RECAP: Brian Johnson Struggles as #RedSox Drop Series Finale to White Sox in 8-0 Loss.

On a humid afternoon in Chicago where the White Sox honored legendary commentator Ken “The Hawk” Harrleson with a touching pregame ceremony, the Red Sox, a former team of Harrelson’s during his playing career, looked absolutely lifeless this afternoon.

Let’s get into where things went wrong.

Making his 12th start of the season on Sunday was Brian Johnson, who before today, had never faced the White Sox nor pitched at Guaranteed Rate Field in his three-year career.

Right from the get go, it was clear Chicago had the left-hander’s number, because they came out swinging early and they were making hard contact.

Only able to pitch into the second inning of this one, Johnson surrendered four runs, all earned, on seven hits and one walk to go along with two punch outs on the afternoon.

A pair of runs in the first on a Tim Anderson solo home run and Kevan Smith RBI single another pair of runs in the second on a two RBI double off the bat of Matt Davidson. That is how the White Sox collected all four runs off of Johnson, and his day would come to an end after giving up that Davidson two-bagger.

Facing 12 total batters, the Florida native could barely manage to record four outs before he got the hook with one out and a runner on second in favor of Bobby Poyner.

Finishing with a final low pitch count of 38 (28 strikes), Johnson relied on his four-seam fastball 50% of the time and topped out at 90.3 MPH with that same pitch in the first inning.

Falling to 4-4 with a 4.36 ERA on the season now, the 27-year-old will look to rebound from an awry start to September in his next time out, which should come against the Houston Astros next weekend.

In relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen had a daunting talk on their hands in completing nearly seven innings to close this one out.

Three September call-ups, Bobby Poyner, William Cuevas, and Robby Scott combined for five-and-two-thirds innings of work, and they gave up three earned runs on six hits, which essentially put this game out of reach for the Red Sox.

Oddly enough, White Sox outfielder Daniel Palka ended up hitting a solo home run off of Cuevas in the fourth after it looked like he initially homered earlier in the same at bat, but it was ruled foul.

Despite the results, Scott, who was inserted into this contest after Cuevas had to exit due to a heat-related illness, was the only Boston hurler to not surrender a run, so credit to him for that I guess.

Hector Velazquez was last up, and he allowed one run to cross the plate on two hits in the bottom half of the eighth. He has now given up runs in six of his last seven outings dating back to the beginning of August, although three of those were starts.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar opponent in Chicago’s James Shields.

Having already faced Boston 28 previous times over his 13-year career between the Rays, Royals, Padres, and now the White Sox, Shields had himself a solid day with six scoreless frames on Sunday.

Only managing four hits and two walks off the veteran right-hander, things did not get much better once the White Sox bullpen took over in the seventh, as Boston’s lineup could scrape together just one hit in the final three frames against the likes of Caleb Frare, Juan Minaya, and Hector Santiago.

One note from this 8-0 loss: 

80% of the Red Sox’s hits on Sunday came from Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez. Blake Swihart was responsible for the other one. None of the five hits went for extra bases.

All and all, the White Sox were tough opponent for the Red Sox this year, as they came away with the season-series win at 4-3.

Leaving the Windy City with a series-split under their belts, Boston will head south to Atlanta where they will be taking on a first place Atlanta Braves team.

Getting the start in the series opener tomorrow afternoon will be Nathan Eovaldi, who is able to pitch on such short rest because of that weather-shortened outing on Friday.

In 13 career starts against the Braves, Eovaldi has posted a solid 2.82 ERA and .235 BAA over 83 innings pitched.

Opposite Eovaldi will be rookie right-hander Touki Toussaint for Atlanta, who tossed six one-run innings against the Miami Marlins in his only other big league start back on August 13th.

First pitch of the series opener is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.

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RECAP: Eduardo Nunez Walks It off in the Ninth as #RedSox Bounce Back Multiple Times to Put an End to Losing Streak.

Coming off their worst weekend of the season and an off-day on Monday, the Red Sox welcomed the National League East’s Miami Marlins into town for a quick two-game interleague series before heading back out on the road later this week.

Getting the start for Boston in this opening game was Brian Johnson, his 11th of the season, who also started against the Marlins back on April 2nd, where he allowed just one run to score in six quality innings of work in a 7-3 win for Boston.

Only pitching into the fifth in this one, the left-hander once again gave up one run while scattering five hits and a lone walk to go along with three punch outs on the night.

What cost Johnson that one earned run came in the top half of the third, when with one out and the bases empty, Marlins rookie outfielder Isaac Galloway launched his second home run of the season to pull this game even at one run a piece.

Other than that, the Florida native certainly dealt with a fair amount of traffic on the base paths, but he did a solid job of limiting what the Marlins could get off him. Especially when you consider that Starlin Castro led the fourth inning off with a triple and could not come around to score.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 73 (44 strikes), Johnson’s night came to a conclusion after giving up a one out single to Rafael Ortega.

Out of those 73 pitches, the 27-year-old relied on his four-seam fastball 48% of the time on Tuesday and topped out at 91.9 MPH with that same pitch in the first inning.

Unable to pick up the win due to the length of his outing and the fact that the Red Sox had a bit of a meltdown later on, Johnson will look to build on this so-so start in his next time out, which will be coming against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

In relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen had themselves a night to forget from the eighth inning on.

Up until that point, Brandon Workman, with the help of Blake Swihart, and Joe Kelly looked decent in their combined 2.2 scoreless frames of relief.

Once Matt Barnes took the mound to begin the eighth though, well, let’s just say things got ugly real quick.

Entering the inning with a 4-1 lead, Barnes allowed two of the first three hitters he faced to reach, including back-to-back homers off the bats of JT Realmuto and Starlin Castro to pull the Marlins back to even.

Six batters and one pitching change later, with the bases loaded and Heath Hembree in for Barnes, it was Rafael Ortega who struck again, as his one out, two RBI single gave his club a brand new 6-4 lead before the side was retired.

In the ninth, moments after the Red Sox had jumped out to a one-run lead of their own, Craig Kimbrel could not shut the door on the Marlins.

Nope, he allowed three of the six batters he faced to reach, which led to Miami scoring what looked to be the go-ahead run on a Magneuris Sierra RBI single. Just demoralizing.

Thanks to efforts from his team in the bottom half of the inning though, Kimbrel did manage to notch his fourth winning decision of the season while also collecting his fourth blown save. Granted, he has not pitched much recently, but it’s still not a great look.

To summarize, here’s the final pitching line from Red Sox relievers after the seventh inning:

2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 HR. That’s a 27.00 ERA, which is far from ideal.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Marlins right-hander Jose Urena, who held Boston to one run in seven innings in his only other start against them back on April 3rd. That is not how things went on August 28th, though.

Starting the long night of scoring was Ian Kinsler, whose one out RBI single to plate Xander Bogaerts from third put the Red Sox on the board first.

An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts both reached base to leadoff the third, which set up Andrew Benintendi for an ideal scoring spot.

On a 1-2 96 MPH fastball from Urena, Benintendi ripped a RBI double to right field, driving in Bradley Jr. to retake the lead at 2-1.

With Mookie Betts advancing to third on the play, Xander Bogaerts was able to score the outfielder on a sacrifice fly to left. 3-1.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, and Eduardo Nunez made some noise by mashing his eight big fly of the year, a 380 foot shot hit just over the top of the Green Monster to increase his team’s lead to three runs.

After Miami went off for five runs in their half of the eighth, the Red Sox responded right away with a rally of their own in their half of the same inning.

With hard-throwing reliever Tayron Guerrero on the mound for the Marlins, three of the first four Boston hitters reached to load the bases with one out for Blake Swihart, who struck out on six pitches.

Fortunately, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through big time, as with the count full, he delivered with a two RBI single to drive in a pair of runs to tie this game up.

Next up was Mookie Betts, who came to the plate with runners on the corners and got ahead in the count against Guerrero at 3-1.

On the very next pitch of the at bat, Guerrero sailed a 98 MPH fastball right over Betts’ head and that allowed Ian Kinsler to slide in and score what appeared to be the run that would finally put an end to this losing streak.

That would not be the case however, and it was not until with one out in the ninth and runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth where this marathon of a game would finally come to an end.

With Drew Steckenrider pitching, Eduardo Nunez came to the plate with one big hit under his belt already, and he came up clutch without recording a base knock in his final at bat.

 

Yup, a game-winning force out that probably should have been an inning-ending double play but was not because of a throwing error committed by JT Riddle at shortstop.

With the ball rolling all the way to the camera well, JD Martinez had no problem scoring from second, and just like that, this game was over.

A fitting end to a game as ugly as this one, but nonetheless, the Red Sox losing streak has come to an end at three. They remain as the only team this season to have yet drop four consecutive contests.

Some notes from this 8-7 win:

Including last night, JD Martinez is slashing .405/.488/.568 with one home run and six RBI.

Dating back to July 27th, Craig Kimbrel has surrendered runs in five of his last 10 relief appearances and owns a 5.23 ERA over that span.

In his last 10 appearances, Matt Barnes has given up 10 earned runs in only 9.1 innings pitched.

Heath Hembree has allowed eight runs to cross the plate (six earned) on 10 hits in his last 7.1 innings of work going back to the fifth of August.

In hopes of picking up the quick two-game sweep later tonight, it will be the red-hot David Price toeing the rubber for the Red Sox.

Since the All-Star break, Price owns a 1.09 ERA over his last six starts. The Red Sox are also unbeaten in Price’s last eight starts.

Only making four starts against the Marlins in his 11-year career, the recently turned 33-year-old hurler owns a 3.42 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched to go along with a 1-3 record in those outings.

Opposite Price will be rookie right-hander Trevor Richards for Miami, who made his first career big league start against the Red Sox on April 2nd, where, in less than five innings pitched, he surrendered five earned runs on eight hits in a losing effort.

Since then, Richards has had a solid rookie campaign for himself, as he owns a 3.94 ERA and .250 BAA in 17 starts and 91.1 innings pitched.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 6:35 PM ET Wednesday.

RECAP: Xander Bogaerts Homers Twice as #RedSox Halt Losing Streak at Three in 10-4 Win over Indians.

Everybody, take a deep breath and relax, the three-game losing streak the Red Sox had is over. Let’s get into how they got it done.

Looking to avoid their first four-game losing streak since last season, the Red Sox turned to Brian Johnson against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.

Making his 10th start of the season and first ever against the Indians in his three-year career, Johnson had himself a so-so evening on the mound.

Pitching into the fifth inning of this one, the left-hander surrendered three earned runs on five hits, one walk, and one HBP to go along with three punch outs.

In those near five-frames of work, Johnson was greeted right away by the top of the Indians lineup in a not so pleasant manner, as Francisco Lindor ripped a leadoff double in the top half of the first, which was followed up by a two-run home run off the bat of the just-activated Edwin Encarnacion, who has a history of dominating at Fenway Park, to make it a 2-0 game early.

Fortunately, the Florida native settled down a bit and held the Tribe scoreless up until the fifth inning, when six of the first eight pitches he threw went for balls against Lindor and Michael Brantley.

With one out and Lindor at first, Johnson’s night would come to a rather short conclusion just 82 pitches into his outing.

Out of those 82 pitches (51 strikes), the 27-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball, a pitch he topped out at 92.7 MPH with, 37 times on the night. And that resulted in five total swinging strikes.

Unable to pick up the winning decision because of the length of his start, Johnson will look build on this outing in his next time out, which should come against the Miami Marlins sometime next week.

In relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen had another decently long night ahead, and Heath Hembree was the one to get the first call.

Able to get out of the fifth, but not before serving up another two-run dinger to Edwin Encarnacion to both close the book on Johnson’s night and cut his team’s lead down to two runs, Hembree struck out the final batter he faced in Yandy Diaz to retire the side.

From that point forward, Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, who picked up the win, Joe Kelly, and Ryan Brasier held down the fort while the Red Sox extended their lead in a combined effort that consisted of four scoreless frames to wrap up the team’s 89th win of the year.

Shoutout to Jackie Bradley Jr. for this fine outfield assist in the sixth that nabbed Yan Gomes trying to turn a single into a double as well.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who entered Wednesday with a 7.07 ERA in four career appearances at Fenway Park. Those struggles continued once again last night.

Starting right away in the first, minutes after the Tribe had jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, JD Martinez cut that in half by driving in his 107th run of the season on a two out RBI single that plated Andrew Benintendi from third.

Fast forward to the fourth, and in what turned out to be a five-run inning, it was a Xander Bogaerts one out solo home run that got the rally started.

Eventually chasing Carrasco out of this game in the same inning, additional RBI knocks from the likes of Blake Swihart and Andrew Benintendi, who cleared the bases on a two out three RBI double, mixed in with three more hits and two walks, saw Boston go from trailing to jumping out to a 6-2 advantage in a matter of minutes.

Two innings later, after the Indians had made things interesting again thanks to Encarnacion’s second home run, Mitch Moreland essentially put this game to bed by mashing a two-run homer off of Dan Otero in the sixth.

A two-run shot that scored Jackie Bradley Jr. from third along with Moreland, was good for the first baseman’s 15th big fly of the season.

In the seventh, Bogaerts struck again by blasting his second homer of the evening to leadoff the inning against Otero.

That home run, Bogaerts’ 19th of the year, upped the Aruba native’s RBI total to 80.

Finally, after failing to get to Indians closer Cody Allen on Monday, JD Martinez put the final nail in the coffin of this one in the eighth with an RBI single, his 108th, to score Jackie Bradley Jr. from second and plate Boston’s 10th and final run of the night.

And there you have it, the three-game losing streak is over. Back to 50 games over .500.

Some notes from this win:

Per @Indians, Edwin Encarnacion’s last three games at Fenway Park: .500 BA (6-12), 5 HR, 10 RBI. Preposterous numbers.

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox remain the only team without a losing streak of 4+ games this season.

Xander Bogaerts’ last multi-homer game took place on June 18th, 2017 against the Houston Astros.

Going for the series-split later this afternoon, it will be David Price getting the ball for the Red Sox.

Owning a solid 2.24 ERA in 14 career starts against the Indians, Price has been on fire since the All-Star break.

Over his last five outings, the left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA and .210 BAA in 33.1 innings pitched.

Opposite Price will be another rookie starter for Cleveland in RHP Adam Plutko, who has never faced the Red Sox nor pitched at Fenway Park in his young career.

On the season as a whole, Plutko, 26, owns a 4.62 over ten games, seven of which were starts.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET Thursday.

RECAP: Chris Sale Dazzles in Return from DL as #RedSox Complete Four-Game Sweep of Orioles in Three Days.

Less than 24 hours after sweeping the Orioles in a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, the Red Sox were looking for the real four-game sweep this afternoon to head into an off day on a positive note.

Making his 23rd start of the season and first since July 27th due to a 10-day disabled list stint caused by left shoulder inflammation, Chris Sale picked off right where he left off and flat dominated at Camden Yards on Sunday.

Granted, it was against a last place Orioles team, but still, for not pitching in a big league game for over two weeks, Sale really did pick up right where he left off in this one.

Pitching five complete frames, the left-hander held Baltimore scoreless on one hit, a single, while not walking a single batter on the afternoon.

The most incredible part of this Sale start, at least for me, had to be the number of strikeouts.

As he faced 16 total Orioles through those five scoreless innings, Sale managed to punch out 12(!!!). 12! In five innings! That’s 80% of the outs he recorded. All done with just 68 pitches. Truly surreal.

Out of those 68 pitches thrown, 48 of which were strikes, the Florida native induced 15 total swings and misses on the day.while

Relying on his four-seam fastball 31 times, the seven-time All Star topped out at 99.7 MPH with it in the third inning. Another sign that Sale’s left shoulder is feeling quite fine.

Alex Cora made it clear following the game that Sale was going to be limited to 75 pitches no matter what happened. And given the fact he completed five innings in such a convincing fashion with those 68 pitches, it makes sense why they did not want to put him back out there only to have him not finish the sixth.

It’s also worth noting that this was the 29-year-old’s first in-game action this month, so easing him back into things isn’t such a bad plan either.

Regardless, Sale maintained the stellar form he has put on display time in and time out this season, and because of that, he increased his scoreless innings streak up to 28 dating back to July 6th.

Including today, Sale owns a nice 0.69 ERA over his last 10 starts with 109 strikeouts in 65 innings pitched over that span. He has not given up a home run in a start since the first day of June.

As he improved to 12-4 on the season, the lanky lefty will look to build on an impressive return to the rotation in his next time out, which should come sometime next week against either the Tampa Bay Rays or Cleveland Indians, depending on how the upcoming off days impact pitching matchups.

In relief of Sale, the Red bullpen was once gain turned to at a rather early spot starting in the sixth inning.

  • Tyler Thornburg entered in a 2-0 game and retired the first two batters he faced, but followed that up by loading the bases on a single and two walks in a frame he was unable to finish. Out of the 24 pitches Thornburg threw, 10 went for strikes. That is not good.
  • Ryan Brasier would have to come on and attempt to get out of the jam Thornburg had created, and he managed by getting Trey Mancini to strikeout in a nerve-wracking seven pitch at bat that ended the inning and left the bases juiced.
  • Brian Johnson, despite moving up to the rotation earlier in the week, got the call for the seventh, and he needed just 16 pitches to work his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise scoreless frame of work.
  • Matt Barnes’ August struggles continued in the eighth, as he allowed three of the first four Orioles he faced to reach and load the bases in a two-run game. Fortunately, after surrendering Baltimore’s lone run on a Trey Mancini sacrifice fly, the UCONN product buckled down and fanned Tim Beckham on four pitches to retire the side.
  • Finally, Craig Kimbrel came on for the save in the ninth with a brand new three run lead to work with. He too continued some recent struggles by allowing the tying run to come to the plate with runners on first and second, but struck out the final pair of Orioles hitters he faced to notch his 35th save and secure his team’s 85th win of 2018.

So, over the past three days/four games, Red Sox relievers has been responsible for 19.2 innings pitched out of the bullpen en route to the four-game sweep. Having two off days in the next four days will certainly come in handy to get those guys some rest.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Orioles RHP Alex Cobb.

Despite the rough first year he has had in Baltimore, Cobb was certainly more reminiscent of his days with the Tampa Bay Rays in one of his better outings of the season on Sunday.

Starting the scoring right away in the top half of the first was none other than Steve Pearce, who greeted Cobb by mashing a solo shot to left field to give the Red Sox an early advantage. Yet another big fly off a former team for Pearce, his 10th of the year.

Fast forward to the fourth, and a leadoff double off the bat of Brock Holt would turn into Boston second’s run of the afternoon thanks to a fielding error in right field on a JD Martinez single. Despite Holt coming in to score on the E9 committed by Adam Jones, Martinez was not credited with an RBI on the play.

Five innings later and going into the ninth with a one-run lead, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts provided some late game insurance with a pair of RBI base knocks.

Bradley Jr. drove in Eduardo Nunez, who technically got the rally started with a leadoff single off of O’s reliever Mychal Givens, from second to make it a 3-1 game.

In the very next at bat, Mookie Betts, in a 2-0 hitter’s count, ripped an RBI double off of Givens to score Bradley Jr. all the way from first and extend his hitting streak to eight games.

4-1 on Betts’ 63rd RBI of the season, which would turn out to be the final score in favor of the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon.

Some notes from this win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox’ 85 wins are their most ever through 120 games. They are 50 games above .500 for the first time since 1946.

Another one from @SoxNotes: Chris Sale has a 0.20 ERA in his last 7 starts (44.0 IP, 1 R). According to , that is the lowest ERA by a Red Sox pitcher over any 7-start span since earned runs became an official stat in 1913. In those 7 starts, Sale has 79 K and 6 BB.

At 85-35, the Red Sox will head to Philadelphia via train for a quick two-game set against the Phillies that begins on Tuesday.

Rick Porcello and Nathan Eovaldi will get the starting nod for Boston in those two interleague contests, as they will be matched up against RHPs Nick Pivetta and Vince Velazquez in that order.

First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET on Tuesday.

 

Drew Pomeranz Is Headed to the #RedSox Bullpen, for Now.

Hours before the Red Sox take on the Toronto Blue Jays looking for their seventh consecutive win, Manager Alex Cora announced that left-hander Drew Pomeranz will now assume a reliever role with the club.

This move does not come as a surprise to many, as Pomeranz has not looked quite like himself in the three starts he has made since being activated from the 10-day disabled list on July 24th.

Over that span, the lefty has surrendered eight earned runs on 14 hits and 11 walks in 14.1 innings pitched, good for an ERA of 5.02 and an OPS against of .894. Not great.

The Red Sox are 1-2 in those three Pomeranz starts and 5-6 in his starts dating back to April 20th.

Although this decision may be discouraging for the soon to be free agent, the numbers say that, over his eight-year career between the Rockies, Athletics, Padres, and Red Sox, Pomeranz has actually been more efficient out of the bullpen.

In 59 career appearances as a reliever, Pomeranz owns a 2.10 ERA in 64 innings pitched. Compare that to a 4.04 ERA in 122 career starts, and perhaps this role will benefit the native of Tennessee.

The last time Pomeranz pitched out of the Red Sox bullpen came during the 2016 ALDS, when in two appearances against the Indians, the 29-year-old hurler allowed two earned runs over 4.1 total innings pitched.

There is still a chance that Pomeranz gets designated for assignment though, as roster spots will need to be made available for the likes of Blake Swihart, Ian Kinsler, and Chris Sale in the coming days.

Alex Cora also announced Thursday that Brian Johnson will maintain his spot in the Red Sox rotation.

Chris Sale is still scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale against the Orioles in Baltimore, per The Boston Globe.

RECAP: Rafael Devers Homers in Return from Disabled List as #RedSox Remain Unbeaten in August.

On the night following a 10-7 win despite a disappointing performance from Drew Pomeranz, the Red Sox hung another 10 runs on the Blue Jays while Wednesday’s starter Brian Johnson had himself a much better time on the mound at Rogers Centre.

Making his eighth start of the season and pitching north of the border for the first time since he took the loss on a Luke Maile walk-off home run on May 11th, Johnson breezed through the first five innings of this one.

Retiring 15 of the first 18 batters he faced while holding the Jays scoreless, it looked as though the lefty was going to cruise to his third winning decision on Wednesday night.

It turned out that way in the end, but not before the Blue Jays gave Johnson a fair amount of trouble in both the sixth and seventh innings.

Starting in that sixth inning, a two-run home run off the bat of Teoscar Hernandez, who has now hit seven homers in 19 career games against the Red Sox, that was preceded by a Justin Smoak single gave Toronto their first two runs of the contest.

An inning later, which is the furthest Johnson has pitched into a big league game since last May, another home run, this one good for three runs off the bat of Randal Grichuk cut Boston’s lead in half and ended Johnson’s night on a rather sour note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (67 strikes), the former Florida Gator relied on his offspeed curveball heavily on Wednesday, as he went to it 44% of the time he was on the mound. His four-seam fastball, a pitch Johnson went to 40 times, topped out at 90.1 MPH in the second inning. Both home runs given up were a result of 86 and 87 MPH fastballs.

As he did end up improving to 3-3 on the season despite the five runs given up for the second consecutive outing, I would assume that Johnson will be able to maintain his spot in the rotation and make another start against the Philadelphia Phillies next week.

In relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen, fresh off more than five innings of work on Tuesday, did not need to be turned to that frequently last night.

Both Ryan Brasier and Joe Kelly tossed scoreless frames of work in the 10-5 win. Brasier worked his way around two base runners to retire the side in the eighth, and Joe Kelly did the same in the ninth to wrap up his team’s 81st win of the year.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was mas matched up against a 28-year-old rookie right-handed pitcher in Toronto’s Mike Hauschild.

Hauschild, making his first career big league start, managed to hold Boston scoreless through the first two innings, but things really blew up on him starting in the third.

Rafael Devers, who was making his first start since being activated from the 10-day disabled list earlier in the day, got a four-run rally started by reaching second on a leadoff double.

One walk of Sandy Leon and one Mookie Betts HBP later to load the bases, Andrew Benintendi put the Red Sox on the board with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Devers from third with ease.

Mitch Moreland, fresh off a four RBI night on Tuesday, followed that up by ripping another double off the wall in center field to drive in both Leon and Devers and make it a 3-0 game.

Following a JD Martinez single that advanced Moreland to third and a Blue Jays pitching change that saw Luis Santos take over for Hauschild, Xander Bogaerts capped off the early rally with another sac fly to right field that allowed Moreland to score from third. 4-0.

In the fifth, Bogaerts came through again with runners in scoring position, as he drew a bases loaded walk from Santos that let Mookie Betts, who led the inning off with a single, plate Boston’s fifth run.

An inning later, Rafael Devers put on exclamation point in his first game back from injury by blasting a 2-2 slider from new Jays reliever Jake Petricka 425 feet into the left field seats. Devers’ 16th big fly of the season was good for two and had an exit velocity of over 109 MPH, the second hardest hit ball of the evening.

Fast forward a bit to the seventh, and back-to-back doubles from JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts plated Boston’s eighth run while Bogaerts was able to pick up his third RBI of the contest.

Finally, in the ninth, JD Martinez capped off what was another offensive onslaught from the Red Sox lineup by driving in Sandy Leon from second on a two out RBI single, his league-leading 98th of the season. Andrew Benintendi also came around to score in the inning thanks to a wild pitch from Toronto reliever Joe Biagini to plate his team’s 10th and last run of the night.

Some notes from this win: 

During his current seven-game hitting streak, JD Martinez is slashing .464/.559/.893 with one home run and nine RBI over that span.

From @MLBStatoftheDay: The are the 7th AL team EVER to win at least 81 of their first 115 games.

At 81-34, the Red Sox have won their last six games, all of which have come in August, 10 out of their last 11, and 25 of their last 30. Their winning percentage on the season is a robust .704.

Going for the series win later tonight, it will be Rick Porcello getting the ball for the Red Sox against Blue Jays rookie southpaw Ryan Borucki.

Coming off perhaps the best start of his career last Friday against the New York Yankees in which he tossed nine innings of one run ball, Porcello will be in search of his 15th win of the season on Thursday.

Opposite Porcello will be Ryan Borucki, who also matched up against the righty in his last start against Boston on July 13th, a start in which he surrendered seven runs (four earned) on eight hits and four walks in what turned out to be a 13-7 win for Toronto.

The Red Sox are red-hot and first pitch of the series finale at Rogers Centre is once again scheduled for 7:07 PM ET Thursday.

 

RECAP: Steve Pearce Launches Three Homers and Drives in Six Runs as #RedSox Steamroll over Yankees in 15-7 Series Opening Win.

In an exciting game that had just about everything a baseball fan could ask for on Thursday night, it was the Red Sox, despite a rather slow start, who had their way with the New York Yankees in the first game of a four-game weekend series.

Yes, the early performances from Brian Johnson and Boston’s lineup would lead you to believe the Red Sox would have to fight their way to a potential win last night, but an eight run fourth inning really turned this game on its head.

Speaking of Johnson, the lefty made his first career start against the Yankees on Thursday, as he filled in for Chris Sale, who is currently on the 10-day disabled list.

Pitching five full innings, Johnson was certainly not at his best in his seventh start of the season, but he didn’t need to be.

Starting right away in the top of the first, the Florida native allowed the first three batters he faced, including a three-run blast off the bat of Didi Gregorius to put the Yankees up 3-0 early.

An inning later, another home run, this one coming from Aaron Hicks with two outs in the second, tacked on another run to New York’s lead, and the Red Sox found themselves trailing by four before they even took their second set of at bats.

Fortunately, Johnson settled down a bit from that point up until the middle of the fifth when he served up another homer to Gregorius to lead off the inning. By the time that happened though, the Red Sox had already jumped up to a 10-4 lead, so it’s not like it had that big of an impact on the final result.

Able to pick up his first winning decision since April 2nd, the 27 year-old hurler ended his so-so night by striking out the final three batters he faced to up his total to 11 on the night, setting a new career-high with that mark.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 104 (65 strikes), Johnson relied on his four-seam fastball 45 times last night, and topped out at 91.4 MPH with it on his 87th pitch of the game.

If Sale is able to make his next start in Toronto next week, I can’t imagine there would be a reason to keep Johnson in the rotation. We’ll have to wait and see on that.

Anyway, in relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen began their night with a six run lead to protect in the sixth.

Brandon Workman made his first appearance with the big league club since being recalled from Triple A Pawtucket on Tuesday, and he surrendered a Giancarlo Stanton mammoth shot of a solo home run in what was an otherwise clean two innings of work. He also received some help from Ian Kinsler with two fantastic plays at second in the seventh.

Joe Kelly was next up in the eighth, and although his old friend Tyler Austin was nowhere to be found, the righty reliever looked decently dominant in an eight pitch 1-2-3 frame of work.

Finally, Ryan Brasier came on to close this thing out, and despite trimming the Yankees deficit to eight runs, managed to hold on to record the final out of the night and secure his team’s 76th win of the season.

On the other side of things, where do I even begin? Holy moly, what a night it was for just about everyone who swung a bat for the Red Sox on Thursday.

Facing off against an opponent they usually struggle against in the Yankees’ CC Sabathia, Mookie Betts, who entered last night in a 10/48 skid since the All-Star break, got the scoring started for Boston by drawing a two out bases loaded walk in the second to cut New York’s lead down to three.

In the third, Steve Pearce pulled his team a little closer by blasting his first of three home runs on the night in what would end up being Sabathia’s final frame after he had already walked four batters in a rather short period of time.

Big mistake there by Aaron Boone and the Yankees, because my god, did the Red Sox lineup go off in the fourth.

Before an out could even be recorded by Yanks reliever Jonathan Holder, Boston sent seven men to the plate, which resulted in a brand new 8-4 lead and one hell of a play at home courtesy of Jackie Bradley Jr. on an Andrew Benintendi fielder’s choice.

Steve Pearce’s second home run of the night, a three-run shot, was part of this barrage as well.

Once Chad Green came in for Holder, who, again, failed to record a single out, more RBI knocks from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi scored the seventh and eighth runs in what will more than likely go down as the most exciting inning of the season.

Over the next two innings, an RBI double from Ian Kinsler in the fifth put the Red Sox up 11-5, and in the sixth, another RBI two bagger off the bat of Andrew Benintendi increased the Red Sox lead to 12-5.

One batter later, Steve Pearce put the exclamation point on his incredible night by mashing his third big fly of the game off of Luis Cessa to complete the hat trick and put his team’s 14th and final run of the contest on the board. Here are all three homers in one convenient video.

In total, Red Sox hitters reached base 25 times on Thursday, which resulted in a season-high tying 15 runs crossing the plate. The team also hit .375 (9/24) with runners in scoring position.

Some other notes from this win:

Injury related: Blake Swihart would have to leave this game with right hamstring tightness in the sixth inning. He has been ruled day-to-day.

Mookie Betts broke out of his little slump in a big way last night, as he reached base SIX times by himself in six tries.

In his first taste of the rivalry, Ian Kinsler went 3/6 with two RBI and two defensive gems at second base.

Steve Pearce, in 59 career games against the Yankees, is slashing .294/.385/.586 with 13 HR and 29 RBI, which are the most he has against any individual team.

From @SoxNotes: Steve Pearce is the 3rd Red Sox player ever to hit 3 HR in a game against the Yankees, joining Kevin Millar (7/23/2004) and Mo Vaughn (5/30/1997).

Another one from @SoxNotes: The Red Sox are 6.5 games ahead of the Yankees, their largest lead in the AL East since September 2013.

The Sox are 20-5 in their last 25 games. They lead the majors in win % (.691, 76-34), runs per game (5.34), stolen bases (86), AVG (.270), and OPS (.796).

Having won the series opener in convincing fashion, the Yankees and Red Sox will be back it at later tonight in a pitching matchup featuring two different types of right-handers.

For the Yankees, it will be Luis Severino, a power arm, and for the Red Sox, Rick Porcello, who relies less on his velocity, gets the nod for game two.

Despite the ace status, Severino has had his fair share of struggles lately, as he owns a 8.84 ERA in his last four outings for New York.

Rick Porcello, who has posted a 3.31 ERA in 20 career starts against the Yankees, is coming off an appearance in which he surrendered four earned runs in less than six innings pitched against the Minnesota Twins on July 28th.

Not expecting another blowout in this one, but it should still be an entertaining night regardless. First pitch of the second game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Friday.