For the first time this season, the Red Sox have strung together consecutive victories, as they defeated the Mets by a final score of 4-2 on Thursday night to sweep the mini two-game series at Citi Field.
Martin Perez got the start for Boston in this one, and contrary to his team debut at Fenway Park over the weekend, the left-hander was much more impressive in his first start of the year away from home. That being the case because over 5 2/3 innings of work, Perez yielded just two runs, both of which were earned, on two hits, four walks, and one hit batsman to go along with five strikeouts on the night.
Both of those Mets tallies scored off Perez came in the bottom half of the third, when with one out and runners on the corners, the 29-year-old single to Jeff McNeil, which at the time put New York up 2-1.
Fortunately for the Sox, Perez was able to avoid any further damage in the frame and proceeded to sit down seven of the final nine hitters he faced from the middle of the fourth up until when there were two outs in the bottom of the fifth, the point in which his outing came to a close.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 88 (49 strikes), the Venezuelan southpaw relied on his changeup more than 35% of the time he was on the mound Thursday, inducing nine swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 91.5 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 15 times.
Able to pick up his first winning decision as a member of the Red Sox, Perez will look to carry this momentum into his next start, which should come against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.
In relief of Perez, Heath Hembree came on with one out to get in the sixth, got that out by fanning Yoenis Cespedes on seven pitches, and proceeded to toss a scoreless seventh inning as well.
From there, Matt Barnes labored in the eighth with a one-run lead to protect, but despite dealing with runners on the corners with one out and the bases loaded with two, the flame-throwing right-hander escaped the inning unscathed by getting Mets rookie Andres Gimenez to ground out to first.
In the ninth, Brandon Workman appeared in a game for a third consecutive day, struck out the final two hitters he faced, and secured his second save and the Red Sox’ third victory of the season as 4-2 would go on to be Thursday’s final score.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against an unfamiliar opponent in the form of Mets left-hander Steven Matz, who was making his first career start against Boston in this one.
A scoreless first inning against Matz didn’t damper the Sox’ mood too much, as Christian Vazquez led off the top of the second by crushing a 2-1, 85 mph changeup down the heart of the plate 411 feet to left-center field to give his side an early lead.
Later on in the fourth, the red-hot Boston backstop struck once more, this time following up a Xander Bogaerts leadoff single with a 373-foot two-run blast off an 0-2, 94 MPH sinker from Matz. That put the Sox up by one once again at 3-2.
Flash forward all the way to the ninth, with the score still 3-2, and the Red Sox took advantage of a Mets reliever struggling with his command, as Alex Verdugo, Michael Chavis, and Andrew Benintendi all reached base off Edwin Diaz with no outs in the inning.
Rafael Devers punched out while pinch-hitting for Jonathan Arauz, but by taking a 90 mph slider off his elbow a few moments later, Jose Peraza was able to drive in a very important insurance run from third in the form of Verdugo.
That put the Red Sox up 4-2, which as previously mentioned, would go on to be the final score in Boston’s second straight win.
Some notes and observations from this victory:
Michael Chavis broke out of an 0-for-9 slump to to start the season by going 2-for-4 on Thursday.
Christian Vazquez’s OPS on the season is now up to 1.555.
From NESN’s Tom Caron:
From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:
From Red Sox Notes:
Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll open a three-game weekend series against the Yankees in the Bronx on Friday.
Right-hander Ryan Weber will get the ball for Boston, while left-hander Jordan Montgomery will do the same for New York.
Weber, 29, will be looking to rebound from a tough start against the Orioles last Sunday in which he surrendered six earned runs over 3 2/3 innings pitched. In three career outings against the Yankees, all of which have come in relief, the St. Petersburg native owns a lifetime 2.84 ERA and .182 batting average against over 6 1/3 total innings of work.
Montgomery, meanwhile, will be making his first appearance of the 2020 season for New York. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.40 ERA over three starts and 14 1/3 innings pitched against Boston.
First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN, MLB Network, and WEEI. Red Sox going for their third straight win.