Mitch Moreland Celebrates 34th Birthday with Three-Run Homer, Three-Hit Night as Red Sox Top Yankees in Jhoulys Chacin’s Debut

After falling to the Minnesota Twins in heartbreaking fashion on Thursday, the Red Sox bounced back and opened up a four-game weekend series against the New York Yankees with a commanding 6-1 victory on Friday to improve to 76-65 on the season.

Making his first start for Boston and 20th of the season overall was Jhoulys Chacin, less than a week after inking a minor-league deal with the club while they were in Anaheim this past weekend.

Working just the first two innings in his Red Sox debut, the right-hander was perfect as he fanned four of the only six Yankees he faced and was more of an opener than anything.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 35 (23 strikes), Chacin relied on his slider exactly 40% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing four swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.6 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw nine times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Not factoring into the decision of this one, I would think Chacin’s status going forward would depend on the health of David Price, as he was originally supposed to start on Friday.

If anything, the 31-year-oldwill likely work in short bunches rather than being stretched out too much.

In relief of Chacin, left-hander Josh Taylor entered the top of the third in a scoreless contest, and he kept it that way by punching out two in a 1-2-3 inning.

From there, Marcus Walden worked his way around a two-out double and walk with a three-pitch strikeout of Edwin Encarnacion, which eventually earned him his ninth winning decision of the year.

Andrew Cashner yielded New York’s only run of the night on a one-out solo blast off the bat of Brett Gardner in the fifth, Ryan Weber tossed a scoreless sixth before stranding a leadoff walk with the help of Jackie Bradley Jr. in the seventh, and Darwinzon Hernandez also walked one in an otherwise clean eighth.

And in the ninth, Bobby Poyner recorded a pair of strikeouts in another shutout inning to secure the 6-1 win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander Domingo German, who picked up the win the last time he made an appearance at Fenway Park back on July 28th.

Kicking off the scoring in the fourth, a leadoff double from Rafael Devers finally got Boston in the hit column, and a J.D. Martinez groundout, as well as an Andrew Benintendi walk, put runners on the corners with two outs for Brock Holt.

It was clear that German was concerned with Benintendi at first, and perhaps taking advantage, Holt took a 1-1, 91 MPH heater at the top of the zone following two straight unsuccessful pickoff attempts and laced an RBI single right past Gleyber Torres in shallow right to drive in Devers for his side’s first run.

Still with two runners on, Mitch Moreland rallied from a second inning groundout by unloading on a 1-1, 81 MPH curveball from German and deposited it 389 feet into the right field seats.

Moreland’s 15th big fly of the year, this one good for three runs, had an exit velocity of 106 MPH, per Statcast, and it gave the Sox a four-run edge. On his birthday no less.

An inning later, a Mookie Betts walk with one out led to a Yankees pitching change, with Nestor Cortes Jr. taking over for German.

That move would prove to be quite costly for New York though, as Devers followed by drawing a six-pitch walk of his own to move Betts up to second, and Xander Bogaerts came through with a scorching, 108.4 MPH two-RBI double to plate both runners.

That run-scoring two-bagger, Bogaerts’ 49th of 2019, gave the Red Sox a 6-1 lead, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

Red Sox pitching combined for 13 strikeouts and just three walks on Friday.

Mitch Moreland went 3-for-4 with three RBI on his 34th birthday.

Xander Bogaerts is one hit away from 1,000 for his career.

With the Tampa Bay Rays winning and both the Cleveland Indians and Oakland Athletics still in action Friday, the Red Sox currently sit 6 1/2 games behind Oakland for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the second game of this four-game set on Saturday evening, with right-hander Travis Lakins getting the start as the opener for Boston, and left-hander J.A. Happ doing the same for New York.

Lakins allowed two earned runs over two innings of relief in his last time out against the Los Angeles Angels this past Sunday.

The 25-year-old has never started a big league game, but does have 41 under his belt at the minor-league level, with the last coming on July 18th of this year in which he tossed a scoreless first inning for the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Happ, meanwhile, has for the most part struggled since the All-Star break, but is coming off an outing where he held the Athletics scoreless over six strong innings on September 1st.

In three starts against the Red Sox this season, the 36-year-old has posted a 4.24 ERA and .254 batting average against over 17 total innings pitched. The Yankees are unbeaten in those games.

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

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Late Comeback Attempt Falls Short as Red Sox Drop Opener to Twins 6-5

After wrapping up a 6-2 west coast road trip on Sunday and a day to recover on Monday, the Red Sox opened up the final month of their season with a 6-5 loss against the American League Central-leading Minnesota Twins on Tuesday to fall to 74-64 on the year.

Making his 28th start of the season for Boston and second against Minnesota was Rick Porcello, who held the Twins scoreless on just four hits over seven strong innings the last time he faced them at Target Field back on June 17th.

Working into the fifth inning this time around, the right-hander surrendered six runs, all of which were earned, on eight hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The first of those six Twins tallies came in the top half of the first, when with two outs and runners at first and second following a leadoff HBP from Max Kepler and one-out walk drawn by Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano got his side on the board first with a jam shot of an RBI single hit weakly to left field, but strong enough to drive in Kepler from second.

In the third, more two-out trouble arose for Porcello, this time with runners on second and third and Jake Cave plating both on a two-run triple off the center field wall to make it a 3-0 contest.

Two innings later, it was the home run ball that bit Porcello, as Nelson Cruz teed off on a 1-0, 81 MPH slider at the top of the zone to lead the frame off with a solo shot, and Sano followed suit by doing even more damage off another 1-1, 90 MPH heater at the top of the zone, driving in a pair on a 452-foot two-run shot to dead center.

Sano’s 27th homer of the season gave Minnesota a commanding 6-0 advantage at the time it was crushed, and Porcello would not face another hitter, as Sox manager Alex Cora was forced to turn to his bullpen early once more.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (59 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seamer nearly 41% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing four swings and misses and topping out at 91.9 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with his 11th loss while inflating his ERA on the season up to 5.63, Porcello will look to rebound in his next time out, which should come against the New York Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Josh Taylor entered the fifth with the bases empty and three outs to get, and he got that first out before plunking C.J. Cron and making way for another southpaw in the form of Brian Johnson.

Johnson stranded Cron, as well as the man he walked, with back-to-back groundouts to escape the inning unscathed.

From there, Marcus Walden gave up one free pass in an otherwise clean sixth, Darwinzon Hernandez punched out the side on 12 pitches in an electric seventh, Andrew Cashner tossed a 1-2-3 eighth, and Brandon Worman also fanned three in a scoreless ninth to hold the Twins at six runs. Not like it made much of a difference in the end, though.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie right-hander Randy Dobnak for the Twins, someone making the first start of their major league career after being used as a reliever thrice since being called up on August 27th.

Dobnak held his own in the first, working his way around a two-out walk in a scoreless frame before making way for a bullpen day from the Twins.

Kicking off the scoring in the bottom of the fifth, a leadoff walk drawn by Mitch Moreland and single off the bat of Christian Vazquez, as well as a wild pitch from left-handed reliever Lewis Thorpe, put a couple of runners in scoring position for Brock Holt.

Holt did manage to collect his team’s first RBI of the night, but only on a groundout to second that allowed Moreland to score easily from third. 6-1.

A Jackie Bradley Jr. walk led to another pitching change for the Twins, with right-hander Trevor May taking over for Thorpe.

May got the first man he faced in Mookie Betts to fly out to right, meaning he was only one out from getting out of the jam, but Rafael Devers had different plans.

On the sixth pitch he saw from May, a 2-2, 84 MPH slider down and in, the slugging third baseman came through with a 426-foot blast directly down the right field line for his 29th of 2019.

Per Statcast, that three-run shot had an exit velocity of 104.3 MPH, and it brought the Sox back to within two runs at 6-4.

Fast forward to the eighth, and Andrew Benintendi delivered in a tight spot with two outs, as he greeted new Twins left-handed reliever Taylor Rogers by depositing a 1-0, 94 MPH two-seam fastball pretty much down the middle 373 feet over the Green Monster to cut the deficit to one at 6-5. His 13th of the year came on his bobblehead night.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth, Holt reached on a leadoff single through the left side of the infield off of Rogers.

Marco Hernandez came on to pinch-run for Holt, and the pinch-hitting Gorkys Hernandez advanced him to second on a successful sacrifice bunt, putting the tying run in scoring position for the top of the lineup.

Betts made decent contact, but failed to advance Hernandez on a comebacker hit to Rogers for the second out.

So, with Devers representing the last chance Boston had, all the 22-year-old could do in a tough lefty-on-lefty matchup was fan on three straight strikes, stranding Hernandez at second and wrapping this one up with a final score of 6-5.

Not the way you want to start a seven-game homestand against two of the toughest teams in the American League.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday. They left six men on base as a team.

The top four hitters in the Red Sox’ lineup (Betts, Devers, Bogaerts, Martinez) went a combined 1-for-16 (.062) with one home run and three RBI on Monday. The Red Sox only had six hits all night.

Andrew Cashner, since moving to the bullpen: 7 Games, 11 Innings Pitched, 4 Hits, 1 Earned Run, 4 Walks, 9 Strikeouts, 1 Save, 0.82 ERA.

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

The Red Sox are 23-38 against teams .500 or better so far this season.

Bonus Darwinzon Hernandez highlights:

With the Oakland Athletics in action, the Cleveland Indians falling to the Chicago White Sox, and the Tampa Bay Rays splitting a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, the Red Sox currently sit 5 1/2 games behind Cleveland for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game set, with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston and right-hander Jose Berrios doing the same for Minnesota.

Rodriguez is coming off a month of August in which he posted a 3.41 ERA and .284 batting average against over six starts and 37 innings of work. The Red Sox went 4-2 in those games.

Back on June 19th, the Venezuela native yielded four runs over seven innings for the Sox in an eventual 8-4 win against the Twins.

Berrios, meanwhile, has fell off a bit since the All-Star break, posting a 4.85 ERA and .279 batting average against over his last nine starts and 52 innings pitched since then.

The 25-year-old out of Puerto Rico opposed Porcello the first time these two teams squared off in June and was just as impressive, surrendering just one run on five hits and 10 strikeouts over eight innings in a tough-luck loss.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to start another winning streak.

Mookie Betts Opens, Closes Scoring for Red Sox with Pair of Homers in 7-6 Win over Angels in Extras

After sweeping the Colorado Rockies in a two-game interleague series and an off day on Thursday, the Red Sox opened up the final leg of their west coast swing with a 7-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels in 15 innings on Friday.

Making his seventh start of the season for Boston and third since returning from the injured list last month was Nathan Eovaldi, who only lasted three innings in his last time out against the San Diego Padres.

Tossing four full innings this time around, the right-hander yielded just one earned run on three hits and one walk to go along with a season-high eight strikeouts on the night.

That lone Angels run came in the bottom half of the third, when with one out and the bases empty, Brian Goodwin took Eovaldi deep to right-center off a 3-2, 98 MPH heater at the top of the zone to get his team on the board.

Other than that one blip though, Eovaldi rebounded by retiring five of the final six hitters he faced leading to the conclusion of the fourth, the point in which his evening came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 81 (54 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 43% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing three swings and misses and topping out at 100.3 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately getting hit with the no-decision while lowering his ERA on the season down to 6.23, Eovaldi will look to go deeper into his next start, which should come against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday back at Fenway Park.

In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Josh Taylor entered the middle of the fifth with a three-run lead to protect, and he loaded the bases on a leadoff single and back-to-back walks before getting Mike Trout to pop out to second and Shohei Ohtani to ground into a 3-2 forceout at home for the first two outs of the frame.

From there, Marcus Walden came into try and clean the mess left behind by Taylor, and he allowed two of the runners he inherited to score on a two-run single off the bat of Albert Pujols. Both of those runs were charged to Taylor.

Walden was able to escape the fifth with an inning-ending groundout from Kole Calhoun, and he also worked a 1-2-3 to make way for Matt Barnes in the seventh.

There, with his side up three runs once more, Barnes let that lead shrink back down to two by serving up another one-out solo shot to Goodwin, thus making it a 6-4 contest in an otherwise clean frame of relief.

Ryan Brasier got the call for the eighth, and he fanned two of the first three men he faced, but walked the fourth, Andrelton Simmons, on five pitches, to put the tying run on base for the pinch-hitting Justin Upton, which led to Brandon Workman coming on and looking to lock down the four-out save.

Workman did load the bases on an infield singe from Upton, but he also got out of the sticky spot by getting Kevan Smith to ground out to second.

In the ninth, the right-hander created some more trouble for himself, walking the first two men he faced in the frame before allowing one of those runners to advance to third on an Ohtani force out.

So, with two outs to get and runners on the corners, Workman had the perfect chance to end this one by getting Pujols to ground into an inning-ending double play, but instead served up a 1-1, 82 MPH curveball on the outer half of the plate, one in which the future Hall of Famer slapped through the right side of the infield and J.D. Martinez misplayed in right.

That fielding error gave way to the tying run, Ohtani, crossing the plate, and Workman was dealt his sixth blown save of the year.

Fortunately for Boston though, 6-6 is where Friday’s contest stood for a while, as lefr-hander Darwinzon Hernandez punched out five over two innings of scoreless relief in the 10th and 11th.

Andrew Cashner continued to impress out of the ‘pen as well, eventually earning the victory while tossing four no-hit frames from the middle of the 12th until the end of the 15th to secure the 7-6 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie left-hander Jose Suarez for the Angels, who came into the weekend owning an ERA of 7.89 in seven outings since the All-Star break.

Kicking off the scoring right away in the top half of the first, Mookie Betts led things off by going yard off the fifth pitch of the night from Suarez, a 3-1, 91 MPH heater on the outer half of the plate. Per Statcast, Betts’ 22nd homer of the year had an exit velocity of 108.3 MPH

An inning later, A Sam Travis leadoff walk, an Andrew Benintendi HBP, and Christian Vazquez GIDP set up Brock Holt with two outs and a runner on third, and he came through by driving in Travis on a simple RBI single through the left side of the infield. 2-0.

In the third, J.D. Martinez stayed hot and doubled his side’s edge, as he scored himself, as well as Betts, on his 33rd big fly of the year. This one, a two-out, two-run shot, coming off a 3-1, 76 MPH cutter from Suarez, put the Sox up 4-0 over the Halos.

Fast forward to the sixth, with Suarez out and old friend Noe Ramirez in for Los Angeles, and Martinez capitalized on another prime run-scoring chance, this time plating Xander Bogaerts, who was on following a leadoff single, all the way from first with an RBI double down the left field line. 5-3.

A Marco Hernandez HBP while pinch-hitting for Travis led to the Angels turning to left-hander Muguel Del Poze out of their bullpen.

That decision did not faze Benintendi though, as he drove in Martinez from third with a sacrifice fly hit deep enough to center to re-up the lead to three at 6-3.

The Angels were able to mount a late comeback to knot this contest up at six runs apiece in their half of the ninth, and as already mentioned, the 6-6 stalemate stood pat for quite some time.

Fast forward all the way to the 15th, after running into a string of 19 straight outs at one point, and Betts came up to the plate for the seventh time.

Down to their last out in the 15th with Trevor Cahill on the mound for the Angels, Betts took the first pitch he saw in his eighth career matchup against the righty, an 88 MPH cutter down the heart of the plate, and deposited it 401 feet over everything in left field.

The reigning American League MVP’s second homer of the evening and 23rd of 2019 gave the Red Sox the 7-6 lead they were desperately in search for, and that would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Stats by STATS:

Friday’s game took five hours and 23 minutes to complete, the third-longest game for the Red Sox this season.

J.D. Martinez’s last 10 games: .375/.447/.800 with five homers and 17 RBI.

Andrew Cashner, since moving to the bullpen on August 13th: 6 games, 10 innings pitched, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 9 strikeouts, 0.90 ERA.

With the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays both winning on Friday, the Red Sox remain 5 1/2 games off the pace behind Oakland for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game weekend set, with an unnamed starter getting the ball for Boston and left-hander Dillon Peters doing the same for Los Angeles.

Sox manager Alex Cora has yet to name a starter for Saturday’s game at this point in time. Left-hander Brian Johnson and right-hander Josh Smith were the only two hurlers not used by Boston on Friday, so my money is on one of them getting the starting nod.

Peters, meanwhile, held the Sox to three runs over six innings while taking the tough luck loss the last time he faced them on August 8th.

Since that time, the recently turned 27-year-old has posted a 5.52 ERA and .267 batting average against over his last three starts and 14 2/3 innings of work, including back-to-back five-run outings at the hands of the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 9:07 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their fourth straight win.

Jackie Bradley Jr. Sets Tone Early with 478-Foot Homer as Red Sox Top Rockies 10-6

After taking two out of three from the San Diego Padres over the weekend and an off day on Monday, the Red Sox opened up their third straight interleague series with a 10-6 win in the first of two against the Colorado Rockies in Denver on Tuesday.

Making his 27th start of the season for Boston and third of the interleague variety was Rick Porcello, who allowed three runs over five innings in a losing effort in his last time out against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Tossing another five full innings this time around, the right-hander yielded only two runs, both of which were earned, on eight hits and zero walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

Both of those Rockies runs came around to score in the bottom half of the fifth, when after sitting down 12 of the first 16 hitters he faced, back-to-back one out singles from Tony Wolters and the pinch-hitting Yonathan Daza put runners at the corners for All-Star Charlie Blackmon, who got his side on the board with a sharply-hit RBI single through the right side of the infield.

Two batters later, and another All-Star got to Porcello, this time with Nolan Arenado lacing an RBI double to left to drive in Daza and make it a 6-2 contest.

Still with one out to get and runners in scoring position to deal with, Porcelo did not waver, as he got Daniel Murphy to ground out to short to retire the side in what would ultimately be his final inning of work with the pitcher’s spot due to hit in the top of the sixth for Boston.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (58 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 46% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing seven swings and misses and topping out at 93.1 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Eventually improving to 12-10 while lowering his ERA on the year down to 5.42, Porcello wraps up his August on a solid note.

In five starts this month, the New Jersey native posted an ERA of exactly 4.00 over 27 innings pitched. He’ll look to keep that going in his first start of September, which should come against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez entered the middle of the sixth with a four-run lead to protect, and he did just that by working his way around a two-out walk and single in an otherwise clean frame.

From there, Ryan Brasier stranded one on a one-out single in a scoreless seventh, Josh Smith served up a two-run homer to rookie Sam Hilliard, the first of his career, in the eighth, and another two-run shot to Arenado in the ninth to cut down his side’s lead to four runs.

That made way for lefty Josh Taylor to enter a game where it looked like he would not be needed initially, and he kept the lead at four by giving up a one-out single to Murphy before retiring the final two Rockies he faced to lock down the 10-6 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie right-hander Rico Garcia for the Rockies, making his big league debut after being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque earlier Tuesday.

Kicking off the scoring right away in the top half of the first, J.D. Martinez picked up where he left off in San Diego with a two-out, RBI opposite field bloop single to plate Rafael Devers from third.

An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr. struck with a monstrous solo blast off a one-out, first-pitch 91 MPH heater from Garcia to make it a two-run contest early. Per Statcast, Bradley Jr.’s 17th homer of the year traveled 478 feet off the bat, making it the longest home run for the Sox since the Statcast era began in 2015.

Fast forward to the fourth, a Brock Holt leadoff single set up Christian Vazquez with a runner on and no outs, and he came through with a blistering two-run shot, his 19th of 2019, off another first-pitch, 78 MPH curveball from Garcia. 4-0.

In the fifth, Xander Bogaerts got in on the home run-hitting party, as he took the Rockies rookie deep to dead center off yet another first-pitch, 90 MPH heater on the outer half of the plate for his 28th big fly of the season.

One Martinez groundout later, back-to-back two-out two-baggers off the bats of Mitch Moreland and Holt, with the latter driving in the former, upped Boston’s advantage to six runs.

And in the seventh, with left-handed reliever Jake McGee in for Colorado, a leadoff walk drawn by Devers and double from Bogaerts allowed Martinez to collect his second RBI of the night on a line-drive base knock to left field. 7-2.

A throwing error on the part of Ryan McMahon on a ground ball off the bat of Moreland brought in another run, with Bogaerts scoring from third and Moreland advancing to second on the mishap.

Able to capitalize on the sloppy defense from the opposition, Holt plated two more on an RBI base knock through the middle of the infield that was misplayed by Hilliard in center.

That single, one in which Holt was only credited with one, not two RBI, gave the Red Sox a commanding 10-2 lead, and after the Rockies responded with two runs of their own in both the eighth and ninth innings, 10-6 would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

J.D. Martinez’s last seven games: .407/.469/.778 with three homers and 12 RBI.

Jackie Bradley Jr. has hit five home runs in his last 10 games.

With the Oakland Athletics winning and the Tampa Bay Rays losing on Tuesday, the Red Sox currently sit six games off the pace behind Oakland for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this quick two-gamer on Wednesday night, with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston and right-hander Peter Lambert doing the same for Colorado.

Coming off back-to-back starts of at least seven innings pitched with zero runs allowed and five or fewer hits given up, to say Rodriguez has been solid these past two weeks would be an understatement.

The 26-year-old has never pitched at Coors Field before in his career, but he did surrender five runs on 10 hits over six innings in his only other start against the Rockies back on May 15th of this season. The Red Sox won that game by a final score of 6-5.

Lambert, meanwhile, has posted an ERA of 6.20 over his last eight outings and 40 2/3 innings since the All-Star break.

The 22-year-old rookie out of San Dimas, Ca. debuted with Colorado back on June 6th, and has never faced the Red Sox before in his young career.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 8:40 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the sweep.

Brock Holt Comes Through with Game-Winning Homer in Ninth Inning as Red Sox Take Series from Padres with 5-4 Victory

After blowing the doors off the San Diego Padres to open up a three-game weekend series on Friday, the Red Sox needed some late-inning magic to win their second straight on Saturday, as they topped the Pads by a final score of 5-4 to improve to 70-61 on the season.

Making his sixth start of the season for Boston and second since returning from the injured list on July 20th was Nathan Eovaldi, who came into the weekend having yielded five runs in just two innings in his last time out against the Baltimore Orioles this past Sunday.

Working into the fourth inning this time around, the right-hander surrendered two runs, both of which were earned, on four hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

Both of those Padres runs charged to Eovaldi came in the bottom half of the fourth, when after retiring eight of the first 11 hitters he faced, Manny Machado led things off with single back up the middle to put a runner on for Eric Hosmer.

On the fourth pitch of his second at-bat against the Sox starter, Hosmer unloaded on a 2-1, 94 MPH heater on the inner half of the plate and sent it 409 feet into the right field seats to cut his side’s deficit in half at 4-2.

With his velocity dwindling as that Padres rally was formulating, Eovaldi’s evening came to a quick close following that two-run homer from Hosmer.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 64 (36 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 53% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 100.1 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with the no-decision while lowering his ERA on the year down to 6.64, “Nitro” will be expected to pitch deeper into his next outing, which should come against the Los Angeles Angels next weekend.

In relief of Eovaldi, Marcus Walden entered the bottom of the fourth with the bases empty and still three outs to get.

The right-hander did eventually get those three outs, but not before allowing the third run of the inning for San Diego to score on a Hunter Renfroe double and run-scoring groundout off the bat of Luis Urias.

From there, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez punched out one in a scoreless fifth, Ryan Brasier fanned two in a scoreless sixth before allowing two of the first three Padres he faced in the seventh to reach on a leadoff walk and one-out HBP.

Those signs of struggle led to another Boston pitching change, and in came left-hander Josh Taylor with the tying run in scoring position at second.

A one-out RBI single from the first man who greeted him in Ty France did knot things up at four runs a piece as the Red Sox blew their 24th save of the year, but Taylor did come through in a huge spot with two outs and the bases loaded by striking out Hosmer on four pitches to extenguish the threat.

Matt Barnes maneuvered his way around a two-out single in the eighth to eventually earn his fourth winning decision.

And after his side took the lead in their half of the ninth, Brandon Workman wrapped things up, stranded the tying run at second, and notched his eighth save of 2019 on a three-out punchout of Hosmer to lock down the 5-4 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Padres right-hander Dinelson Lamet, someone they had never seen before going into the weekend.

Kicking off the scoring in the top half of the third, a Mitch Moreland leadoff single and Brock Holt HBP, followed by a Nathan Eovaldi forceout at third on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt, put runners at first and second for Mookie Betts as the lineup turned over for the first time.

Perhaps taking into account what he learned in his first trip to the plate Saturday, Betts laced an RBI single through the right side of the infield to plate Holt from second and give his side their first lead of the evening.

An inning later, with J.D. Martinez and Andrew Benintendi leading off the fourth by both reaching base, back-to-back run-scoring knocks from Christian Vazquez and Mitch Moreland off of Lamet upped the Sox’ advantage to four runs, as Vazquez drove in two and Moreland one.

The Padres responded with a three-run rally of their own in their half of the fourth though, and eventually tied things up at four in their half of the seventh as well.

At 4-4, the stalemate led to San Diego turning to their All-Star closer Kirby Yates in the ninth.

Leading off the final frame for Boston was Brock Holt, who was 0-for-2 headed on the night headed into his first career at-bat against Yates.

That unfamiliarity may have played in Holt’s favor though, as the 31-year-old took the first pitch he saw from Yates, a 93 MPH four-seamer down and in, and belted a 372-foot, go-ahead solo shot just over the wall in right field.

“BH’s” third big fly of the season put the Red Sox up 5-4 late, and that would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Andrew Benintendi departed from this game in the sixth inning due to tightness in his left side, per Sox manager Alex Cora. He will not play on Sunday.

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

Mitch Moreland’s last seven games: .360/.385/.440 with four runs scored and four runs driven in.

Before Saturday, Kirby Yates had served up one home run to the first 201 hitters he faced this season.

With the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics both falling on Saturday, the Red Sox move to six games behind Tampa Bay for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the Players’ Weekend series finale on Sunday afternoon.

Left-hander Brian Johnson gets the ball for Boston, while fellow southpaw Joey Lucchesi will do the same for San Diego.

Since being activated off the injured list earlier in the month, Johnson has posted a 6.75 ERA and .358 batting average against over his last four starts and 12 innings pitched.

In eight career interleague appearances (five starts), the 28-year-old owns a lifetime 5.40 ERA and .306 batting average against over 30 total innings of work. He has never faced the Padres nor pitched at Petco Park before in his career.

Johnson is also a lifetime .167 (1-for-6) hitter with two runs scored.

Lucchesi, meanwhile, owns an ERA of 4.86 in seven starts and 37 innings since the All-Star break. The Padres are 1-6 in those games.

The 26-year-old has never faced the Red Sox before in his two-year career, but he does own an ERA of 4.24 and batting average against of .227 in seven career interleague starts spanning over 34 innings of work.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 4:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the three-game sweep before heading off to Denver.

Red Sox Falter Late, Get Swept by Phillies in Frustrating 5-2 Loss

After seeing their five-game winning streak come to an end following a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, the Red Sox were unable to avoid the quick two-game sweep on Wednesday, as they fell to the Phils by a final score of 5-2, marking their second consecutive loss, to drop back down to 67-61 on the season.

Making his 26th start of the season for Boston and second of the interleague variety was Rick Porcello, who came into the week having allowed exactly one run in two of his last three outings going back to the beginning of August.

Tossing five full innings this time around, the right-hander yielded three runs, all of which were earned, on three hits and four walks to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

All three of those Philadelphia runs came across to score in the top half of the fifth, when after retiring 12 of the first 16 hitters he faced, Porcello served up a leadoff double to Cesar Hernandez to begin the inning.

With Adam Haseley at the plate, a wild pitch from Porcello on the fifth pitch of the at-bat allowed Hernandez to advance up to third, and a missed catch error on the part of Rafael Devers trying to receive a throw from Christian Vazquez allowed the runner to score his side’s first run.

Haseley wound up drawing an eight-pitch walk, which set up Bryce Harper two batters later with a runner at first.

On the fourth pitch he saw from the New Jersey native, Harper unloaded on a 1-2, 87 MPH slider down the heart of the plate and sent it 377 feet over the Green Monster for his second career Fenway Park home run and first career hit off of Porcello in 10 tries.

That go-ahead two-run blast put the Phillies up 3-2, and Porcello’s evening would quickly come to a close after he managed to get the final two outs of the fifth in order.

Finishing with a final pitch count of exactly 100 (65 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 47% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 92.2 MPH with the pitch while Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 11-10 while keeping his ERA on the season at 5.49, Porcello’s next start should come against the Colorado Rockies next week.

In relief of Porcello, Ryan Braiser got the first call out of the Boston bullpen for the top half of the sixth, and he worked his way around a leadoff single and two-out walk in a scoreless frame.

From there, Andrew Cashner allowed his first run in his fourth appearance with the Sox as a reliever on a two-out, RBI triple from Corey Dickerson in the seventh, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez walked one and punched out two in a scoreless eighth, and Brandon Workman allowed his side’s deficit to increase to three on a two-out, RBI single off the bat of Dickerson in the ninth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Phillies left-hander Drew Smyly, someone who joined the Philadelphia pitching staff in July after spending time with both the Texas Rangers and, to a lesser extent, the Milwaukee Brewers this season.

Kicking off the scoring right away in the bottom of the first, back-to-back doubles from Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers got the Sox on the board before an out had even been recorded.

An inning later, a red-hot Jackie Bradley Jr. came through with two outs and the bases empty, as he took Smyly deep to right off a 2-2, 87 MPH cutter on the outer half of the plate for his 16th big fly of the season and fourth in his last seven games.

In the fourth, a leadoff double from Andrew Benintendi and infield single from Sam Travis put runners at first and second with no outs for the bottom half of the lineup.

Vazquez responded well enough by advancing both runners 90 feet on a successful sacrifice bunt and Marco Hernandez drew a walk on five pitches, bringing Bradley Jr. to the plate with one out and the bases full.

All Bradley Jr. could do in this trip to the plate against Smyly was fan on four pitches, which led to a Phillies pitching change with the Red Sox’ lineup turning over.

Facing off against right-hander Jared Hughes for the first time in his career, Betts got ahead in the count at 2-0, but was unable to deliver, as he grounded out to third to extinguish the threat.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, with left-hander Jose Alvarez in for Philadelphia and runners at second and third for Boston following a two-out double from Vazquez, Sox manager Alex Cora decided to go to his bench with his team only trailing by two runs.

So, in came the right-handed hitting Chris Owings in the place of the left-handed hitting Hernandez.

Owings, in just his 13th plate appearance with the Red Sox, fouled off the first pitch he saw from Alvarez before taking the second for a called strike. A third-pitch ball didn’t change much, as Owings whiffed on a 1-2, 84 MPH changeup on the outer half of the plate for the final out of the inning.

And in the ninth, Bradley Jr., Betts, and Devers, went down quietly against Phillies closer Hector Neris to put the finishing touches on a 5-2 defeat.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday. They left nine men on base as a team.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s last seven games: .320/.333/.880 with four homers and six RBI.

With the Tampa Bay Rays topping the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, the Red Sox now stand seven games off the pace for the second American League Wild Card spot.

What was once a five-game winning streak has now turned into a two-game skid. That’s pretty much been the story for the 2019 Boston Red Sox.

Next up for the Sox, they’ll pick up where things left off against the Kansas City Royals back on August 7th, as the two sides will resume things in the top half of the 10th inning of a 4-4 contest on Thursday afternoon.

Royals catcher Meibrys Viloria was at the plate ahead in a 2-1 count against left-hander Josh Taylor, who, according to Speier, does not need to “start” the resumed game.

“First pitch” Thursday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going a unique and unusual win.

Red Sox Go 0-For-7 with Runners in Scoring Position, Struggle Against Aaron Nola in 3-2 Loss to Phillies

After sweeping the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend and an off day on Monday, the Red Sox saw their five-game winning streak come to an end on Tuesday, as they opened up a two-game, interleague series against the Philadelphia Phillies with a 3-2 loss to fall back down to 67-60 on the season.

Making his sixth start of the season for Boston and 11th overall appearance was Brian Johnson, taking the spot of the now-shelved Chris Sale, who appears to be out for the remainder of 2019.

Working into fourth inning of this one, the left-hander yielded three runs, all of which were earned, on six hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

All three of those Philadelphia tallies were plated right away in the top half of the first, beginning with a one-out, two-run double off the bat of Jean Segura that drove in Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper from second and third.

Two batters later, Johnson was just one strike away from getting out of the first with just the two runs, as he had Scott Kingery in an 0-2 count on the first two pitches of the at-bat.

Instead of escaping though, the Florida native persisted with three straight balls before hanging a 74 MPH curveball over the heart of the plate, one in which Kingery roped down the left field line to drive in Segura and make it a 3-0 contest.

Another single from Cesar Hernandez put a runner in scoring position for Philadelphia once more, but Johnson did not falter this time around, as he got Adam Haseley to fly out to center to put an end to the first.

That flyout began a run for Johnson in which he retired eight of the last 11 Phillies he faced with the help of a successful inning-ending pickoff attempt on the part of Mitch Moreland to snuff out Kingery in the third.

In the fourth, with one out and Hasely at second following a wild pitch, Johnson managed to punch out Andrew Knapp on five pitches, and that would be how his evening came to a close as Sox manager Alex Cora turned to his bullpen with the Phillies lineup turning over.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 67 (42 strikes), the 28-year-old relied on his curveball more than 40% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 90 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 19 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with his second losing decision while inflating his ERA on the year up to 6.58, Johnson’s next start should come against the Colorado Rockies next week.

In relief of Johnson, Marcus Walden entered with an inherited runner on second and one out to get in the top of the fourth, and he got that out by fanning J.T. Realmuto on three straight strikes after giving up an infield single to Hoskins.

Walden also worked a 1-2-3 fifth before making way for left-hander Josh Taylor in the sixth, who also tossed a perfect inning of relief.

From there, Ryan Brasier struck out one in a scoreless seventh, Darwinzon Hernandez did the same in the eighth, and Matt Barnes worked his way around two straight hitters reaching base with two outs in a shutout top of the ninth.

All in all, Red Sox relievers sat down 16 of the 19 Phillies they collectively faced from the fourth until the middle of the ninth to keep the deficit at one run. Too bad it went in vain.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Phillies ace right-hander Aaron Nola, whose only other appearance at Fenway Park before Tuesday was an eight-inning gem back on July 30th of last season.

Down by three runs before they even had the chance to take their first at-bats, Mitch Moreland got things started against Nola beginning in the third inning with a leadoff single.

A Brock Holt flyout brought Jackie Bradley Jr. to the plate with one out in the frame, and he came through by unloading on a first-pitch, 93 MPH heater on the inner half of the plate from Nola and depositing it 402 feet into the Red Sox bullpen.

Per Statcast, Bradley Jr.’s 15th home run of this season and third in his last six games had an exit velocity of 108.4 MPH, the hardest hit ball from either side all night.

That two-run blast cut Boston’s lead down to just one, and it certainly seemed as though they had Nola on the ropes on multiple occasions from there.

Like in the bottom of the fifth, when Christian Vazquez led off with a line-drive double. Moreland, Brock Holt, and Bradley Jr. all had their chances to drive the runner in, but neither of the three could deliver.

An inning later, Mookie Betts singled and stole second to lead off the sixth, setting up the Red Sox’ 2-3-4 hitters in a prime run-scoring spot. Again, none of Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, nor J.D. Martinez answered with what would have been a game-tying knock.

Fast forward to the eighth, with Nola out and left-hander Jose Alvarez in for Philadelphia, and Bradley Jr. again reached base on one-out single, turning the lineup over against new reliever Mike Morin.

Betts looked helpless as he fanned on three straight hittable strikes, and Devers didn’t fare much better with an inning-ending lineout to center.

And in the ninth, all frustration boiled over as Xander Bogaerts laced a leadoff double off of Phillies closer Hector Neris.

Things were looking promising for Boston yet again, but on the very next pitch thrown by Neris, Martinez lined a grounder to Segura at short, prompting Bogaerts to try and advance to third despite the play being right in front of him.

Segura took advantage of this, as he snubbed out his positional counterpoint with a quick toss over to Kingery at third.

Bogaerts was out by a decent amount, and just like that, the Sox were down to their final two outs with a runner at first instead of at second.

Chris Owings came on to run for Martinez at first, but that did not make much of a difference, as Benintendi lined out to Segura in the shift more towards second, and he was able to double up Owings at first to end the ballgame with 3-2 being Tuesday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday. They left three men on base as a team.

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s last seven games: .292/.333/.750 with three homers and six RBI.

With the Tampa Bay Rays falling to the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, the Red Sox still remain six games off the pace for the second American League East.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the second and final game of this two-game series, with right-hander Rick Porcello getting the start for Boston and left-hander Drew Smyly doing the same for Philadelphia. The two were part of the same starting rotation for the Detroit Tigers from 2012 until 2014.

Since the calendar flipped to August, Porcello has been, for the most part, solid, posting a 3.71 ERA and .206 batting average against over his last three starts and 17 innings pitched.

In his career in interleague play, the 30-year-old owns a lifetime 4.29 ERA and .277 batting average against over 42 total outings (40 starts) and 241 1/3 innings of work. He will not get to bat this time out.

Smyly, meanwhile, has surrendered 17 runs (15 earned) on 26 hits in five starts and 28 2/3 innings pitched since joining the Phillies on July 21st.

When pitching at Fenway Park over the course of his career, the 30-year-old is 1-1 with a 2.87 ERA and .198 batting average against over five prior starts that amount to 31 1/3 innings of work.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to rebound and start a new winning streak.