first inning, which tied the game at two at the time it was hit.
Other than that mishap, the 30-year-old worked his way around more two out trouble and ended up retiring the final four hitters he faced.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 46 (30 strikes), Velazquez relied on his changeup 33% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing one swing and miss with the pitch while topping out at 93.6 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw nine times.
In relief of Velazquez, the Red Sox seemed to stick to the same plan they ran with in last Wednesday’s win over the A’s, with Marcus Walden getting the first call out of the bullpen for some extended work.
Making his 13th appearance of the season, Walden yielded just one run, a fourth inning Hanser Alberto solo shot, on two hits and no hits while also punching out three and receiving some help from his Gold Glove outfielders to improve to 5-0 on the year.
From the middle of the seventh inning on, Brandon Workman continued his impressive run by sitting down the only three hitters he faced in that bottom half of the seventh.
Ryan Brasier, meanwhile, did not have the same success in the eighth, as he allowed the Red Sox’ initial three-run lead to be trimmed down to one thanks to RBI hits from Dwight Smith Jr. and Chris Davis.
Having to come in with the chance to pick up the four out save, Matt Barnes got out of the eighth by striking out Stevie Wilkerson on six pitches before inducing a game-ending 6-4-3 double play an inning later to do just that for his third save of the season.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles right-hander David Hess on Tuesday, and unlike in the series opener, actually pushed across multiple runs against the opposing starting pitcher.
That scoring began right away in the first inning, with JD Martinez notching career home run no. 200 with a one out, two-run opposite field shot to plate both him and Mookie Betts and give the Sox an early 2-0 advantage. His first homer since April 17th.
Fast forward to the fourth, and Xander Bogaerts racked up his third big fly in his last four games with a 425 foot solo homer to dead center. 3-2 Boston.
An inning later, after the Orioles responded with a run of their own in their half of the fourth, Mitch Moreland took that lead right back with a three-run, 406 foot dinger off new Baltimore reliever Branden Kline, scoring Betts, Martinez, and himself to make it a 6-3 contest.
And in the ninth, the Sox bats took advantage of a wild Evan Phillips for Baltimore, who allowed the first three hitters he faced to reach base in the frame before Mookie Betts came to the plate.
With the chance to put this one away, the reigning AL MVP displayed his patience by drawing an eight-pitch bases loaded walk, which of course allowed Jackie Bradley Jr. to stroll in from third and put his team up by two runs.
One pitching change that saw Miguel Castro take over for Baltimore later, and the man who drove in Boston’s first run of the night came through by driving in their last, as a JD Martinez sacrifice fly to left gave Christian Vazquez more than enough time to tag from third and give the Red Sox an 8-5 lead, which would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.
Some notes from this win:
From the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:
Mitch Moreland has 23 hits this season. 10 of those, with the tenth coming Tuesday, have been home runs. His slugging percentage currently stands at .542.
From Red Sox Notes:
With another two-hit performance Tuesday, Christian Vazquez is 9-for-his-last-18 since the beginning of May.
I’m not going to post the numbers, but Michael Chavis has cooled off recently.
Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll go for the series win in the finale of this three-game set on Wednesday.
Fresh off six scoreless innings in a winning effort in his last time out against the White Sox, it will be left-hander Chris Sale getting the ball for Boston.
In 11 career outings (eight starts) at Orioles Park, Sale owns a lifetime 1.97 ERA over 50.1 total innings pitched.
Opposite Sale, it will be veteran right-hander Andrew Cashner for Baltimore, who picked up the win in his last start against the Red Sox back on April 13th.
First pitch of the last game of the seven-game road trip is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT. Red Sox looking to improve to 19-19 and get back to .500.