The Red Sox had nowhere to go but up after getting swept by the Orioles over the weekend, and up they went in the process of completing a three-game sweep of the Rays with a commanding 9-2 victory over Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
Eovaldi tosses seven solid frames
Nathan Eovaldi led the way in his second start of the season, tossing seven innings of one-run ball while scattering just three hits and three walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the afternoon.
After giving up that one run on an RBI single in the third, the veteran right-hander retired 11 of the final 15 hitters he faced from the fourth inning on.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (60 strikes), Eovaldi relied on his four-seam fastball 38% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing eight swings-and-misses while topping out at 99 mph with the pitch.
Ultimately picking up his first winning winning decision of the season, the 31-year-old hurler was named the YouTube Player of the Game for his efforts. His next start should come against the Twins in Minnesota next week.
In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Josh Taylor wrapped things up by allowing one run over the final two innings of Wednesday’s contest to preserve the 9-2 win for his side.
Martinez, Bogaerts, Vazquez lead the way offensively
A Yoshi Tsutsugo RBI single gave the Rays an early 1-0 lead in the third inning, but the Boston bats responded with three runs of their own an inning later.
Xander Bogaerts knotted things up at one by driving in Rafael Devers on a line-drive, run-scoring single to center field off Rays left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, then Christian Vazquez took things into his own hands a few moments later.
Starting at designated hitter after catching all 12 innings on Tuesday, Vazquez crushed his second home run of the season — and second in as many days — off a 2-1, 83 mph cutter from Yarbrough at the top of the strike zone.
Vazquez’s 376-foot blast over the Green Monster gave the Sox a 3-1 advantage.
Aided by a two-run double from a red-hot J.D. Martinez, Bogaerts, Vazquez, Hunter Renfroe, and Christian Vazquez combined to tack on four additional insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth with some help from some sloppy fielding from the Rays.
By the time Arroyo drove in Renfroe on an RBI double to shallow right field, the Red Sox had jumped out to a 9-2 lead, which would be more than enough to secure a 9-2, series-sweeping win on Wednesday.
Next up: First road trip of the season
After salvaging their first homestand of the year to improve to 3-3 through their first six games, the Red Sox will head to Baltimore for the first leg of a two-city, seven-game road trip.
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will be making his first start of the season in Thursday’s opener against the Orioles, and he will be matched up against veteran right-hander Matt Harvey.
First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)