After shutting out the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, the Red Sox fell behind by six runs early against the O’s on Sunday, but battled their way back to both complete the three-game weekend sweep and extend their winning streak to five games with a 13-7 victory.
Making his fifth start and 16th overall appearance for Boston was Nathan Eovaldi, who, before Sunday, hadn’t started a game in over four months.
Tossing just two full innings in this one, the right-hander yielded five runs, all of which were earned, on three hits and three walks to go along with one strikeout on the afternoon.
The first three of those Baltimore runs came on one swing of the bat right away in the top half of the first, when with one out and runners at the corners following a Jonathan Villar leadoff double and Trey Mancini walk, Renato Nunez unloaded on a 3-2, 79 MPH curveball from Eovaldi and sent it 415 feet over the Green Monster.
An inning later, ball four came back to bite Eovaldi once more, with Chris Davis drawing a walk to lead things off and Villar drawing another with two outs, which allowed Mancini to make it a 5-0 contest on a two-run single that also ended the top of the frame as he was thrown out at second.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 43 (23 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler relied on his cut fastball nearly 35% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing one swing and miss with the pitch. He also topped out at 97.7 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 13 times while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.
Ultimately getting hit with the no-decision while inflating his ERA on the year up to a not-so-nice 6.69 ERA, command, or lack thereof, played a major role for Eovaldi in his first start since April 17th. He’ll look for improved results, as well as an increased workload, in his next time out, which should come against the San Diego Padres next weekend.
In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez entered the top of the third with his side trailing by five runs, and he bumped that deficit up to six by serving up a two-out RBI double to Hanser Alberto in his lone inning of work.
From there, Ryan Brasier worked his way around a one-out walk in a scoreless fourth, Josh Taylor allowed back-to-back two-out singles in an otherwise clean fifth, Marcus Walden tossed a scoreless sixth, which eventually led to him picking up his eighth winning decision of the season, and Andrew Cashner put together his third straight scoreless appearance since moving to the bullpen with the help of an inning-ending 1-4-3 double play in the seventh.
And finally, with this one already well in hand, Travis Lakins surrendered one run on one hit over two frames of relief to secure the 13-7 win for his club.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles left-hander Ty Blach, who was claimed off waivers by Baltimore from the San Francisco Giants earlier in the month.
Already trailing by three runs before they took their first at-bats, five runs before taking their second, and six before taking their third, back-to-back RBI groundouts from Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts following a walk and double from Chris Owings and Mookie Betts to lead off the bottom half of the third netted the Sox their first two runs of the day.
In the fourth, Sam Travis continued to trim the deficit, as he took Blach deep to dead center off a one-out, first-pitch, 90 MPH sinker down the middle of the plate for his sixth home run of the season.
Fast forward to the sixth, and a leadoff double off the bat of J.D. Martinez and one-out walk drawn by Travis knocked Blach out of this contest and brought right-hander Gabriel Ynoa in for Baltimore.
That move would wind up favoring Boston more though, as Christian Vazquez greeted the new O’s reliever by knocking in Martinez from third on a line-drive RBI double down the left field line.
The emergence of Mitch Moreland hitting in the place of Sandy Leon led to another Orioles pitching change, this time with lefty Paul Fry taking over.
Again, the run that Red Sox pinch-hitters have been on this season continued, with Moreland being the beneficiary of sloppy defensive play from Baltimore on a routine pop fly to shallow left field.
What should have been the second out of the sixth instead went for an RBI single while both Travis and Vazquez scored to knot things up at six runs apiece.
An Owings strikeout and Betts walk brought Devers to the plate with the chance to give his side their first lead of the afternoon, and he came through with the go-ahead, run-scoring double off the Green Monster to do just that and drive in Moreland from second.
Bogaerts and Martinez followed suit with back-to-back RBI singles in between another Orioles pitching change, with Bogaerts’ knock coming off Fry and Martinez’s off of Shawn Armstrong.
All in all, the Sox entered their half of the sixth down 6-3. By the time the third out was recorded on a Travis punchout, 12 hitters had come to the plate and the score was now 9-6 in favor of Boston. Talk about turning a game on it’s head.
The offensive outpour did not stop there though, not with Vazquez and Moreland leading off the seventh with back-to-back singles and Betts plating Vazquez on a sacrifice fly to center.
Devers followed that by absolutely punishing a 1-1, 94 MPH four-seamer on the outer half of the strike zone from Armstrong and depositing it 399 feet to right for his 27th big fly of the season.
That two-run shot had an exit velocity of over 111 MPH, per Statcast, and it also marked the 100th and 101st RBI of the year for Devers, as he became the first player in baseball this season to reach the century mark in runs driven in.
A Bogaerts double and Martinez run-scoring single put the Red Sox up 13-6, and after the Orioles tacked on another run in their half of the ninth, 13-7 would go on to be Sunday’s final score.
Some notes from this win:
From Red Sox Notes:
Josh Taylor’s last 15 appearances: 14 1/3 innings pitched, nine hits, three earned runs, five walks, 18 strikeouts, 1.88 ERA.
Rafael Devers’ last seven games: .563/.600/1.094 with three home runs and 11 RBI.
J.D. Martinez’s last 15 games: .414/.485/.707 with four homers and 10 RBI.
Mitch Moreland’s last seven games: .409/.458/.682 with one homer and six RBI.
With the Tampa Bay Rays topping the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, the Red Sox still stand 6 1/2 games off the pace for the second American League Wild Card spot.
Next up for the Red Sox, it’s another off day on Monday before welcoming the 64-60 Philadelphia Phillies into town for a two-game interleague series beginning on Tuesday.
Left-hander Chris Sale was supposed to start in the opener, but has since been placed on the 10-day injured list due to left elbow inflammation. Sox manager Alex Cora has yet to name a replacement.
Right-hander Aaron Nola will get the start for Philadelphia.
Since the beginning of August, the Phillies ace owns an ERA of 2.07 and batting average against of .194 over his last three outings and 19 innings pitched.
In one prior start at Fenway Park back on July 30th of last year, Nola hurled eight masterful innings of one-run ball in a contest the Phillies lost by a final score of 2-1.
First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their sixth straight win.