Homers from Kiké Hernández, Alex Verdugo, J.D. Martinez, and Christian Vázquez power Red Sox to 7-3 win over Blue Jays

The Red Sox wasted no time in bouncing back from their second shutout loss of the season on Tuesday by plating five runs on five hits in the first inning of Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla.

Matched up against veteran starter Ross Stripling, a leadoff single from Kiké Hernández to begin things on Wednesday night proved to be the catalyst for an offensive outpouring.

Alex Verdugo followed by obliterating a hanging slider 391 feet to right field for his sixth home run of the season — a two-run shot — to give the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead.

J.D. Martinez made it a 3-0 game moments later when he mashed his 11th homer of the year to go back-to-back with Verdugo, while Christian Vazquez and Bobby Dalbec knocked in two more runs on an RBI groundout and RBI double, respectively.

With Garrett Richards leading the way on the other side of things, the Red Sox rode a productive first inning all the way to a 7-3 victory over the Blue Jays to snap a two-game skid and improve to 26-18 (13-6 on the road) on the season.

Hernandez finishes triple shy of cycle

Kiké Hernández’s leadoff single in the first not only proved to be the start of a solid day at the plate for the Red Sox as a team, but for Hernandez himself as well.

The 29-year-old homered off his former Dodger teammate in Stripling to lead off the top half of the second inning and later ripped a two-out double in the fourth for his third hit of the night.

Having already completed three-quarters of the cycle in his first three at-bats Wednesday, Hernandez was unable to see it through until the end as he flew out in the sixth and struck out swinging in the eighth. Still, a three-hit day is a three-hit day.

Richards improves to 4-2, lowers ERA to 3.72

Before even taking the mound at TD Ballpark for the first time on Wednesday night, Red Sox starter Garrett Richards was gifted a five-run cushion to work with.

The right-hander got off to a shaky start by walking the first man he faced and serving up a hard-hit RBI double to Vladimir Guerrero Jr before issuing yet another free pass, which led to pitching coach Dave Bush coming out for a mound visit.

That mound visit certainly proved to be beneficial for Richards, as he settled in nicely from that point on by stringing together five consecutive scoreless frames of work.

After punching out the first two hitters he faced in the seventh, Richards yielded a single to Reese McGuire, which would mark the end of his night.

Garrett Whitlock came on in relief of the righty and allowed the runner he inherited to score on a two-run home run off the bat of Marcus Semien.

That two-run blast closed the book on Richards’ outing, who wound up being charged with two earned runs on seven hits and four walks to go along with five strikeouts over 6 2/3 total innings pitched.

Though inconsistent with his command at times, Richards proved to be effective enough to pick up his fourth winning decision of the season while lowering his ERA to 3.72.

Of the 99 pitches (64 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler threw on Wednesday, 64 were four-seam fastballs, 18 were curveballs, and 17 were sliders. His next start should come against the Braves back at Fenway Park next Tuesday.

Vazquez homers for first time since April 7

After seeing his team’s five-run lead shrink to a three-run lead in the bottom of the seventh, Christian Vazquez got one of those runs back by crushing his third home run of the season a half inning later.

Whitlock, Ottavino, and Taylor close it out

As previously mentioned, Garrett Whitlock was deployed in relief of Richards and immediately served up a two-run shot to Marcus Semien before getting Bo Bichette to ground out to retire the side in the seventh.

From there, Adam Ottavino maneuvered his way around a one-out single in an otherwise perfect eighth inning, while left-hander Josh Taylor preserved the 7-3 win for his side by working a scoreless bottom half of the ninth.

Cordero’s exit velocity

While the likes of Kiké Hernández, Alex Verdugo, and J.D. Martinez stole the show offensively, Franchy Cordero also had a strong day at the plate, though the results may not show it.

Returning to the Red Sox lineup for the first time since Saturday, Cordero went 1-for-4 while batting out of the nine-hole.

Of the four balls Cordero put in play on Wednesday, two –a first-inning lineout and sixth-inning double — had exit velocities of 109 and 115.2 mph. His double was the hardest-hit ball of the night.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Matz

The Red Sox will go for a series win over the Blue Jays before getting on a plane to Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta will get the start for Boston, while left-hander Steven Matz will do the same for Toronto.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:37 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

Picture of Kiké Hernández and Alex Verdugo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)


Eduardo Rodriguez surrenders five runs on 11 hits as Red Sox fall to Blue Jays, 8-0, in blowout loss

The Red Sox did something on Tuesday night they had not done since the beginning of the season: get shut out.

More than 2 1/2 months after getting blanked by the Orioles back on Opening Day, the Sox were kept off the scoreboard in what would go down as a forgetful 8-0 loss to the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla. on Tuesday.

Boston is now 25-18 on the season after dropping their last two contests.

Rodriguez surrenders five runs in five innings

Eduardo Rodriguez made his eighth start of the season for Boston in the first game of a three-game series, and he got rocked for five runs — all of which were earned — on a season-high 11 hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over five taxing innings of work.

Tuesday’s outing was truly a grind for Rodriguez, as the left-hander dealt with more than his fair share of traffic on the base paths by facing four or more hitters in every inning he pitched in.

The Blue Jays first got to Rodriguez with a two-out RBI single off the bat of Danny Jansen in the bottom of the second. A leadoff double from Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the fourth would prove to be the catalyst for another productive inning from Toronto, with Marcus Semien driving in a run on a single to right field and fielding error committed by Hunter Renfroe and Bo Bichette plating two more on a two-run double to center field.

Gurriel Jr. struck once more in the fifth, this time getting to Rodriguez with a groundball base hit to right field that plated Teoscar Hernandez from second to make it a 5-0 game.

After sitting down the final two hitters he faced in the fifth inning, Rodriguez’s evening would come to an end. The 28-year-old hurler threw 87 pitches (57 strikes) and managed to induce 13 total swings-and-misses while topping out at 94.1 mph with his four-seam fastball — a pitch he threw 27 times.

Ultimately picking up his second consecutive losing decision to fall to 5-2 on the year, Rodriguez’s ERA on the season now sits at 4.70. His next start should come against the Phillies in Philadelphia on Sunday.

Andriese struggles out of bullpen

In relief of Rodriguez, right-hander Matt Andriese got the first and only call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the middle of the sixth inning.

The good news here is that Andriese was the only relief pitcher the Red Sox needed to use on Tuesday, so the rest of their bullpen should be pretty fresh for the rest of this series against Toronto. The bad news is that Andriese got lit up for three runs on seven hits, one walk, and three strikeouts over three innings pitched.

A two-out walk of Bichette in the sixth would prove to be costly for Andriese, as he proceeded to yield back-to-back singles to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Hernandez with the outfielder driving in the shortstop to give his side a commanding 6-0 lead.

In the eighth, more two-out trouble arose for Andriese when — with a runner on second — he served up a two-run home run to noted slugger Randal Grichuk, which put the Blue Jays up 8-0.

Over his last seven appearances out of Boston’s bullpen, Andriese has allowed 11 earned runs on 20 hits in 9 2/3 innings of relief. That’s good for an ERA of 10.24.

Devers makes nifty play at third base

While Andriese did have a tough go of things on Tuesday, he did receive some defensive help from Rafael Devers to close out the seventh inning.

With two outs and runners at the corners, Semien ripped an 88 mph grounder in Devers’ direction at the hot corner.

Sprawling to his left upon contact, the young third baseman fielded the ball on a hop, quickly spun around, and — from his knees — threw out Semien at first base for the third and final out.

Sox lineup goes down quietly

As previously mentioned, the Red Sox were shut out by the Blue Jays on Tuesday, and that was primarily due to how dominating ace left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu was for Toronto.

The veteran southpaw limited Boston to just four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts over seven strong innings.

There were some instances where the Red Sox appeared to be in a position to get to Ryu, but nothing ever came of those opportunities as the Sox offense would finish the night having gone 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position while leaving eight runners on base as a team.

Next up: Richards vs. Stripling

The Red Sox will look to put an end to their current two-game skid back at TD Ballpark on Wednesday night.

Right-hander Garrett Richards will get the ball for Boston in the middle game of this three-game set, while fellow righty Ross Stripling will do the same for Toronto.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:37 p.m. eastern time on NESN+.

(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Red Sox lose right-hander Joel Payamps on waivers to Blue Jays, again

The Red Sox have lost right-hander Joel Payamps on waivers to the Toronto Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday afternoon.

Payamps, who turns 27 next month, has had quite the eventful offseason, as he has now been claimed by the same two teams on multiple occasions.

In late November, Boston claimed the Dominican reliever off waivers from the Diamondbacks and added him to their 40-man roster, where he would stay until early February.

At that point in time, the Sox designated Payamps for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for then-recently-signed right-hander Garrett Richards.

With seven days to trade him, release him, or sneak him through waivers, the Red Sox nearly retained Payamps’ services until he was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays on February 10.

Less than two weeks later, the 6-foot-2, 225 lb. hurler had been DFA’d again — this time by Toronto — and was once more claimed off waivers by Boston on February 22.

Payamps had been at Red Sox camp in Fort Myers and even got into a Grapefruit League game and tossed a scoreless inning against the Rays this past Tuesday, but he will now make the trek up north to Dunedin to re-join the Jays for the time being.

For his major-league career, which spans two seasons with the D-backs from 2019 through 2020, Payamps has allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits, six walks, and five strikeouts over four total appearances spanning seven total innings of work. That’s good for an ERA of 3.86 and a FIP of 4.35.

He also made eight relief appearances for Estrellas de Oriente of the Dominican Winter League this offseason, where he posted a 1.38 ERA over 13 innings pitched out of the bullpen.

Per Baseball Savant, Payamps primarily works with a a four-seam fastball, slider, sinker, and changeup. He will have the chance to show off that pitch mix with the Blue Jays once again, though it would not be too surprising to see him back with the Red Sox before Opening Day.

That being the case because Payamps still has one minor-league option remaining, so he does come with some flexibility if a club were willing to use a 40-man roster spot on him.

Speaking of 40-man rosters, Boston’s 40-man now stands at 39 players. This might signal that backup catcher Kevin Plawecki, who has been on the COVID-19 related injured list since late February, is ready to be activated from the IL considering the fact he started behind the plate for the Sox on Saturday.

We will have to wait and see if the Red Sox make a corresponding roster move sometime between now and the end of the weekend, so stay tuned for that.

(Picture of Joel Payamps: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)