The Red Sox ensured their flight to San Francisco would be a happy one as they defeated the Reds, 7-1, at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. With the win, Boston splits its two-game series with Cincinnati while improving to 24-27 on the season.
Matched up against Hunter Greene out of the gate, it took until the fourth inning for the Sox lineup to get to the Reds rookie right-hander. Rafael Devers led off with a wall-ball double and advanced to third base on a J.D. Martinez single. Xander Bogaerts drove in Devers to break the seal while Alex Verdugo followed by lacing a 106.8 mph two-run double to right-center field to score both Martinez and Bogaerts.
Those four consecutive hits gave Boston a 3-0 lead. Jackie Bradley Jr. tacked on one more by plating Verdugo on a two-out RBI single to center field. A four-run fourth inning proved to be beneficial for Garrett Whitlock.
Making his eighth start of the season for the Red Sox, Whitlock allowed just one unearned run on five hits, no walks, and no strikeouts over six innings of work. It was his first time since moving to the starting rotation that he did not strike out a single batter, though he did induce three double plays.
The lone run Whitlock gave up came in his sixth and final inning. There, the right-hander yielded a leadoff single to Aristedes Aquino, who proceeded to steal second base and advance to third on a Christian Vazquez throwing error. Aquino then scored from third on a Nick Senzel groundout, but he limited the damage to one by getting Brandon Drury to fly out to right field to retire the side.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 73 (49 strikes), the 25-year-old hurler lowered his ERA on the season down to 3.02 while earning his first career winning decision as a starting pitcher in the majors.
In relief of Whitlock, fellow righty Tanner Houck received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from Red Sox manager Alex Cora. He needed all of 12 pitches to sit down the side in order in the seventh before stranding one in a scoreless top of the eighth.
A half-inning later, Bradley Jr. provided some late insurance with a bases-clearing, three-run triple off Jeff Hoffman. Bradley Jr.’s first triple of the season gave the Sox a comfortable 7-1 lead. John Schreiber closed things out in the ninth with some defensive help from Trevor Story to secure a six-run victory.
All told, three different Red Sox pitchers (Whitlock, Houck, Schreiber) struck out just one of the 31 batters they collectively faced on Wednesday.
Next up: On to Oakland
The Red Sox will now board an overnight flight to San Francisco before enjoying an off day in the Bay Area on Thursday and opening a three-game weekend series against the 20-33 Athletics on Friday. It marks the start of a 10-game west coast road trip for the Sox.
Boston will turn to right-hander Nathan Eovaldi in the opener while Oakland will roll with fellow righty James Kaprielian. First pitch from Oakland Coliseum is scheduled for 9:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)