An off-day on Friday could not halt the Red Sox’ momentum on Saturday, as the club battled back, won its fifth consecutive game, and won its second straight series with a 6-4 victory over the Orioles in 10 innings at Camden Yards.
Richards stumbles out of the gates, but turns in solid performance
After getting rocked for six runs over just two innings against the O’s in his Red Sox debut last Sunday, Garrett Richards did not get off to the best of starts in his second outing of the season on Saturday
Gifted a two-run lead before he even took the mound, the veteran right-hander served up a pair of solo homers to the very second and third hitters he faced in Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander.
At that point, it appeared as though Richards was in for a rather long — or short — evening. To his credit, though, he managed to turn things around for the better by retiring 14 of the next 18 hitters he faced in order to get through five innings.
Over those five solid frames, the 32-year-old hurler surrendered all of two earned runs on three hits and three walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (47 strikes), Richards relied on his four-seam fastball 49% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing eight swings-and-misses while topping out at 95.6 mph with the pitch.
Unable to pick up the winning decision despite the decent performance, Richards’ next start should come against the Twins in Minnesota on Thursday.
Ottavino gives up late lead
In relief of Richards, Darwinzon Hernandez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen. The left-hander danced his way around some trouble in a scoreless bottom half of the sixth and recorded the first out of the seventh before yielding a hard-hit double to the speedy Cedric Mullins.
That led to Hernandez getting the hook in favor of Adam Ottavino, who managed to escape the jam by getting two quick outs.
The eighth inning, however, was a different story for Adam Ottavino, as the veteran reliever saw his side’s 3-2 lead turn into a 4-3 deficit after surrendering two runs on three hits in the frame. Josh Taylor had to come on to get the final two outs.
Dalbec, Barnes send things to extras
After falling behind by a run in the eighth, the Sox did not waste any time getting back into things in the top half of the ninth.
One-out singles from Marwin Gonzalez and the pinch-hitting Franchy Cordero off O’s reliever Cesar Valdez put runners at the corners for a struggling Bobby Dalbec.
Dalbec was unable to come through with a go-ahead hit or clutch sacrifice fly, but he was able to drive in the tying run from third by doing the next best thing: grounding into a force out at second and beating out a double play.
The fact that a hustling Dalbec beat Freddy Galvis’ throw and reached first base safely meant that Gonzalez scored from third, which tied things up at three runs a piece.
That resulted in Matt Barnes coming on for the bottom half of the ninth, and the flame-throwing right-hander continued his dominating, season-opening run by striking out a pair in yet another perfect inning of relief to send this one to extras.
Chavis, Vazquez, and Andriese seal the come-from-behind victory
Michael Chavis probably did not anticipate playing a key role for the Red Sox in their game against the Orioles when he woke up on Saturday morning, but with J.D. Martinez being placed on the COVID-19 related injured list (cold symptoms), the 25-year-old infielder was called into action from the team’s taxi squad.
Pinch-running in place of Kevin Plawecki and placed at second base to start things out in the 10th, Chavis advanced to third on a sacrifice fly then came into score on a wild pitch from Orioles righty Dillon Tate.
Walks drawn by Alex Verdugo and Xander Bogaerts put runners at first and second for a red-hot Christian Vazquez, who proceeded to greet new Baltimore reliever Wade LeBlanc by ripping an RBI single to left field.
Vazquez’s fifth RBI put the Sox up by two at 6-4 going into the bottom of the 10th, which allowed Matt Andriese — yes, Matt Andriese — to pick up the first save of the season for any Boston reliever by tossing a scoreless inning.
Devers has rollercoaster of a game
Rafael Devers stayed hot on Saturday by mashing another home run as part of a 2-for-5 showing at the plate, but he did not necessarily get his night off on the right foot.
After plating Verdugo on an RBI single off O’s starter Bruce Zimmermann with two outs in the first, the 24-year-old wound up getting caught in a rundown between first and second with Gonzalez at the plate, though Bogaerts was able to score from third as a result of said rundown.
An inning and a half later, Devers had the opportunity to bail out Richards and record the final out of the second when Galvis struck out swinging and Rio Ruiz took off for second base.
On a nice and hard pickoff attempt from Plawecki behind the plate, Devers — playing in the shift — had the chance to tag out Ruiz at second for a strike ’em out-throw ’em out double play, but instead fielded the throw well in front of the bag and started jogging towards the visitor’s dugout.
The reason being, Devers thought there were already two outs in the inning and Galvis striking out marked the end of the frame.
That lapse in judgement did not come back to bite Devers or the Sox, but it was still a bit unusual to see nonetheless.
For as poorly as Devers may have played early on Saturday, he certainly made up for it in the later innings.
As previously mentioned, the left-handed slugger clubbed his second big fly of the season in the sixth to give his side a 3-2 lead.
He also made a clutch defensive play, when with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth, Devers fielded a groundball off the bat of Mancini on one hop and got the out at first to preserve a 4-3 lead for his side.
Next up: Pivetta vs. Lopez
Next up, the Red Sox will look to enact their revenge on the Orioles by completing the three-game sweep over their division rivals on Sunday afternoon.
Right-hander Nick Pivetta will be getting the ball for Boston, and he will be matched up against fellow righty Jorge Lopez for Baltimore.
First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Red Sox going for their sixth straight win.
(Picture of Red Sox: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)