Coming off a 5-2 road trip and an off day on Thursday, the Red Sox opened up an eight-game homestand on Friday with a blowout 14-1 win over the Seattle Mariners to improve their record to 20-19 and pass the .500 plateau for the first time this season.
Making his eighth start of the season for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered the weekend fresh off a six strikeout performance in his last time out against the White Sox.
Tossing seven full innings in this one, the left-hander held the Mariners scoreless while scattering just five hits and one walk to go along with five K’s on the night.
Retiring nine of the first 10 he faced, Rodriguez faced more than four hitters in an inning just two times in the fourth and seventh, stranding the runners on base on both occasions to preserve the shutout effort.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 103 (68 strikes), the 26-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball 39% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch and topping out at 93.8 MPH with it. He also induced a team-high eight swinging strikes with his changeup, a pitch he threw 26 times.
The Red Sox are now 6-0 in Rodriguez’s last six starts. Over that span, the Venezuela native himself is 4-0 and owns an ERA of 2.78. They’ll look to make it seven wins in a row in Rodriguez’s next time out, which should come against the Houston Astros next week.
In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was not faced with much pressure, as their team’s lead stood at 10 runs by the time Tyler Thornburg took the mound to begin the eighth inning.
Having given up runs in his last four appearances out of the ‘pen before Friday, Thornburg saw his ERA inflate to 8.04 on an Edwin Encarnacion RBI double in his lone inning of relief.
And in the ninth, making his second appearance for the Sox since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket last Monday, Ryan Weber closed things out in a scoreless frame to secure the blowout victory.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Mariners rookie left-hander Erik Swanson, and they really had their way with them beginning in the third inning.
After collectively going 0-for-their-first-7, a Jackie Bradley Jr. leadoff double in that third would turn out to be the catalyst for a four-run inning to get the scoring started in this one.
All coming with two outs, back-to-back singles from Mookie Betts and JD Martinez plated Bradley Jr. and put runners on the corners for Mitch Moreland, who absolutely demolished a first pitch fastball and deposited 436 feet into the bleachers with an exit velocity of 109 MPH. 4-0, just like that.
An inning later, Rafael Devers joined in on the moon bomb party, leading off the fourth with a 397 foot shot off Swanson to pad the Red Sox’ lead even further.
In the fifth, the pair of corner infielders were at it again, with Moreland collecting his fourth RBI of the night on a line drive double to the opposite field to score Andrew Benintendi all the way from first and Devers driving in Moreland on an RBI single off new M’s reliever Mike Swarzak to make it a 7-0 contest.
Fast forward to the sixth, and Benintendi went yard for the second time in the last two games, as he took Swarzak 393 feet deep to right for his fifth big fly of the season. That ball had an exit velocity of over 106 MPH.
Another inning later, with lefty Zac Rosscup on for Seattle, Xander Bogaerts got on the board with his 24th ribbie of the year, plating Steve Pearce, who pinch-hit for Moreland the at-bat prior, on a screamer of a double to right field.
After advancing to third on a Rafael Devers groundout, Bogaerts scored his club’s 10th run on another RBI groundout from the slumping Michael Chavis. 10-0.
And in the eighth, even with this one already out of reach, the Red Sox went ahead and struck four more times off Mariners reliever and former Baltimore Oriole Mike Wright.
Benintendi, Betts, and Eduardo Nunez got the rally started by loading the bases without recording an out to begin the inning, and Xander Bogaerts drove in the reigning AL MVP by grounding into a force out at third to put runners at first and second for Devers.
On the very first pitch he saw from Wright, the 22-year-old capped off a stellar night at the plate in style, emptying the bases on a two out, two-run, 100 MPH double to right to give Boston the 14-1 advantage, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.
Some notes from this win:
From Red Sox Notes:
In nine games this month, Rafael Devers has recorded multiple hits in six of them. He is currently batting .314 with an OPS of .826.
Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game set on Saturday afternoon with a starting pitching matchup featuring two veteran right-handers.
For Boston, it will be Rick Porcello making his eighth start of the season. Since April 20th, the 30-year-old is 4-0 over his last four starts with an ERA of 2.45.
Opposite Porcello will be the 33-year-old righty Felix Hernandez for Seattle, who owns a lifetime 4.09 ERA over nine career starts and 57.2 innings of work at Fenway Park.
It took more than six weeks to get there, but the Red Sox are back to playing winning baseball with a record of 20-19.
First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their first four-game winning streak of the season.