RECAP: Mookie Betts Blasts Monumental Grand Slam in Tenth Straight Win for #RedSox.

Coming off a sweep of the Texas Rangers, the Red Sox welcomed the fourth place Toronto Blue Jays into town for one last series before reaching the All-Star Break. In search of their tenth consecutive victory, David Price got the nod in what was simply an important night for the left hander.

Making his 19th start of the season, and third of what has been a frustrating month of July, David Price looked for some retribution in his last appearance in this opening half of the season.

Pitching into the seventh inning of this one, the lefty surrendered three runs, all earned, on six hits while recording eight strikeouts on the night.

In what was an otherwise impressive start for Price, the only thing that truly bit him was, once again, the home run ball.

Starting in the top half of the first, he tried to sneak a 0-1 93 MPH fastball by Teoscar Hernandez with two outs in the inning. Hernandez, one of Toronto’s best power hitters, took that fastball and sent it 434 feet, the farthest hit ball of the night, to the center field bleachers, putting the Jays up 2-0 early.

After that blast, Price did settle down and retire 16 of the next 18 batters he faced going into the top half of the seventh.

To leadoff that seventh inning, Kendrys Morales greeted Price by launching another home run, this one cutting the Red Sox lead to two runs.

Again, Price bounced back by retiring the next two batters he faced before Alex Cora came to get him with a 2/2 Devon Travis due up next for the Blue Jays.

In total, the Tennessee native pitched 6.2 innings, the deepest he has gone into a game since June 26th, and did not walk, or hit, a single batter in what turned out to be his 10th winning decision of the season.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 103 (76 strikes), the 32 year-old hurler relied on his changeup the most on Thursday, as he went to it 34% of the time resulting in nine swinging strikes. He only went to his four-seam fastball a total of 12 times, and actually topped out at 93.5 MPH with his two-seamer in the third inning of his start.

Overall, putting David Price’s first half of the season into words is no easy task. We’ve seen how great he can be at times, and we have also seen how nonexistent on the mound he can be at times. For the remaining 64 games left on the schedule following the break, hopefully we see a David Price that is ready to positively contribute to a team heading towards postseason contention.

In relief of Price, Brandon Workman got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and after giving up a single to the aforementioned Devon Travis, retired the side in the top half of the seventh by getting Yangervis Solarte to line out to Mookie Betts in right field.

Over the final two innings of last night’s contest, Matt Barnes got hit decently hard by the top of the Jays lineup, as he allowed them to creep a little closer by making it a 6-4 game, but rallied with two huge strikeouts to retire the side and prevent any additional damage.

And in the ninth, on the day after recording a four-out save against the Rangers, Craig Kimbrel shut the door on Toronto in a clean frame of work, with none other than Mookie Betts, who we’ll get to momentarily, catching the final out to ensure Kimbrel’s 29th save and his team’s 66th win of the season in 6-4 fashion.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against an All-Star pitcher in the Blue Jays’ JA Happ.

Similar to Bartolo Colon, Happ, 35 has been doing this pitching thing for a while, and he proved why he is an All-Star this season by shutting down Boston’s bats over the first three innings on Thursday night.

The bottom of the fourth inning, though, well, that is where things started to drastically change for the better.

With one out in the frame and Xander Bogaerts at first following a line drive single, it appeared as if Brock Holt had grounded into a force out at second base on a failed double play by the Blue Jays. After further review however, it was determined that Toronto’s second baseman, Devon Travis, never applied the force at second, meaning Bogaerts was actually safe.

So, the Red Sox video room saw that from their vantage point, contacted the dugout, and Alex Cora ended up with a winning challenge, meaning both Bogaerts and Holt were safe with only one out in the inning.

Following that bit of craziness, an infield single from Eduardo Nunez loaded the bases for the Red Sox, and Sandy Leon came through first with an RBI force out that allowed Bogaerts to score from third.

After Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a six pitch walk to reload the bases, Mookie Betts went ahead and had one of the more dramatic at bats these eyes have seen.

Lasting 13 pitches total, Betts fouled off SEVEN pitches from Happ and watched three go for balls to eventually fill the count at 3-2.

On the 13th pitch of the endeavor, the Red Sox outfielder must have had enough, because he took a 95 MPH fastball from Happ and pulverized it 407 feet over the Green Monster for his second grand slam of the season.

Just Betts’ reaction alone is something else.

Never mind the fact that he just capped off one of, if not the best at bat of the season with a GRAND SLAM, good for his 23rd homer of the season, too.

That is how All-Stars are made, and that is how JA Happ’s night would end for Toronto in an inning he needed 46 pitches to record two outs in.

Fast forward to the seventh inning now, and it was Betts coming up big again, as he delivered what turned out to be a very important insurance run by driving in Jackie Bradley Jr. on an RBI single off the Monster, making it a 6-3 game to pretty much put this thing out of reach.

Some notes from this win:

Injury related: Steve Pearce had to exit from Thursday night’s contest after taking a 94 MPH fastball of his left shin in the first inning. He’s been diagnosed with a left shin contusion and is day-to-day.

The Red Sox have now won 10 games in a row, marking their longest such streak this season. Here are some nuggets from @SoxNotes pertaining to that streak:

At 66-29 (.695), the Red Sox are 37 games over .500 for the first time since 1949.

They are 38-15 (.717) in their last 53 games, including 17-3 (.850) in their last 20.

Boston’s 10-game winning streak is the club’s longest since September 2016 (11 games).

Just saying, but that is pretty good.

In the month of July, Mookie Betts is slashing .409/.490/.705 with three home runs and eight RBI. He is currently in the midst of a 10 game hitting streak.

Going for their 11th straight win later tonight, it will be Rick Porcello getting the ball for the Red Sox. Following a so-so outing against the Kansas City Royals this past Sunday, I’m sure Porcello will be wanting to end his first half on a positive note against a team he has pitched well against this season.

He’ll be matched up against lefty Ryan Borucki, who in his rookie year with the Blue Jays, owns a 2.25 ERA in his first three career starts.

First pitch of the second game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

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RECAP: Two RBI Each from Benintendi, Bogaerts, Bradley Jr., and Moreland Lift #RedSox to Eighth Straight Victory.

On a night they were planning to rely heavily on their bullpen due to Brian Johnson hitting the DL on Sunday, the Red Sox looked to take the series against the Texas Rangers for their eighth straight win.

Although he was not expected to pitch very deep into this game, Hector Velazquez made his first start since April 14th on Tuesday night, and despite not being totally in command, he did a solid job to start this one out.

In three frames of work, the righty scattered one run while allowing two hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night. The only real mistake Velazquez committed came in the second, when Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor smacked a 92 MPH sinker 447 feet to right field to put his team on the board first.

Other than that, Velazquez got out of another jam in the same inning, and went on to work his away around a leadoff walk in a scoreless third. So, overall, not too shabby for the 29 year-old.

Since he was limited in what he could do, Velazquez finished with a pitch count of only 47 (32 strikes) and topped out at 93.6 MPH with his four-seam fastball.

Depending on the status of Steven Wright in this next turn around the Red Sox rotation, it will be interesting to see what the team does this coming Sunday, which would be Velazquez’s, or Wright’s, next scheduled start. But, given the fact it’s the last day before the All-Star break, it would not surprise me if we had another bullpen day on our hands. We’ll have to wait for that announcement.

Anyway, in relief of Velazquez, Jalen Beeks, who was recalled from Pawtucket Tuesday morning, made his first appearance with the Red Sox since his major league debut on June 7th.

In just over two innings of work, Beeks got hit fairly hard, as the Rangers tacked on their final three runs of the night with the Arkansas native on the mound. Despite that, it could have been worse for Beeks, had he not received some serious help from Mookie Betts in the fifth…

…and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the sixth.

With one out in that sixth inning, Brandon Workman came on for Beeks with runners on second and third and a four run lead to work with.

On the fifth pitch he threw, noted slugger Joey Gallo nearly took a 93 MPH fastball from Workman and sent it out of the park. He did it 394 feet, but it was only good for a two-run double off the tallest part of the Monster in left field.

Cutting the lead to just two runs now, Workman recovered by retiring the next two batters he faced on six pitches to end the top half of the sixth.

From that point on, with the aid of an increased lead, the Red Sox bullpen was essentially money from the seventh until the last out of the ninth. Matt Barnes earned his third wining decision of the season thanks to a scoreless seventh, Joe Kelly held down the fort by tossing a scoreless eighth, and for the second straight night, the new guy, Ryan Brasier saw this win through with a scoreless final frame.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against 12-year veteran starter Yovani Gallardo for the Rangers, who entered Tuesday night with an unsightly 8.17 ERA on the season.

Six hits in the third inning is what got the scoring started for Boston, and surely enough, the five-run rally was initiated by back-to-back doubles from the 8-9 hitters in Blake Swihart and Jackie Bradley Jr. to put the first run on the board.

Two batters later, an Andrew Benintendi double to drive in Bradley from second started a string of four straight knocks for the Red Sox 2-5 hitters, including a JD Martinez single to advance Benintendi to third, a Mitch Moreland RBI single, and to cap it off, a 2 RBI triple off the bat of Xander Bogaerts to clear the bases and put Boston up 5-1.

Fast forward to the fifth now, with Gallardo still on the mound for Texas, and Mookie Betts led things off with his 25th double of the season to put a runner in scoring position right away. Following a JD Martinez walk two batters later, Mitch Moreland came through with his second RBI of the night on a sac fly hit far enough to center field to allow Betts to score from third and make it a 6-2 game.

In the next two innings, the Red Sox padded their lead, which did shrink a bit in the top half of the sixth, with a run in each frame.

First, in the bottom of the sixth, with the score at 6-4, it was the 8-9 hitters who showed up for Boston once again, as a two out Blake Swihart single set up Jackie Bradley Jr. with another RBI chance, and he capitalized on it with his second RBI double of the night.

An inning later, Andrew Benintendi padded on to his All-Star hopes by notching his 57th RBI of the season on another double to drive in Mookie Betts from first and wrapping up the scoring at 8-4.

Some notes from this win:

I failed to mention this earlier, but Blake Swihart started at catcher for only the second time this season. Given the fact that Christian Vazquez is out with a broken pinky finger for the forseeable future, Swihart will be getting a decent amount of playing time, and he impressed both behind the plate and with a bat in his hands last night.

The Red Sox are 35 games over .500 at 64-29.

From @SoxNotes: This is the Red Sox’ third win streak of 8+ games this season. It had been 40 years since they had as many as three win streaks of 8+ games in a single season (four in 1978).

In nine games this month, Andrew Benintendi has a 1.179 OPS. Today is the last day to vote for the final All-Star on each roster, so don’t forget to #VoteBenny before 4 PM on Wednesday.

redsox.com/vote

Going for their ninth consecutive victory and third straight sweep on Wednesday, it will be a pitching matchup featuring Bartolo Colon for Texas and Chris Sale for Boston.

At the age of 45, Colon owns a 4.65 ERA in 18 appearances with the Rangers in what is his 21st season in the big leagues.

He’ll be going up none other than Chris Sale, who in his last six starts, is putting up ridiculous numbers for the Red Sox en route to what could be his third straight start for the American League in this year’s All-Star Game.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

RECAP: Steve Pearce Hits First Homer in a Red Sox Uniform, JD Martinez Blasts 28th Home Run, and #RedSox Win Seventh Straight.

Coming off a road trip in which they went 7-2, the Red Sox returned to Fenway Park last night to take on the Texas Rangers, who currently sit in last place in the American League West.

Looking for his team’s seventh straight win, Eduardo Rodriguez took the mound for his 18th start of the season on Monday.

Pitching into the sixth inning of this one, the lefty held the Rangers scoreless while scattering three hits and three walks while recording five strikeouts in exactly 5.2 frames.

With another shutout performance, although it certainly was not his best, Rodriguez has now extended his scoreless innings streak to 13.2 going back to the final two innings of his start against the Yankees.

In his full two starts since then, both in July, the Venezuela native has a pitching line that looks like this: 2-0, 11.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 11 K.

It would be nice if he could consistently pitch deeper into games, but at this point, I think it’s time to accept that is not going to happen as frequently as the Red Sox would like. But when you toss back-to-back shutouts, it becomes less of an issue.

Finishing with a final high pitch count of 105 (68 strikes), Rodriguez departed from last night’s contest in the sixth after recording the first two outs of the inning and allowing two straight Rangers to reach. Out of those 105 pitches, the 25 year-old hurler went to his four-seam fastball 47% of the time, topping out at 95.5 MPH with it in the fourth inning. He’ll look to carry over this recent success in his last start before the All-Star Break, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen saw the shutout through to its completion. Heath Hembree got out of the jam in the sixth, Brandon Workman gave up a leadoff triple in the seventh but did not allow that potential run to cross the plate, Joe Kelly struck out two in the eighth, and making his Red Sox debut, Ryan Brasier tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to wrap up his new team’s 63rd win of the season. Brasier, who had not pitched in the majors since 2013, was actually responsible for eight of the 12 fastest thrown pitches all night, according to Statcast.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup needed just two swings of the bat to take care of Texas on Monday night.

The first came in the bottom half of the first inning. In his first at bat in a Red Sox uniform at Fenway Park, Steve Pearce took Rangers starter Mike Minor deep to left on a 3-2 fastball right down broadway. His fifth big fly of the season, a two-run shot, was also his first since being acquired by Boston on June 28th.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth now, with Jesse Chavez on the mound for the Rangers, and JD Martinez essentially put this game out of reach.

Following two singles from Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi to leadoff the inning, Chavez tried to sneak a 2-2 fastball on the inner half of the plate and paid for it dearly, as Martinez scorched his 28th big fly of the season 374 feet into the Monster seats, making it a 5-0 game.

Some notes from this win:

The top four hitters in the Red Sox lineup last night, Betts, Benintendi, Martinez, and Pearce, went a combined 8/16 with five RBI and five runs scored. Other than that, Sandy Leon was the only other hitter to reach base.

Speaking of Andrew Benintendi, you should be voting for him right now. If I can’t convince you, maybe Brock Holt can.

redsox.com/vote

Looking for the series win along with their eighth straight win, Hector Velazquez gets the ball for the Red Sox tonight. Making his first start since April 14th against the Orioles, he’ll be matched up against fellow Mexico native Yovani Gallardo for Texas. First pitch of the middle game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

RECAP: Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts Homer as #RedSox End Series in Seattle with a 9-3 Win.

Entering Sunday having lost their last two games against the Mariners, the Red Sox looked to even the series up before heading to Minnesota for the final leg of their road trip that starts on Tuesday.

Coming off a quality outing in his last time out against the Orioles, Eduardo Rodriguez  put together yet another solid performance on the mound yesterday afternoon. In six full innings pitched, the first time he’s gone that deep this month, the lefty surrendered two runs on six hits and one walk while notching nine strikeouts on the day.

Rodriguez’s first three innings went fairly smoothly, as he scattered two hits and that one walk while recording the first nine outs quietly, but the fourth and the fifth were a different story.

With notable slugger Nelson Cruz in for his second at bat of the day to lead off the fourth, the native of Venezuela served up a 3-2, 89 MPH two-seam fastball to the Mariners DH, and he took it 442(!) feet to left to put his team on the board. His first career hit off of Rodriguez in eight tries.

An inning later, three straight singles from the 8-9-1 hitters in the Mariners lineup loaded the bases with no outs for Jean Segura. A run came around to score when Segura grounded into a force out at second, but that was all Rodriguez gave up in an 18 pitch inning.

With his pitch count at 96 going into the bottom half of the seventh, Alex Cora must have wanted to get the most out of Rodriguez, because he came back out and proceeded to retire the side in order to end his day on a more positive note.

Now finishing with a grand total of 113 pitches (70 strikes), the 25-year-old hurler topped out at 95.1 MPH with his four-seam fastball, which he threw 29% of the time. Later improving to 9-1 on the season, Rodriguez will look to continue this successful run he’s been on as of late in his next time out, which should come against the Mariners once again back at home next weekend.

Needing nine more outs to clinch the series-split, the Red Sox bullpen, with an initial three-run lead to work with entering the bottom of the seventh, took care of business against a pesky Mariners lineup.

Bouncing back from a blown save on Friday night, Matt Barnes tossed a 1-2-3 seventh inning on 13 pitches. Making his fourth appearance of the road trip in the eighth, Brandon Workman could only record the first two outs of the inning while the Mariners plated a run. Hector Velazquez would be inserted into a bit of a jam, end the inning, and wrap this thing up by pitching a scoreless final frame with a pure display of athleticism on the final out. 49th win of the season secured.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup rebounded from getting shutout on Saturday night in a big way.

In the third, after Leake had retired the first two batters he faced, two singles from Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts and a JD Martinez walk loaded the bases for Mitch Moreland.

Entering yesterday’s contest 1-for-his-last-18, the first baseman broke out of that slump by ripping a two-run single to center field to put the Red Sox on top early.

Having just seen his 10-game hitting streak come to an end the day before, Rafael Devers followed up that Moreland RBI knock by mashing his 11th home run of the season to right field.

408 feet with an exit velocity of 106 MPH on that one for Devers, in the place where he hit his first career homer as well.

Fast forward to the seventh and the Red Sox bats struck again, this time for three runs on two home runs.

Leading off the inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. took M’s reliever Chasen Bradford yard for his fourth big fly of the season.

And three batters later, after Andrew Benintendi singled before him, Xander Bogaerts stayed hot by launching his third home run in his last four games to pretty much put this thing out of reach. 436 feet, 109 MPH exit velo. on the shortstop’s 12th long ball of the season.

One note from this win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox improve to 13-1 in Eduardo Rodriguez’s starts this season. Rodriguez is 9-1 with a 3.59 ERA, including 6-0 with a 2.29 ERA in his last 6 starts.

With an off day today in Minnesota, the Red Sox will look to take advantage of below-average Twins team starting tomorrow. The last time Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello were lined up to pitch in the same series, the Red Sox dropped two out of three to the White Sox. This time though, they’ll be looking for different results against another AL Central team. Chris Sale gets the ball in the series opener, as does Jose Berrios for the Twins, with first pitch scheduled for 8:10 PM ET on Tuesday.