A day after dropping a close game to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, the Red Sox did not look much better on Saturday. Although the game was tied up until the top of the sixth inning, the Rays found a way to run away and hide with this one. And for the second time in less than a week, the Red Sox find themselves in the midst of a losing streak, technically.
David Price made his sixth start of the season this afternoon, and he, like Drew Pomeranz on Friday night, was hurt by the home run ball, but not in the conventional way. In fact, the first two runs the Rays scored in the second inning came on an inside the park home run off the bat of Denard Span.
A bad hop seemed to have fooled Jackie Bradley Jr., and that’s how Span managed to score so easily. It was originally ruled a three-base error, but the scorers changed their mind soon after that.
The Rays tacked on another two runs in the third on a legitimate two run home run. This one coming off Wilson Ramos’ bat to put the Rays up 4-2.
Over the next three innings, Price would be charged with one earned run and one unearned run. The first of those came on a bases loaded walk to Daniel Robertson in the fifth, and the second came after he was already out of the game. After Adeiny Hechavarria led the sixth inning off with a single and David Price was removed after getting the first two outs of the inning, it would be Heath Hembree who got the call to end things in the inning.
Unfortunately, Hembree allowed Hechavarria to score and that closed the book on David Price’s day, The lefty finished with a line of 5.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R (5 ER), 4 BB, and 5 K’s. That marks two straight sort of uncharacteristic starts for Price, as he gave up nine hits and four runs last Sunday in Oakland. He’ll look to bounce back next week when the Red Sox take on the Texas Rangers in Arlington.
Back to Heath Hembree, after putting together an impressive outing on Friday night, the righty could not do much right on Saturday. The righty allowed four of the five batters he faced to reach base, including a home run off the bat of Carlos Gomez, and could only record one out, that being the final out of the sixth inning. Matt Barnes would take over for him with runners on first and second and no outs in the inning.
Luckily, Barnes had what was the best performance out of a Red Sox pitcher on Saturday, as he retired all three batters he faced to go along with two strikeouts. That made way for Brian Johnson to start things in the eighth inning, and that’s when things really got away from the Red Sox.
In two innings pitched, the lefty surrendered five runs on seven hits, one of those being a three-run home run in the ninth inning. That put the 12th run of the game on the board for the Rays, and that pretty much killed any chances at a comeback. So, all in all, not a great night for the Red Sox pitching staff, as those 12 runs scored against them is a season high.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup could manage just six runs in this one. That may seem like a high enough number to get the win, but I think they could have scored more off Rays starter Yonny Chirinos. It was a back and forth kind of game for the first five innings, but then things fell apart in the sixth.
Xander Bogaerts drove in the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly in the first. That gave the Red Sox the early lead, but it would be short-lived. Bogaerts would go on to collect another RBI with a single in the third, and Hanley Ramirez would do the same with an RBI single in the fourth. Rafael Devers had the biggest day out of anyone in the Red Sox lineup, as he collected a team best two RBIs, including a solo home run in the fifth inning, his fourth of the season.
That home run looked like it could be meaningful at the time, but like I said, things fell apart for the Red Sox after they took their at bats in the fifth. Devers would go on to collect another RBI in the ninth. He is now in a tie with JD Martinez for the team lead in RBIs with 20 of them on the season.
So where do the Red Sox go from here, coming off their fifth loss in their last seven games? Well, taking the finale against the Rays today would be great, and then the Kansas City Royals come to town for three games before this homestand ends.
Rick Porcello gets the start later today against Rays righty Matt Andriese. Hopefully Mookie Betts will be alright after he exited yesterday’s game with tightness in his right hamstring. First pitch is at 1:05 PM, if the rain holds up.