The Red Sox once again had their way with the Athletics at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. Boston defeated Oakland, 10-1, to take the three-game series and improve to 34-29 on the season.
Early scoring was yet again key for the Sox. Matched up against A’s starter James Kaprielian out of the gate, Alex Verdugo got his productive night at the plate started and got his side on the board first with a bases-loaded RBI groundout in the first inning.
An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr. reached base via a one-out single and Rafael Devers followed by crushing a 387-foot two-run home run into Oakland’s bullpen. Devers’ 16th home run of the season — and fourth in his last four games — gave the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.
Xander Bogaerts led off the third inning with a hard-hit double to left field and immediately scored from second on an RBI single off the bat of Verdugo. Jarren Duran, just called up from Triple-A Worcester, led off the fourth by drawing a four-pitch walk before Devers did the same. Duran, after tagging up to third, scored on a Bogaerts sacrifice fly. Devers scored from third on a throwing error committed by Kaprielian.
On the other side of things, Josh Winckowski was in the midst of putting together a solid outing in his second career major-league start. Over five scoreless innings of work, the right-hander yielded just four hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts on the night.
Like Duran, Winckowski was recalled from Worcester on Wednesday afternoon. Despite walking the very first batter of the contest, the 23-year-old was able to work his way around some traffic on the base paths. He faced the minimum in just one of his five frames, but ultimately pitched well enough to earn his first big-league win.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (52 strikes), Winckowski induced seven total swings-and-misses and topped out at 96 mph with his sinker, a pitch he threw 35 times.
In relief of Winckowski, Jake Diekman received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora for the sixth inning and served up a two-out solo shot to the pinch-hitting Matt Davidson. But the Red Sox got that run back and one more when Verdugo cranked a two-run homer of his own in the bottom half of the inning.
Verdugo’s fourth big fly of the year — and first since April 16 — left his bat at a blistering 104.5 mph and traveled 393 feet into the Sox’ bullpen. It also put Boston up by seven runs at 8-1.
After Hirokazu Sawamura and Ryan Brasier combined for two scoreless innings out of the ‘pen, the Red Sox tacked on two more runs in their half of the eighth. Back-to-back one-out doubles from J.D. Martinez and Bogaerts pushed across the first of those two runs. Trevor Story then drove Bogaerts in from second on an RBI single to right field.
Story’s 42nd RBI of the season gave the Sox a commanding 10-1 lead. Tyler Danish closed things out in the ninth to slam the door on the A’s and preserve the victory.
Next up: Hill vs. Blackburn
The Red Sox will go for the three-game and season series sweep of the Athletics on Thursday afternoon. Former A’s left-hander Rich Hill will get the start for Boston and right-hander Paul Blackburn will do the same for Oakland.
First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Rafael Devers: Elsa/Getty Images)