Red Sox Complete 6-5 Comeback Win over White Sox on Marco Hernandez’s Walk-Off Infield Single

After dropping two out of three to the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend, the Red Sox kicked off the second leg of their homestand with a walk-off 6-5 win over the Chicago White Sox Monday, marking their second straight victory by way of the walk-off.

Making his 16th start of the season for Boston in the series opener was Eduardo Rodriguez, fresh off consecutive outings of seven or more innings for the first time since 2015.

Working his way into the seventh inning of this one but not completing it, the left-hander surrendered five runs, all of which were earned, on six hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

The first four of those Chicago runs came on a pair of homers and an RBI single, all off the bats of Cuban-born players.

Yoan Moncada, a former top prospect of the Red Sox, got the scoring started for his side with a two-out, two-run missile just over the Green Monster in left field for his 13th of 2019 and first ever at Fenway Park.

Rodriguez settled in a bit by retiring 11 of the next 13 White Sox he faced after serving up that bomb, but ran into more two-out trouble in the sixth, when with the bases empty, slugging first baseman Jose Abreu launched his 18th big fly to break up a 2-2 stalemate.

An inning later, with a runner on second and one out, the decision was made for Rodriguez to intentionally put Moncada on base in order to get to Yonder Alonso, who entered the new week sporting a .178 batting average.

Unfortunately for Boston, that decision proved to not work in their favor, as Alonso ripped a single through the right side of the infield, plating the runner, Eloy Jimenez, to make it a 4-3 contest and advance Moncada up to third. That was how Rodriguez’s evening came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (64 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his changeup more than 39% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing seven swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 95.2 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 33 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Hit with the no-decision while his ERA on the season inflated to 4.87, Rodriguez will look to end his month of June on a positive note in his next time out, which should come against the New York Yankees in London.

In relief of Rodriguez, Marcus Walden was inserted and officially closed the book on the starter’s outing by allowing Moncada to score on a Yolmer Sanchez RBI single, which put the White Sox up 5-3.

Colten Brewer got the call for the eighth, and he sat down two of the first three he faced before filling the count against veteran outfielder Jon Jay.

There, in that moment, Sox manager Alex Cora made the call for the left-handed Josh Taylor out of the bullpen.

Taylor’s first pitch to Jay was a ball, meaning the walk was charged to Brewer, but the southpaw rallied by getting out of the inning and also recording the first two outs of the ninth.

A two-out walk of Leury Garcia made way for Brandon Workman, who punched out the only hitter he faced in Tim Anderson on a nasty 81 MPH knuckle curve to send this one to the bottom of the ninth and later pick up his seventh win of the year.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito, someone they got to for three runs in five innings the last time these two sides opposed each other back on May 2nd.

This time around, it was Jackie Bradley Jr. who got the scoring started for the Sox on Monday, as the red-hot outfielder mashed his eighth homer of the season, a booming 418-foot, 107.4 MPH off the bat solo shot, off Giolito to make it a one-run contest early on.

Fast forward to the fifth, and Eduardo Nunez came through with his first of two game-tying hits on the night, this one a one-out opposite field RBI single to drive in Michael Chavis from second. 2-2.

An inning later, Giolito ran into some trouble himself by loading the bases on a one-out walk of Rafael Devers, a line drive double from Xander Bogaerts, and an intentional walk of Bradley Jr. to get to Chavis.

Down to his last few pitches, the White Sox ace again lacked control, as he walked the rookie on five pitches, and that allowed Devers to make his way towards home to tie this one up at three runs each.

In the seventh, after falling behind by another two runs, Mookie Betts cut that deficit in half very quickly by taking Chicago reliever Aaron Bummer deep on the very first pitch he saw from the left-hander to lead off the frame. His 13th of the season made it 5-4.

Another inning later, Marco Hernandez came on to pinch-run for Vazquez at first and moved up to second on a wild pitch from right-hander Kelvin Herrera.

With two outs in the inning and the tying run 180 feet away from home, it was Eduardo Nunez’s time to shine once more, and he did just that by sneaking another RBI single past the outstretched Moncada at third, giving Hernandez enough time to score and pull even with the White Sox at 5-5.

And finally, in the ninth, the White Sox and lefty reliever Jace Fry intentionally loaded the bases with two outs for Hernandez, and he made them pay dearly with an infield single grounded just deep enough that Tim Anderson had to rush in order to make a throw over to first.

The throw was not handled cleanly by Abreu, however, while Hernandez was ruled safe and Andrew Benintendi coasted into home to give the Red Sox another walk-off win, this one finishing with a final score of 6-5.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s last 30 games: .303/.415/.606 with six home runs and 17 RBI. He has raised his OPS from .491 to .713 in that span.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle and second of this three-game set on Tuesday night.

Left-hander David Price is set to get the ball for Boston, while right-hander Carson Fulmer will serve as the opener for Chicago. Two Vanderbilt alums going at it.

Only throwing 73 pitches over five innings in his last time out against the Minnesota Twins, it will be interesting to see how Cora manages Price’s workload on Tuesday.

In 16 career starts against the White Sox, the 33-year-old has posted a 3.45 ERA over 109 2/3 total innings of work.

Fulmer, meanwhile, was once drafted by the Sox in the 15th round of the 2012 amateur draft before he honored his commitment to Vanderbilt.

In two prior relief outings against Boston, the 25-year-old has allowed five runs (three earned) on two hits and five walks in a span of just one whole inning. He has never made an appearance at Fenway Park.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

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Christian Vazquez Walks off Blue Jays with Two-Run Shot in 10th Inning as Red Sox Complete Comeback with 7-5 Win

After a series win over the Minnesota Twins and an off day on Thursday, the Red Sox opened their final homestand before heading to London with a 7-5, 10-inning, walk-off victory in the first of three against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday to improve to 42-35 on the season.

Making his 16th start of the season for Boston was Chris Sale, who saw his run of consecutive double-digit strikeout performances end at four in this one.

Tossing just five full innings Friday, the left-hander yielded four runs, three of which were earned, on seven hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with eight punchouts on the night.

Right from the jump, it looked as though Sale was not going to be at his sharpest. That much was evident in how he lost an 11-pitch matchup to the very first hitter he faced iin Toronto leadoff man Eric Sogard.

Back-to-back walks in the same inning, Sale’s only two of the night, eventually led to the Blue Jays tacking on their first two runs on a two-out, two-run single off the bat of Freddy Galvis.

Another two reached base in the second, but nothing came out of it before more trouble arose in the top half of the third, where a simple grounder from Teoscar Hernandez should have gone for the first out of the frame, but instead was misplayed by Eduardo Nunez over at third.

Two pitches later, Randal Grichuk mashed on a 1-0 87 MPH changeup and sent it 379 feet to left field, making it a 4-0 contest.

If there was any solace, it would be that Sale retired nine of the last 12 Blue Jays he faced leading into the middle of the fifth, which is the point where his outing came to an underwhelming end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (65 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 40% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 95.6 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with the no-decision while raising his ERA up to 3.59, Sale will look for improved results in his next time out, which should come against his former club in the Chicago White Sox next Wednesday.

In relief of Sale, Colten Brewer got the first call to kick off the sixth inning, and he worked a scoreless frame before allowing two of the first three in the seventh to reach.

So, in came the left-hander Josh Taylor, and he, with the help of Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt, escaped the jam thanks to a smoothly-turned 6-4-3 double play.

From there, Taylor also fanned a pair in the eighth before Ryan Brasier came on for him, and he, in a one-run game his team was trailing in, surrendered singles to the first two men he faced but managed to get out of it by getting Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to fly out to right.

Matt Barnes, after the Sox tied things up in their half of the eighth, kept this contest tied with a 1-2-3 ninth, and Brandon Workman did the same while also picking up his sixth winning decision with a scoreless 10th.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie right-hander Trent Thornton, who had never pitched at Fenway Park nor against Boston prior to Friday.

Falling behind by four runs early on is never ideal, but Brock Holt got the scoring started for his side and began to chip away at that deficit by driving in Andrew Benintendi from third with a third inning RBI sacrifice fly hit deep enough to center.

Fast forward all the way to the seventh, after Toronto had regained their initial four-run advantage, and Mookie Betts would wind up being the catalyst for a three-run rally, as his one-out triple off Thornton would mark the Blue Jays starter’s final pitch of the evening.

With left-handed reliever Tim Mayza entered into this contest, Benintendi greeted him by plating Betts and reaching first on an RBI single to the opposite field. 5-2.

Another pitching change that saw right-hander Joe Biagini didn’t make much of a difference, as Xander Bogaerts scored Benintendi all the way from first with a line-drive RBI double that rolled all the way to the wall by the bullpens in right field. 5-3.

A wild pitch from Joe Biagini allowed Bogaerts to advance to third, and JD Martinez capitalized on that mistake by driving in the run on a ground ball single back up the middle. 5-4.

An inning later, and the one-out three-bagger was the Red Sox’ friend yet again, this time with Jackie Bradley Jr. collecting his first of the season against David Phelps.

Rafael Devers, who was out of Friday’s lineup due to tightening his right hamstring in Minnesota on Wednesday, came on to pinch-hit for Eduardo Nunez with the tying run just 90 feet away from home.

Swinging at the fifth pitch he saw from Phelps, an 81 MPH knuckle-curveball, after taking the first four, the budding infielder came through big time, as his RBI single through the left side of the infield gave Bradley Jr. more than enough time to score from third and knot this one up at five runs a piece.

And finally, in the 10th, down to their final out with Marco Hernandez at first and right-hander Jordan Romano on the hill, Christian Vazquez, who first pinch-hit for Sandy Leon in the eighth, activated his clutch gene and sent the Fenway Faithful home happy by blasting his ninth home run of the year on a 3-2, 93 MPH fastball.

Per Statcast, Vazquez’s walk-off bomb traveled approximately 403 feet over everything in right field and had an exit velocity of 102.4 MPH. That won this series opener for the Red Sox by a final score of 7-5.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox started Friday 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and finished 3-for-their-last-3.

From Red Sox Stats:

The Red Sox are 8-1 in their last nine games and have outscored opponents 60-30 in that span.

Quite a way to start a six-game homestand, and the Red Sox will be looking for more in the second of three against the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon.

Left-hander Brian Johnson is set to get the ball for Boston, while Toronto has yet to name a starting pitcher.

Since being activated from the injured list on June 14th, Johnson has surrendered a total of two earned runs over two appearances, one being a start against the Baltimore Orioles last Sunday and the other a relief outing against the Twins this past Wednesday.

In his career against the Blue Jays, the 28-year-old owns a lifetime 7.15 ERA over six games (four starts) and 22 2/3 innings of work.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their third straight win.

 

Red Sox’ Winning Streak Snapped in 17-Inning Marathon Loss to Twins

In their longest game of the season in terms of both innings and time, the Red Sox saw their six-game winning streak come to an end on early Wednesday morning, as they fell to the Minnesota Twins by a final score of 4-3 after 17 marathon innings.

Making his 13th start of the season for Boston in the middle game of this series was David Price, who like Rick Porcello before him, entered Tuesday with a solid history when working at Target Field.

Tossing five full innings this time around, the left-hander yielded just one earned run on four hits and no walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the night.

That one run came out in Minnesota’s half of the fourth, when back-to-back two-out knocks from Eddie Rosario and CJ Cron got the home side on the board immediately after the Red Sox had done so themselves.

Other than that, Price sat down three of the last four hitters he faced in the fifth, and that would be how his outing came to a somewhat abrupt end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of just 73 (49 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball nearly 44% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 93.9 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Hit with the no-decision while his ERA on the season lowered to 3.39, there should be no injury concerns involved with Price going forward. Per Sox manager Alex Cora, “[Tuesday] was one of those that we felt like I was going to take care of him. He threw the ball well but as you guys know, he’s a guy that we really have to take care of.” Price’s next start should come against the Chicago White Sox next week.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen was put to the test similarly enough to the way they were this past Sunday in Baltimore.

Mike Shawaryn got a long night started for the ‘pen by putting men on the corners on the first two hitters he faced, but with the help of Christian Vazqez, did not allow either to score before loading the bases with two outs and again escaping a jam by fanning Miguel Sano on three straight strikes.

Ryan Brasier came on in the seventh moments after Rafael Devers had given Boston a 2-1 lead, and he too received some assistance from his defense, with Jackie Bradley Jr. doing his best Spider-Man impression to rob Jorge Polanco of extra bases and retire the side.

In the eighth, Brandon Workman was charged with his third blown save of the season after walking the leadoff man in Mitch Garver and allowing him to tie things up at two on an RBI single from Max Kepler.

2-2 is where this one stood for quite a while, as Matt Barnes, Josh Taylor, and Colten Brewer combined for four scoreless frames from the ninth until the 12th before making way for Hector Velazquez in the bottom of the 13th.

There, after his side had taken a one-run advantage in the top half of the inning, the right-hander gave that back right away by serving up a leadoff solo shot to Kepler, once again knoting things up at three runs each.

Velazquez did settle in after that mishap though, as he pushed his way through the 16th, but had to be removed after coming out for the 17th after being unable to continue.

And in that 17th, two days after he made his first start of the year in Baltimore, Brian Johnson allowed two of the first three Twins he faced to reach, although before doubling, Eddie Rosario’s right foot very well could have been out of the batter’s box while trying to lay down a bunt.

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Nothing came of it, however, and Rosario’s double would prove to be costly, as Johnson intentionally walked CJ Cron to load the bases, and Kepler ended things by ripping the game-winning RBI single down the right field line.

In total, Boston used eight pitchers on Tuesday/Wednesday not named David Price. Marcus Walden was not available.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a fairly familiar opponent in Twins right-hander Michael Pineda, who missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

Like Price, Pineda only limited his opposition to one lone run, and that came courtesy of a Mookie Betts leadoff walk and a Rafael Devers two-out RBI single in the fourth to put the Sox on the board.

Fast forward to the seventh, with Pineda out and new reliever Ryne Harper in for Minnesota, Devers struck again, this time launching his 12th home run of the season, a 374 foot leadoff shot to give his team the 2-1 advantage.

As mentioned before though, that advantage did not last all that long, and this contest headed into extras, where the Sox had plenty of chances to tack on some runs, but could only come away with one.

That one, a 380 foot solo shot off the bat of Mookie Betts to lead off the 13th inning against Mike Morin, probably should have been enough to send Boston home with a win. But, Hector Velazquez buckled in the latter half of the frame, and the Red Sox were unable to score again.

The offensive struggles were especially evident in the 17th, where Andrew Benintendi reached third with no outs on a leadoff single, a stolen base, and Minnesota throwing error.

The middle part of the lineup, JD Martinez, Devers, and Xander Bogaerts, all had their shot to drive Benintendi in, but came up short, and the Twins capitalized on that inability by walking things off a half inning later in a marathon game that ended in a 4-3 final.

Some notes from this loss:

Red Sox with runners in scoring position Tuesday/Wednesday: 1-for-13. They left 14 men on base.

JD Martinez on Tuesday/Wednesday: 0-for-8 with five strikeouts.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

With that, the Red Sox’ six-game winning streak has come to an end.

For the finale of this three-game series, it will be a pitching matchup featuring a left and right-handed pitcher, with Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston and Kyle Gibson doing the same for Minnesota.

Coming off one of his better starts of the year in his last time out against the Orioles where he surrendered just one run over seven quality innings of work, Rodriguez brings with him a lifetime 5.91 ERA over two prior starts and 10 2/3 total innings pitched at Target Field.

Gibson, meanwhile, is also fresh off a dominant outing, as he held the Kansas City Royals scoreless on just two hits in an eight-inning win last Friday.

In his career against the Sox, the 31-year-old is 2-3 with a 2.68 ERA over six starts and 40 1/3 innings of work.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 8:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

 

Rick Porcello Dazzles with Seven Scoreless Innings as Red Sox Take Opener from Twins for Sixth Straight Win

After sweeping the lowly Baltimore Orioles over the weekend, the Red Sox kicked off the second leg of their two-city, six-game road trip on Monday by taking the first of three against the American League Central-leading Minnesota Twins in a tightly-contested 2-0 win, marking their sixth consecutive victory to improve to a season-best six games over .500 at 40-34.

Making his 15th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, who entered Monday fresh off a quality outing in his last time out against the Texas Rangers as well as an impressive track record when working at Target Field.

Tossing seven full innings this time around, the right-hander held one of the top offensive clubs in the American League scoreless, scattering just four hits and one walk to go along with eight strikeouts on the night to tie a season-high.

It wasn’t quite clear that Porcello would wind up putting together the dominant performance he did in this one, with Nelson Cruz ripping a two-out double off of him in the first inning and all, but the New Jersey native did not waver, as he received some help from his defense and never faced more than four hitters in a single frame up until the bottom half of the seventh.

There, following a string of retiring 17 of the last 19 Twins he had faced, a one-out, line-drive double off the bat of CJ Cron that nearly snuck over the wall in right-center field put the tying run in scoring position for Minnesota.

A two-out walk of Miguel Sano two batters later also put the go-ahead run on base, but, fortunately for Boston, Porcello managed to escape the jam and thus preserve the shutout by getting Jason Castro to fly out to left, and that would be how his outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 94 (68 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 45% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing six swings and misses and topping out at 92.7 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Eventually earning his fifth winning decision while lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.31, Porcello will look to continue this recent run he has been on in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays this weekend.

In relief of Porcello, Colten Brewer came on in the eighth with a one-run lead to protect, allowed the first two men he faced to reach to put the go-ahead run on for Minnesota yet again.

With no outs and the AL’s top hitter Jorge Polanco (.332 BA) at the plate, the Twins decided to take the bat out of their shortstop’s hands, and instead opted for a sacrifice bunt to advance both Jonathan Schoop and Max Kepler into scoring position for Neslon Cruz.

Having only faced Cruz one time prior to Monday, Brewer got ahead in the count with two straight strikes before getting the Twins slugger to ground into a fielder’s choice that just so happened to catch Schoop in a rundown between third and home.

Devers, on the toss from Sandy Leon, was able to tag Schoop out to eliminate the threat, all while Kepler failed to advance to third himself.

Three pitches later, Brewer miraculously got out of the tight spot he put himself in by getting Eddie Roasario to ground into an inning-ending out at first.

And in the ninth, after his team had provided a little insurance in their half of the frame, Ryan Brasier, just activated from the bereavement list earlier Monday, shut the door on the Twins and notched his seventh save of the year by locking down the 2-0 win for Boston.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Twins ace right-hander Jose Berrios, and he proved to be just as, if not more dominant than Porcello in this one.

It was a good thing the Boston bats got to him right away with one out in the first on an RBI single off the bat of JD Martinez to plate Mookie Betts from third, because the Puerto Rico native was essentially unhittable the rest of the night.

Sitting down 19 in a row at one point and capping off his performance by fanning the final two hitters he faced, it wasn’t until Berrios departed and right-handed reliever Blake Parker entered to begin the ninth.

Down to their last out of the inning with JD Martinez at second following a one-out double off Parker, Xander Bogaerts came through in the clutch and gave his side some much-needed insurance, as he took an 0-2 fastball on the outer half of the plate and slapped an RBI two-bagger to the opposite field, allowing for Martinez to come in and score and put the Red Sox up 2-0.

That extra-base hit, the 300th of Bogaerts’ career, would be all the Sox would need to take the series opener from the Twins and win their sixth straight overall in the process of doing so.

Some notes from this win:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Xander Bogaerts, since this road trip began on June 14th: 5-for-11 with three doubles, six walks, and four RBI in four games.

I don’t want to say that the Red Sox passed their first test since there are still two games remaining in this series, but after all the negativity about being unable to beat quality teams, coming out and blanking arguably the best team in the American League at the moment at home is impressive nonetheless.

For the middle contest of this three-game set, it will be a starting pitching matchup featuring a pair of veteran arms, with left-hander David Price getting the ball for Boston and Michael Pineada doing the same for Minnesota.

Coming off his second-shortest start of the season in a six-run beatdown at the hands of the Rangers on June 13th, Price (4-2, 3.52 ERA), brings with him a lifetime 3.08 ERA over nine career starts and 61.1 total innings pitched at Target Field.

Pineda, meanwhile, missed all of the 2018 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and has posted a 5.04 ERA through 13 starts in his second year with the Twins.

In 12 prior starts against Boston, the 30-year-old is 5-5 to go along with an ERA of 4.23 over 66 innings of work.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 8:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to extend their winning streak to seven.

 

Late Home Runs from Marco Hernandez and Rafael Devers Propel Red Sox to 8-6 Extra Innings Win over Orioles to Complete Three-Game Sweep on Father’s Day

In a game that took nearly five hours and an extra inning to complete, the Red Sox came away with their fifth consecutive victory and a three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, as they took the series finale by a final tally of 8-6.

Making his first start of the season and first appearance since April 5th for Boston was Brian Johnson, who was just activated from the injured list this past Friday after missing more than 2 months of major league action due to inflammation in his throwing elbow.

Working his way into the fourth inning of this one, the left-hander yielded one earned run on five hits and two walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the afternoon.

Despite dealing with a decent amount of traffic on the base paths in such a short span of time, Johnson only gave up that lone Orioles run in their half of the third, when Keon Broxton came around to score on a one-out RBI single from Hanser Alberto.

Other than that, Johnson stranded runners at first and second to end the frame before allowing Anthony Santander and Jonathan Villar to reach with no outs in the fourth, which is the point where his day came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 70 (41 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his curveball more than 37% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.2 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 25 times with Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

Given the current state of the Red Sox’ rotation with Nathan Eovaldi still shelved for the foreseeable future, expect Johnson to make his next start against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday if he isn’t used out of the bullpen before then.

In relief of Johnson, Colten Brewer was inserted into this contest with three outs to get in the fourth and runners on first and second.

With the help of Broxton interfering while running out a successful bunt attempt that would have plated the Orioles’ second run, the right-hander managed to escape the jam in the fourth with his team still in front. Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde, however, was ejected for arguing the ruling of that play.

From there, Mike Shawaryn got the first two outs of the fifth while loading the bases on a pair of walks and a single, and left-hander Josh Taylor, just recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket, saved him by inducing a grounder off the bat of Villar to retire the side.

Taylor also worked his way around a fielding error in the sixth in an otherwise clean inning to make way for Marcus Walden in the seventh.

Making his 28th appearance out of the ‘pen, Walden sat down three of the four Orioles he faced in his first inning of relief before running into some trouble in the eighth, where Villar led things off by drawing a six-pitch walk and eventually scored courtesy of two swiped bags and a wild pitch.

That knotted things up at two runs a piece at the time, and Travis Lakins proceeded to give that up by serving up a pinch-hit triple to the first man he faced in Stevie Wilkerson before Hanser Alberto drove him in on another RBI base knock. Just like that, the Red Sox were trailing.

Fortunately though, Marco Hernandez pulled them even in the top half of the ninth, while Brandon Workman sent this one into extras with a scoreless bottom half.

And in the 10th, after they pretty much blew this one open to 8-3, Josh Smith nearly gave it all back by giving up a pair of homers, but held on to close out his third game of the season to secure an 8-6 win for Boston.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar and fairly tough opponent in Baltimore left-hander John Means, who entered Sunday having given up just two total runs in two prior starts this season against Boston.

This time around, Means held his own through the first three innings, but the Sox bats finally got to him in the fourth, with Xander Bogaerts getting his team on the board by driving in Rafael Devers all the way from first on a one-out line drive RBI double to left.

Bogaerts nearly scored the Sox’ second run as well, but was hung up to dry when trying to come home on a single from Michael Chavis. Instead of scoring, the young shortstop got caught in the middle of a rundown, all while Chavis advanced into scoring position.

So, with two outs and Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate, the red-hot outfielder went ahead and extended his hitting streak to seven games, plating Chavis from second on a run-scoring double to give Boston their first lead of the afternoon.

Fast forward all the way to the ninth, after they had fallen behind by a run yet again, and Marco Hernandez came through in the clutch by blasting a game-tying, 395 foot solo shot to center off new Orioles reliever Mychal Givens. His first homer since May 30th of 2016, which also happened to come off of Givens in Baltimore, to eventually send this contest into extras.

There, in the 10th, Devers broke the stalemate in his first at-bat against Givens, leading off the frame by depositing a 1-0 fastball 458(!) feet to the opposite field for his 11th big fly of the season.

Still in the same inning, a fielding error that allowed Bogaerts to reach safely, a Michael Chavis single, and a walk drawn by Brock Holt off Orioles reliever David Hess filled the bases with Red Sox for Mookie Betts,

Already with two hits of the day, the reigning American League MVP broke this one open with number three, ripping a two-run single to left to plate Bogaerts and Chavis to put his team up by three.

Christian Vazquez opened up that lead a little further with another two-run double to drive in the two men on ahead of him, and that would later prove to be vital.

That being the case because even though they went up 8-3 on Vazquez’s clutch two-base hit, the Orioles almost staged a rally of their own in their half of the 10th, cutting Boston’s advantage back down to two runs before Sunday’s contest ultimately came to a close with a final score of 8-6.

Some notes from this win:

Andrew Benintendi was originally starting in left field and batting second Sunday, but was scratched due to a sore left quad. That’s why JD Martinez was out in left field.

From Red Sox Stats:

Rafael Devers during his six-game hitting streak: 11-for-27 with one double, one triple, two homers, and five RBI.

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s last seven games: .357/.400/.714 with two stolen bases, two home runs, and six RBI.

For the third time this season, Michael Chavis has recorded multiple hits in three straight games.

The Red Sox swept the Orioles, as expected. Now comes the true test. We’ve seen it before from this team, they dominate an inferior opponent, then proceed to struggle against better teams, such as the Astros, Rays, or Yankees.

This time, it will be a three-game set in Minnesota against the rising 47-23 first place Twins.

Led by ex-Red Sox outfielder and first-year manager Rocco Baldelli, the Twins have taken off in 2019, and entered Sunday leading the American League in runs scored (411), doubles (149), home runs (135), team slugging percentage (.514), and team OPS (.854) among other categories.

For the opener on Monday, it will be a pitching matchup featuring a pair of right-handers, with Rick Porcello getting the ball for Boston and Jose Berrios doing the same for Minnesota.

Porcello is coming off his best start in weeks in his last time out against the Texas Rangers, and brings with him a lifetime 2.96 ERA over 13 career starts and 82 total innings pitched at Target Field.

Berrios, meanwhile, has had himself a solid 2019 thus far. That much is evident bow how the Twins are 11-3 in games he starts.

In three career starts against Boston, the 25-year-old is 0-2 with an ERA of 4.15 over 17.1 total innings of work.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 8:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox have plenty to prove as they go for their sixth straight victory.

 

 

Xander Bogaerts Leads Power Surge for Red Sox in 7-6 Comeback Win over Rangers for Series Split

In a game that took well over four hours to complete, the Red Sox stormed all the way back to a four-game split against the Texas Rangers with a 7-6 win on Thursday night to close out a 3-5 homestand.

Making his 12th start of the season for Boston in the series finale was David Price, fresh off six quality one-run innings in his last time out against the Tampa Bay Rays.

This time around though, the left-hander struggled mightily against a team he has a rough history with, as he yielded six runs, all of which were earned, on five hits, two HBPs, and one walk to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the short-lived night.

The issues for Price were present right from the get-go, that much was clear by how he hit the first man he faced in Shin-Soo Choo, and proceeded to walk the next in Delino Deshields, which in turn led to Texas plating their first two runs on an Elvis Andrus RBI single and Hunter Pence RBI double that nearly left the yard, but bounced off the top of the short wall in right field and landed back in play.

Price escaped the first after surrendering another pair of runs on two-out, two RBI double from Logan Forsythe, but more trouble arose an inning later, and it was once again started by beaning Choo with one out on a 1-2 changeup.

A double from Deshields put both runners on base in scoring position for Andrus, who capitalized on a 1-0 changeup from the Tennessee native and grounded another two-run hit through the left side of the infield to make it a 6-0 game. That was how Price’s evening came to a disappointing close, less than an hour after it had began.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 49 (27 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball nearly 37% of the time he was on the mound Thursday, inducing five swings and misses and topping out at 92.3 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

When asked about his performance, Price simply said, “I sucked. That’s it.” With his ERA jumping up by 8/10 of a run up to 3.52 on the season, he’ll look for better results in his next time out against the Minnesota Twins next Tuesday.

In relief of Price, Sox manager Alex Cora turned to every reliever in his bullpen sans Heath Hembree, who later said he wasn’t available to pitch due to right forearm tightness.

Mike Shawaryn, Colten Brewer, and Travis Lakins, all of whom have been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket in the last few weeks, set the groundwork by working a combined four scoreless, no-hit frames of relief, scattering five walks along the way to set up the more high-leverage arms.

Entering the sixth with the score at 6-6, Marcus Walden bounced back from a two-run outing this past Saturday by working his way around two two-out singles in an otherwise clean frame with some help from Andrew Benintendi.

Another tightrope was walked in the seventh, when, still in a tie game, Brandon Workman walked the bases loaded with two outs, took Deshields to a full count after falling behind 3-0, and came through with a huge punchout on an 82 MPH slider to strand the go-ahead run at third.

In the eighth, after his side had plated what would turn out to be the winning run in their half of the inning, Matt Barnes also bounced back from what has been a subpar month of June so far by fanning the final two Rangers he faced to leave Hunter Pence at second following a one-out double.

And in the ninth, with Heath Hembree unavailable, Josh Smith, yes, Josh Smith came on for his first ever big league save opportunity.

It didn’t look great when he hit the first batter he faced, but the 31-year-old got Rougned Odor to ground into a force out at second to keep the tying run out of scoring position before the Rangers second baseman stole the base anyway, and he also struck out pinch-hitter Nomar Mazara seven pitches later.

With one out still to get, this contest nearly ended on a pick-off move made by Smith on a retreating Odor as he was sliding back to second.

Xander Bogaerts was confident he had the runner on the tag, but second base umpire Angel Hernandez ruled him safe, and that ruling was upheld despite a Red Sox challenge.

The man who was at the plate while that transpired, Choo, was intentionally walked, and Smith succeeded against his next opponent in Deshields, as he got the speedy outfielder to fly out to center, thus securing his first career save and completing the comeback.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Rangers right-hander Adrian Sampson, who hadn’t pitched against the Sox nor at Fenway Park since his rookie year in 2016, when he was with the Seattle Mariners.

Starting the scoring for Boston in this one was JD Martinez in the first inning, mashing his 13th home run of the year on a 418 foot solo shot to center to cut the early deficit to three runs.

An inning later, that deficit would be trimmed down even further to two thanks to back-to-back leadoff singles from Bogaerts and Vazquez and a 403 foor three-run dinger off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr., his sixth of the year.

Fast forward to the fourth, and Michael Chavis came alive and made it a one-run game by depositing his first homer since the 22nd of May into the third row of Monster Seats down the left field line. 6-5.

Rafael Devers joined the home run party in the fifth, tying this wild one up by absolutely crushing an 0-2 hanging slider from Sampson and sending it 443 feet over everything in center field. Per Statcast, the 22-year-old’s 10th big fly of 2019 had an exit velocity of 110 MPH.

Finally, in the seventh, down to their final out of the inning with right-hander Peter Fairbanks in for Texas, Xander Bogaerts gave the Sox their first lead of the night, collecting his 14th home run of the season on an 0-1 slider, one that the budding shortstop mashed 386 feet over the Monster.

That put the Red Sox ahead 7-6 after trailing by as many as five runs, and that would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox had nine hits Thursday. Five were home runs.

Jackie Bradley Jr. in June: .257/.366/.514 with two home runs, three doubles, and seven RBI.

Xander Bogaerts in June: .304/.382/.630 with three doubles, four home runs, and seven RBI.

The Red Sox bullpen Thursday: 7 1/3 innings pitched, four hits, one HBP, eight walks, nine strikeouts, ZERO earned runs.

So, after going down two games in a four-game series, the Red Sox respond by taking the next two for the split. That’s encouraging to see, especially with a three-game weekend series against the lowly Baltimore Orioles set to begin on Friday.

The starters for that series go as follows: Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, TBD (Could be Brian Johnson).

Meanwhile, for Baltimore, they have yet to announce a starter for either Friday or Sunday. Right-hander Dylan Bundy will be matched up against Sale on Saturday.

The Sox took two out of three from the O’s in their first trip to Baltimore back in May. A sweep this time around seems more ideal.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their third straight win.

 

 

 

Darwinzon Hernandez Struggles in First Start, Alex Cora and Andrew Benintendi Get Tossed as Red Sox Fall Back to .500 in 9-5 Loss to Rangers

After blowing a late lead to open up a four-game series against the Texas Rangers on Monday, the Red Sox fell behind early Tuesday and could never really recover, as they dropped their third straight contest to fall back to .500 on the season in a 9-5 loss.

Making his first career start and second appearance for Boston was top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez, who was recalled from Double-A Pawtucket earlier Tuesday.

Last working as a reliever in his first stint with the club back in April, the left-hander surrendered four runs, three of which were earned, on three hits and five walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

Despite fanning 77% of the nine hitters he faced, control remained Hernandez’s biggest issue in this one, as it has been in his time with the Sea Dogs.

From the jump, the Venezuela native dazzled, punching out the side in the first while also leading off the second with his fourth K.

The trouble began with a one-out, seven-pitch walk of Hunter Pence, which was followed with a four-pitch walk of Asdrubal Cabrera to give the Rangers their first two baserunners.

Two pitches later, Rougned Odor drove in his team’s first run by ripping an RBI ground-rule double over Mookie Betts’ head in right field, which came at the benefit of the Red Sox with Cabrera being held up at third.

In the third, the free pass bit Hernandez yet again, this time with three of the first five Rangers hitters to come to the plate in the inning reaching base by way of the BB, loading the bases for Cabrera.

After falling behind 3-0 and battling back to fill the count, Cabrera ultimately won his second battle against the young southpaw, as he made it a 3-1 contest with a two-run single to center.

Hernandez would fan Odor for his seventh and final strikeout, and proceeded to allow the first two Rangers he faced to reach in the fourth with the help of a Rafael Devers fielding error before getting the hook from Sox manager Alex Cora.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 86 (42 strikes), the 22-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 76% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing seven swings and misses while also topping out at 97.7 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

It’s never been a question about Hernandez’s stuff, that is certainly there. It’s the control that’s the issue, and for whatever reason, he just folded after recording the first out of the second inning.

Can’t say for sure that Hernandez will make another start, but if he does, it will most likely come against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

In relief of Hernandez, Colten Brewer came on in that fourth inning, yielded a six-pitch walk to the first man he saw to fill the bases, and officially closed the book on Hernandez’s first big league start by giving up a sacrifice fly to Danny Santana to make it a 4-3 game.

From there, after Brewer escaped the fourth with back-to-back punchouts, Bobby Poyner came on for his first appearance since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday, and he, at the very least, ate some innings.

To put it bluntly, the left-hander entered with his team trailing by one run, and left with them down by six, with those last two runs coming on a two-run inside-the-park home run off the bat of Hunter Pence that was just out of Brock Holt’s reach in the top half of the sixth.

And finally, Mike Shawaryn continued to impress out of the bullpen by fanning four Rangers in two perfect frames of relief to wrap up what was another underwhelming night from Red Sox pitching.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Rangers right-hander Ariel Jurado, who had never pitched against Boston nor at Fenway Park before Tuesday.

Already down a run by the middle of the second, Xander Bogaerts answered back and got his side on the board by blasting his 13th home run of the season, this one a 422 foot shot over the Green Monster.

An inning later and trailing by a pair this time, Rafael Devers erased that deficit quickly, following by back-to-back two-out walks with a two-run triple off Jurado to break out of an 0-for-20 slump. He was stranded at third.

Fast forward to the bottom of the fifth, and some drama arose when Andrew Benintendi had a few choice words for home plate umpire Angel Hernandez following a groundout to short.

The thing was, Hernandez couldn’t hear Benintendi’s words, but first base umpire Vic Carapazza could, and without giving a warning, ejected the Red Sox outfielder as he was heading back towards his dugout.

That led to even more pandemonium, and ultimately resulted in Cora’s ejection and more colorful language from Benintendi.

Once all was settled, the Sox still trailed by three runs going into the sixth, and that deficit did not shrink.

A Michael Chavis leadoff double in the seventh off new Rangers reliever Jose LeClerc, followed by an RBI two-bagger from JD Martinez two outs later gave Boston their fourth run of the night.

And in the ninth, Mookie Betts swung at the very first pitch he saw from right-hander Chris Martin, and came away with his 11th dinger of the year, although it didn’t make much of a difference in what would go down as a 9-5 loss for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox are 34-34 on the season and 5-6 in June.

Mike Shawaryn is averaging 16.5 strikeouts per nine innings.

JD Martinez’s last two games since returning from back spasms: 4-for-7, two doubles, one run scored, one RBI.

Andrew Benintendi on his ejection:

Alex Cora on his:

Brock Holt, who was in right field because of the Benintendi ejection, on what happened on the inside-the-park homer:

It was a bizarre night, really. Both managers got ejected, the Red Sox didn’t use one pitcher who appeared in a big league game before the start of the 2018 season, and Mookie Betts had himself a rough time of things in center field.

Next up for the Sox, it’s the third game of this four-game set, which was moved up three hours from its original start time because of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Right-hander Rick Porcello, will be getting the ball for Boston, while fellow righty Lance Lynn will be doing the same for Texas.

In his career against the Rangers, Porcello (4-6, 4.86 ERA) owns a lifetime 5.16 ERA over 12 prior starts and 68 total innings pitched.

Lynn (7-4, 4.39 ERA), meanwhile, has posted a career 2.40 ERA in three previous appearances (two starts) and 15 innings of work at Fenway Park.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 4:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox need to wake up.