After reaching double digits in runs for the second straight night in a 10-5 win over the New York Yankees on Friday, the Red Sox were unable to reach that mark on Saturday, but still came away with their consecutive win, topping their division rivals by a final score of 9-5.
Making his 22nd start of the season and second against New York for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who came into Saturday unbeaten over his last four outings dating back to the beginning of July.
Keeping with that trend this time around, the left-hander yielded three runs, all of which were earned, on seven hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of work.
The first of those three Yankees tallies came in the top half of the second, when with one out and the bases empty, Gio Urshela kicked off his first career four-hit game by taking Rodriguez deep to center for a solo home run to get his team on the board first.
Michael Chavis helped Rodriguez’s cause in the third, as he erased an Aaron Hicks leadoff single by turning a nifty, unassisted double play off a grounder from Aaron Judge.
In the fourth, Rodriguez nearly avoided any consequences of giving up a leadoff double to Luke Voit with two quick outs, but Urshela struck once more, this time singling softy to center to bring in the runner from second and make it a 2-1 contest.
An inning later, Hicks reached yet again by drawing a one-out walk and came around to score this time thanks to a two-out RBI double courtesy of Edwin Encarnacion.
That cut the Sox’ lead down to 4-3, but Rodriguez held on, stranded Encarnacion at second by fanning Voit to retire the side, and sat down two of the final four hitters he faced in the sixth before getting the hook.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 108 (64 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler relied on both his four-seam and cut fastball a combined 57.4% of the time he was on the mound Saturday. He induced four swings and misses and topped out at 95.4 MPH with his heater while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.
Able to improve to 13-4 despite seeing his ERA jump up to 4.13 on the year, Rodriguez continues his winning ways, as the Red Sox are now 17-5 in games started by the Venezuela native. He’ll look to keep that going in his next time out against this same Yankees team in the Bronx on Friday.
In relief of Rodriguez, Matt Barnes entered with two runners on and one out to get in the top half of the sixth, and he got that out by punching out Kyle Higashioka on six pitches.
Barnes also struck out the side while working around a two-out Encarnacion double in a scoreless seventh inning of work.
From there, Nathan Eovaldi struggled a bit in a 36-pitch eighth, surrendering two earned runs on three hits and two strikeouts before making way for Brandon Workman.
With a four-run lead to work with in the ninth, Workman needed just 14 pitches to fan a pair in a 1-2-3 frame to secure the 9-5 victory for his club.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran left-hander C.C. Sabathia for the Yankees, someone they had got to for three runs over six innings in a win back on June 2nd.
Falling behind by one run early, Andrew Benintendi got the scoring started for Boston and got that run right back in the bottom half of the second by blasting his ninth home run of the season, this one a Fenway Park special in that it only traveled 310 feet around Pesky’s Pole in right field.
Fast forward to the fourth, after going down by one run again, and J.D. Martinez gave his side their first lead of the day, scoring Rafael Devers as well as himself on his 22nd homer of the year and second of the series.
Four batters later, with two outs and runners at the corners, Michael Chavis came through and ripped an RBI single to left to plate Christian Vazquez and make it a two-run game at 4-2.
A Devers double to lead off the fifth brought Xander Bogaerts to the plate for the third time against a reeling Sabathia, and he took advantage by nearly going yard and instead settling for a run-scoring two-bagger off the Green Monster. 5-3.
Benintendi’s second extra-base hit of the afternoon, a leadoff double in the sixth off of new Yankees reliever Chad Green, allowed him to advance to third on a Sam Travis single to right and score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of the just-inserted Brock Holt.
Travis managed to swipe second with Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate right before Bradley Jr. drove him in himself on an RBI triple off the left field wall.
Mookie Betts, despite going hitless on Saturday, also contributed with one RBI on a sac fly of his own to deep center that allowed Bradley Jr. to score from third. 8-3.
And in the seventh, back-to-back two-out hits from Benintendi and Travis, with the former’s double coming against Green and the latter’s RBI knock coming against Nestor Cortes Jr., put the Red Sox ahead 9-3.
The Yankees tacked on two more runs of their own in their half of the eighth, but 9-5 would go on to be Saturday’s final score.
Some notes from this win:
From Red Sox Notes:
From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:
Matt Barnes, through nine July appearances: seven innings pitched, three hits, zero runs, two walks, 14 strikeouts, 0.00 ERA, and .125 batting average against.
Rafael Devers’ July thus far: .354/.410/.760 with 20 extra-base hits and 32 RBI.
Andrew Benintendi’s last seven games: .414/.433/.759 with two homers and five RBI.
The Red Sox are 5-1 in their last six games against the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. With the Rays getting walked off on by the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday, they are currently in sole possession of second place in the American League East and the second American League Wild Card spot.
Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this four-game weekend set on Sunday Night Baseball.
Left-hander Chris Sale is scheduled to get the ball for Boston, while right-hander Domingo German will do the same for New York.
Sale has allowed just two total earned runs over his last two starts combined, both of which came this past Tuesday in a win over Tampa Bay.
Against the Yankees this year, the 30-year-old is 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA and .304 batting average against over 11 total innings pitched.
In his career against the Bronx Bombers though, Sale owns a lifetime ERA of 2.10 over 19 total appearances (16 starts) and 111 1/2 innings of work.
German, meanwhile, allowed three runs in less than four innings in his only other start against the Sox this season. He is coming off an outing in which he surrendered eight runs on nine hits over 3 2/3 frames against the Minnesota Twins on July 23rd.
At Fenway Park, German has yet to factor in a decision while posting a 2.08 ERA over two career appearances (one start) and just 4 1/3 innings pitched.
First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on ESPN. Red Sox looking to complete the four-game sweep.