The Red Sox wasted no time in teeing off against Dylan Cease and the White Sox on Tuesday. A four-run first inning powered Boston to a 16-3 victory over Chicago at Guaranteed Rate Field.
By taking the opener of this three-game series, the Sox extend their winning streak to six consecutive games while improving to 20-22 on the season.
On the very first pitch he saw from Cease in the first inning, Enrique Hernandez crushed a leadoff home run 372 feet into Chicago’s bullpen to give Boston an immediate 1-0 lead. Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez followed with a single and walk, which put runners at the corners with two outs when Trevor Story stepped up to the plate.
Fresh off being named the American League Player of the Week, Story picked up where he left off by not letting Cease off the hook and instead depositing a three-run home run 398 feet to left field. Story’s eighth homer of the year put the Red Sox up 4-0.
An inning later, back-to-back hard-hit doubles from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Hernandez to lead things off made it a 5-0 game. Martinez tacked on another by lacing a 105 mph RBI single to left field that increased the advantage to six runs.
In the third, Christian Vazquez followed a one-out Franchy Cordero walk by ripping a single back up the middle that advanced Cordero up to third base. Cordero scored from third when Bradley Jr. beat out a double play by reaching first base safely.
After the White Sox dipped into their bullpen beginning in the fourth inning, Devers greeted new reliever Jose Ruiz by mashing an opposite-field solo blast that left his bat at 106 mph. Devers’ 10th big fly of the season made it an 8-0 ballgame in favor of the Red Sox. Ruiz proceeded to fill the bases with no outs in the fourth before giving up an RBI sacrifice fly to Cordero and run-scoring single to Vazquez.
To that point in the contest, Nick Pivetta had retired each of the first nine batters he faced. The right-hander’s bid for a perfect game came to an end in the bottom of the fourth when he yielded a leadoff double to Tim Anderson. He then served up a two-out, two-run home run to Jose Abreu that saw his shutout bid end as well.
The Red Sox lineup picked up their starter in the top half of the fifth, though. With one out, Martinez and Bogaerts each reached base off Bennett Sousa for Alex Verdugo, who made his first hit of the night count in the form of an RBI single. Story and Cordero kept the line moving with two more run-scoring knocks before Vazquez drove them both in on a 400-foot three-run homer to left field. Vazquez’s second long ball of the season gave Boston a commanding 16-2 lead.
Pivetta, meanwhile, ran into some more trouble in the latter half of the fifth when he gave up a two-out double to Andrew Vaughn that was followed by a run-scoring single off the bat of Tim Anderson to trim Chicago’s deficit to 13 runs at 16-3. Pivetta’s outing came to a close after he stranded a pair of base runners in a scoreless sixth inning.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 88 (51 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler wound up allowing three earned runs on five hits, two walks, and five strikeouts over six innings of work. His ERA on the season now sits at 4.25 after nine starts.
In relief of Pivetta, Hirokazu Sawamura received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora beginning in the seventh. The righty sat down three of the four he faced before making way in the eighth for Matt Barnes, who, too, put up a zero. And in the ninth, Tyler Danish slammed the door on the White Sox to put the finishing touches on the blowout.
All told, the Sox offense tallied a season-high 16 runs on 19 hits — four of which left the yard — while going 9-for-18 with runners in scoring position. Hernandez, Devers, Story, Verdugo, and Bradley Jr. had two hits apiece, Martinez accounted for four, and Vazquez had three.
Next up: Hill vs. Giolito
The Red Sox will go for their fourth straight win on Wednesday night when they send veteran left-hander Rich Hill to the mound. The White Sox will counter with right-hander Lucas Giolito.
First pitch from Guaranteed Rate Field is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Trevor Story and Rafael Devers: Quinn Harris/Getty Images)