On a night they made their first move before the trade deadline, the Red Sox extended their winning streak to a season-best three consecutive games on Friday following an 8-5 victory over the Orioles.
Colten Brewer made his second start and ninth overall appearance of the season for Boston, and he looked much better than he did in his first career start against the Yankees last week.
That being the case because over four strong innings of work, the right-hander held the O’s scoreless while scattering three hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night.
The only real trouble Brewer ran into came in the bottom of the first, when he yielded two straight two-out singles to Renato Nunez and Pedro Severino before getting out of the inning unscathed.
Other than that, Brewer proceeded to retire eight of the final 11 hitters he faced going into the end of the fourth, which is the point where his outing came to a close.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 71 (50 strikes), the 27-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball 49% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing two swings-and-misses and topping out at 95.2 mph with the pitch.
Unable to pick up the winning decision due to the length of his outing, Brewer did manage to lower his ERA on the season to 3.50. If he gets another start, it will likely come against the Blue Jays in Buffalo sometime next week.
In relief of Brewer, Darwinzon Hernandez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in what was his 2020 debut.
The 23-year-old southpaw faced eight batters over two scoreless frames of work, allowing one hit, walking another, and fanning three on his way to picking up his first career major-league victory.
From there, fellow lefty Josh Osich got lit up for five runs on three separate homers over 1 2/3 innings before Austin Brice had to come on and record the final out of the eighth.
And in the ninth, with Brandon Workman on his way to Philadelphia, Matt Barnes got the call to close this one out, and the right-hander did just that by maneuvering his way around a leadoff single in an otherwise clean inning to secure his first save and his team’s ninth win of the season in 8-5 fashion.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles ace left-hander John Means, who entered Friday with a 10.57 ERA through his first three starts of 2020.
After going down 1-2-3 in their half of the first, the Boston bats got it going in the second inning for a second straight night when a red-hot Xander Bogaerts led the frame off with a 412-foot solo shot to give his side an early one-run lead.
An inning later, the middle part of the Sox lineup struck once again, when after Kevin Pillar reached base on a one-out single, J.D. Martinez drove the outfielder and himself in on a 431-foot two-run blast to center field for his third homer of the year. 3-0 Boston.
Fast forward to the fifth, with reliever Jorge Lopez pitching for Baltimore, Rafael Devers put his power on display and had by far the best swing of the night.
With one out and runners at first and second, the 23-year-old took a 1-0, 85 mph changeup down the chute from the O’s right-hander and proceeded to deposit it 447 feet to dead center.
Per Statcast, Devers’ fourth big fly of the year had an exit velocity of 108.1 mph, which was the hardest hit ball of the evening for either side. It also put the Red Sox up 6-0.
In the sixth, Michael Chavis provided what would turn out to be some much-needed insurance with a two-run single off Lopez following back-to-back leadoff base knocks off the bats of Christian Vazquez and Alex Verdugo.
Chavis’ sixth and seventh RBI of the season put the Red Sox up 8-0, and 8-5 would go on to be Friday’s final score.
Some notes and observations from this victory:
With two hits on Friday, Alex Verdugo has extended his hitting streak to 12 straight games.
Rafael Devers has six hits in his last three games.
From Red Sox Notes:
From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:
Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the third game of this four-game weekend set on Saturday night.
Left-hander Martin Perez will get the ball for Boston, while veteran right-hander Alex Cobb will do the same for Baltimore.
Perez surrendered five runs (four runs) to the O’s in his Red Sox debut back on July 25. The 29-year-old has made four career starts at Camden Yards and owns a 4.32 ERA and .698 OPS against in those outings.
Cobb, meanwhile, held the Sox to just one run in that same game Perez started in July. The 32-year-old, who was born in Boston, comes into the weekend with a 3.76 ERA and .634 OPS against through his first five starts and 26 1/3 innings pitched this season.
First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox looking for their fourth straight victory.