After walking off the Kansas City Royals in the continuation of an August 7th game on Thursday, the Red Sox opened up a three-city, eight-game west coast road trip on Friday by halting their two-game losing streak with an 11-0 shutout victory over the San Diego Padres, marking the first time they have ever won on Players’ Weekend.
Making his 27th start of the season for Boston and second of the interleague variety was Eduardo Rodriguez, who came into the weekend fresh off 7 1/3 scoreless innings in his last time out against the Baltimore Orioles.
Tossing seven full frames this time around, the left-hander’s dominant run continued Friday, as he shut out the Padres while scattering just five hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts on the night to set a new career-high with 155 on the season.
Out of the six San Diego hitters Rodriguez allowed to reach base, only one made it as far as second, when Manuel Margot led off the bottom of the fourth with a single and moved up 90 feet on a seven-pitch walk of Francisco Mejia.
The Venezuela native did not buckle though, as he proceeded to get Manny Machado to ground into a 6-4-3 double play, one of the four that were turned when he was on the mound, before punching out Hunter Renfroe on five pitches to strand Margot at third.
From the middle of the fifth on, Rodriguez retired eight of the final 10 Padres he faced, with the last two outs he recorded fittingly coming on an inning-ending, 3-6-3 twin killing off the bat of Eric Hosmer in the seventh.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 93 (61 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 30% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing five swings and misses and topping out at 95 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.
Ultimately improving to a career-best 15-5 on the year while lowering his ERA on the season to 3.92, “El Gualo” has had himself a solid month of August to this point, posting a 3.09 ERA over his last five starts and 32 innings of work.
He’ll look to wrap up the month on a positive note in his next time out, which should come against the Los Angeles Angels next weekend.
In relief of Rodriguez, right-hander Josh Smith entered the bottom of the eighth with a sizable 11-run cushion to work with, and he struck out one over two scoreless frames to secure the 11-0 shutout win.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Padres rookie right-hander Chris Paddack, a former Miami Marlins prospect who brought with him a 2.60 ERA in his first three career interleague starts going into Friday’s contest.
Kicking off the scoring with a bang right away in the top half of the first, J.D. Martinez got a brilliant night at the plate started by driving in Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, and himself on a one-out, three-run shot hit 392 feet over everything in left field.
In the second, a walk drawn by Mitch Moreland and single from Brock Holt, followed by a successful sacrifice bunt off the bat from Eduardo Rodriguez, brought Betts to the plate for the second time already.
The reigning American League MVP added on to his side’s lead with a simple sacrifice fly to left to plate Moreland, but it was Devers and Bogaerts who did the real damage, as the pair came through with back-to-back RBI doubles off of Paddack to make it a six-run game early on.
Fast forward to the fourth, with Paddack out and left-handed reliever Robbie Erlin in for San Diego, a one-out Devers single and Bogaerts walk in consecutive order put Martinez in another prime run-scoring spot, even more so with a wild pitch advancing both runners 90 feet.
Although he didn’t go yard this time, Martinez did score Devers from third on another sacrifice fly to left, putting Boston in command with a seven-run advantage.
Two innings later, Rodriguez led off the sixth by reaching on a missed catch error committed by Eric Hosmer and moved up to second for the first time in his career on a Betts single.
A groundout off the bat of Devers advanced both runners once more, which led to another Padres pitching change.
In came righty Eric Yardley in a game already well out of reach, and he was coldly greeted by Bogaerts, who took a 1-2, 73 MPH curveball up and in and laced a run-scoring single to left, allowing Rodriguez to cross the plate for the first time in his big league career. 8-0.
And finally, with runners at the corners and still one out in the sixth, Martinez came to the plate having already driven in four runs on the night, but that clearly wasn’t enough, as “Flaco” put this one to bed by depositing a 2-1, 72 MPH curveball down the heart of the plate from Yardley 375 feet into the left field seats.
That three-run blast, Martinez’s second of the evening and 30th big fly of the season overall, put the Red Sox up 11-0, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.
Some notes from this win:
From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:
The Red Sox’ 1-4 hitters (Betts, Devers, Bogaerts, Martinez) on Friday: 10-for-16 (.625) with two homers and 11 RBI.
Mookie Betts’ last seven games: .345/.364/.690 with nine runs scored, one home run, and three RBI.
Xander Bogaerts’ last seven games: .370/.433/.741 with two homers and eight RBI.
Rafael Devers’ last seven games: .433/.485/.900 with three homers and 10 RBI. He has 103 runs driven in on the season.
J.D. Martinez’s last 15 games: .407/.456/.797 with six homers and 17 RBI.
After six unsuccessful attempts, the Red Sox have finally won a game on Players’ weekend.
Able to improve to a nice 69-61 on the season on Friday, the Sox now stand 6 1/2 games behind the Cleveland Indians for the second American League Wild Card spot.
Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game weekend set, with right-hander Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Dinelson Lamet doing the same for San Diego.
Eovaldi struggled in his return to the starting rotation this past Sunday, surrendering five runs on three hits and three walks in just two innings of work in an eventual 13-7 win over Baltimore.
In 26 career interleague starts, the 29-year-old is 5-9 with a lifetime 4.76 ERA and .287 batting average against over 140 total innings of work. He is also a lifetime .081 (12-for-149) hitter with two career RBI.
Lamet, meanwhile, has posted a solid 3.75 ERA and .225 batting average against in his last six starts going back to the All-Star break. The 27-year-old out of the Dominican Republic has never faced the Red Sox before in his career.
First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 8:40 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.