Chris Sale Fans 10 over Six Innings, JD Martinez Homers Again as Red Sox Top Orioles 7-2 for Fourth Straight Win

After mashing six home runs to the tune of a 13-2 victory on Friday, the Red Sox had a bit more difficult time with the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, but still came away with their fourth consecutive victory, topping their divisional foes by a final score of 7-2 to improve to 38-34 on the season.

Making his 15th start of the year for Boston in the middle game of this three-game weekend series was Chris Sale, who already dominated the O’s in his last appearance at Camden Yards back in May.

There was no immaculate inning this time around, but the left-hander still put together a solid effort, yielding two runs, both of which were earned, on six hits and just one walk to go along with exactly 10 strikeouts over six quality frames of work.

Baltimore threatened immediately by reaching base in their first two-at bats of the contest in the first, and it looked like the Red Sox were yet again going to be trailing early on.

Sale did not waiver though, as he retired the side in order from there before sitting down 12 of the next 13 hitters he faced up until the sixth inning.

There, in what was undoubtedly the Florida native’s toughest go of it after his team had just put up three runs, the Orioles started things exactly like they did in the first, with both Hanser Alberto and Trey Mancini reaching on back-to-back singles.

One mound visit and line out later, the O’s finally got on the board thanks to an RBI double from Renato Nunez to plate Alberto and advance Mancini to third.

Sale’s lone walk in this one filled the bases for Jonathan Villar, who cut the Red Sox’ deficit to one with a sacrifice fly to score Mancini.

Fortunately for Boston, that was all the damage Sale would allow, as he escaped the jam by fanning Keon Broxton with an 83 MPH slider to end the sixth as well as his outing.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 103 (68 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler turned to that aforementioned slider more than 47% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing 10 swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 95.6 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 34 times and got six whiffs on with Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Later improving to 3-7 while lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.49, Sale will look to build on what has been a strong month of June in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.

In relief of Sale, Marcus Walden entered the seventh in a two-run game, and he worked his way around a one-out single in an otherwise clean frame.

Matt Barnes, meanwhile, had a tougher time in the eighth, as he allowed the tying run to get into scoring position with two outs on a single and walk before retiring the side by striking out pinch-hitter Chris Davis with an 85 MPH slider on the inside edge.

And in the ninth, after the Sox had tacked on three additional insurance runs, Brandon Workman locked down the 7-2 win in a scoreless final inning with some help from Michael Chavis at first.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy, who came into Saturday with a 3.02 ERA in his last seven starts.

As those recent impressive numbers indicate, Bundy did his part to hold the Boston bats through their first 2 1/2 times through the batting order.

They had a handful of scoring chances early on, but it wasn’t until Rafael Devers led the top of the sixth off with a hard-hit single where things really started to roll.

Immediately following Devers’ single, Xander Bogaerts came through with his team’s first run of the day by driving in the third baseman on a line drive RBI double to left. Brock Holt essentially did the same two pitches later by plating Bogaerts on a run-scoring single to right field.

A single from Michael Chavis to move Holt into scoring position would be how Bundy’s outing came to a close, and Sandy Leon greeted new O’s reliever Richard Bleier by scoirng Holt, who advanced to third on a Jackie Bradley Jr. ground out, by reaching first on a fielding error committed by Alberto over at third. 3-0.

Fast forward to the seventh, and a red-hot JD Martinez continued on with his power surge by blasting his 16th big fly of the season and fourth in his last three games. Per Statcast, Martinez’s opposite field shot had an exit velocity of 109 MPH off the bat and was deposited 427 feet into the right-center field bleachers.

Finally, in the ninth, with right-hander Miguel Castro on the hill, the Sox once again took advantage of sloppy defensive play from the Orioles, but not before loading the bases with one out for Bogaerts.

On the first pitch he saw from Castro, the Red Sox shortstop lifted a fly ball plenty deep enough to center to drive in Mookie Betts from third.

Just a few moments after that, Holt also collected his second RBI with another run-scoring base knock that allowed Andrew Benintendi to come in from third.

With Chavis at the plate, Holt took off for second and a poor throw from Pedro Severino behind the plate as well as a poor attempt to knock the ball down from Alberto covering the bag gave Devers more than enough time to score from third.

That put the Red Sox ahead 7-2, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Chris Sale has recorded 10 or more strikeouts in eight of his last 10 starts. In that 10-start span, the left-hander is averaging 14.2 punchouts per nine innings.

JD Martinez’s June so far: 16-for-45 with three doubles, one triple, five home runs and eight RBI.

Rafael Devers during his five-game hitting streak: 9-for-22 with one double, one triple, one home run, and four RBI.

Brock Holt in June: .444/.500/.611 with one double, one triple, one homer, and eight RBI.

Michael Chavis during his five-game hitting streak: 7-for-21 with one double, two home runs, and four RBI.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the series finale of this three-game series on Sunday afternoon.

Left-hander Brian Johnson will make his first start since being activated from the 10-day injured list on Friday. The 28-year-old hasn’t appeared in a game for Boston since April 5th after being shelved with inflammation in his left elbow.

In two prior appearances at Camden Yards, neither of which were starts, Johnson did not surrender a run over 1 2/3 total innings of relief.

For Baltimore, it will be another southpaw taking the mound in the form of John Means, who held the Sox to one run in each of the two starts he has made against them in 2019.

On the season as a whole, the 26-year-old owns a 1.57 ERA through eight games (six starts) at home.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the sweep and their fifth straight win.

RECAP: Mookie Betts Stays Hot and JD Martinez Reaches 100 RBI Mark as #RedSox Outslug Orioles in 19-12 Win.

In a game that took over four hours to complete and saw 31 total runs cross the plate, it was the Red Sox, with no help from their pitching staff, who came away with a series opening win against a last place Baltimore Orioles team in wild fashion.

Making his third start with Boston since being traded from Tampa Bay on July 25th, Nathan Eovaldi actually struggled. Wow.

He entered Friday having not given up a single run in 15 innings pitched with his new club, but also a career 6.10 ERA in two prior starts at Camden Yards, and the latter prevailed last night.

Pitching into just the third inning of this one, the right-hander got hit hard by the lowly O’s for EIGHT runs, four of which were earned, on 10 hits and two walks.

Most surprisingly, Eovaldi failed to strike out a single one of the 20 batters he faced on the night.

Control was also an issue for the Houston native in his 12th outing of the year, as he only threw strikes 59% of the time on Friday. Compare that to a 73% strike rate in his previous two starts, both of which were starts that allowed Eovaldi to work at a decently quick pace, something he really could not accomplish yesterday.

I don’t think it is that big of a deal, but it is worth mentioning that Dan Butler, not Sandy Leon, who was behind the plate in his previous two appearances, caught Eovaldi. There were times when pitcher and catcher were not on the same page in terms of what to throw, and perhaps that’s what led to a rough evening for Eovaldi.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 71 (42 strikes), the 28 year-old hurler relied on his cut fastball 35 times and topped out at 99 MPH with his four-seamer in the first inning. Eovaldi will look to rebound from this disastrous start and maintain his previous stellar form in his next time out against his former club in the Tampa Bay Rays next weekend.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen too had themselves a rough night.

  • Brandon Workman cleaned up the mess left behind by Eovaldi in the third thanks to a pick off from Dan Butler to catch Tim Beckham stealing second and also tossed a scoreless fourth.
  • Drew Pomeranz, yes that Drew Pomeranz, made his first appearance out of the Red Sox bullpen since being demoted on Thursday afternoon and actually looked okay in a clean fifth. He would eventually pick up his second winning decision of the season later on.
  • Heath Hembree got knocked around for two runs on three hits and a walk in an abysmal sixth inning of work that saw the Red Sox lead shrink from three runs to one run.
  • Shoutout to Ryan Brasier, because he was the only reliever out of Boston’s ‘pen who managed to retire all three batters he faced in a shutdown seventh inning.
  • Matt Barnes gave up a solo homer to Mark Trumbo to cut his team’s lead to eight runs, but otherwise sat down three of the four batters he faced in the eighth.
  • And finally, despite giving up a run on two base knocks, Joe Kelly closed things down in the ninth to secure win number 82 for the Red Sox.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup certainly had themselves a night to remember, as they set a new season-high in runs scored with 19 of them on the evening.

Matched up against Baltimore’s ace in right-hander Dylan Bundy, who got hit hard by Boston in a game that ended up not counting because of weather late last month, the top and middle parts of the lineup got the scoring started right away to kick off the weekend.

Beginning the first by drawing a leadoff walk on four straight balls, Mookie Betts, along with JD Martinez, would come around to score two of the first three Red Sox runs on a two out three-run blast off the bat of Xander Bogaerts. His 17th of the season.

Fast forward to the fourth and trailing 8-3 all of a sudden, Brock Holt got things back on track by drawing a one out walk and would come around to score two batters later on a Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI triple. A passed ball with Mookie Betts at the plate allowed Bradley to score from third, and just like that, it was a three-run game.

Two innings later, a leadoff home run from a surging Holt cut the Orioles lead to two, and that was just the tip of the iceberg in what turned out to be a six run sixth for Boston.

Highlighted by a sac fly from Mitch Moreland that made it a one-run game, two bases loaded walks that saw the tying and go-ahead runs cross the plate, and a two RBI knock from Holt, the Red Sox found themselves with a brand new three run lead they would not have to look back from. All while the Orioles ran through three different pitchers in the inning.

In the seventh, with Donnie Hart still on the mound for Baltimore, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Mitch Moreland all reached base safely before a single out was recorded.

Benintendi, with runners on first and third, essentially put this game on ice by mashing his 15th big fly of the season, another three-run shot that gave his team a commanding 14-10 lead.

To wrap up the wild night filled with plenty of scoring, a pair of multi-RBI base hits from Mookie Betts and JD Martinez gave the Red Sox their 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th and final run of the contest.

For Betts, a bases-clearing double, his 32nd, saw Holt, Steve Pearce, and Jackie Bradley Jr. all score to up his RBI total to 62 on the season.

And for JD, a two RBI single that scored both Betts and Andrew Benintendi put his season RBI total over 100 at 101 to be exact. The first player to accomplish the feat this season.

Some notes from this win:

From @SoxNotes: Tonight’s 19-12 win marks the most runs the Red Sox have scored against the Orioles since the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1954. It had been 24 years since the Sox scored 19+ runs in any road game (4/12/94 at KC, W 22-11).

Mookie Betts has reached base 10 times in his last 11 plate appearances.

One day after Betts hit for the cycle in Toronto, Jackie Bradley Jr. finished a home run shy in four at bats last night.

JD Martinez has driven in 101 runs in 109 games played.

Entering Friday in a 2/24 slump at the plate, Brock Holt went 3/4 last night with his first home run since April 17th. He also got a hug from JD Martinez.

Faced with a double-header that starts this afternoon, it will be David Price getting the start for the Red Sox in the first of two games on what looks to be a rainy day in Baltimore.

Opposite Price will be rookie right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis for the Orioles, who has both started and pitched out of the bullpen in four games with Baltimore this season.

First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET Saturday.

As for the second game, another rookie in Yefry Ramirez will get the start for the Orioles.

Alex Cora has yet to make a decision on who will start for Boston. RHP William Cuevas has been recalled from Triple A Pawtucket and will represent the 26th man on the Red Sox roster for this today’s twin bill at Camden Yards. He, or Hector Velazquez, are realistic options to get the nod in the night-cap.

RECAP: Just Kidding, Tonight’s #RedSox Game Never Happened.

On yet another rainy night in Baltimore, the Red Sox were unable to get their game in against the Orioles, as the contest was called off a few moments ago due to inclement weather. However, the Yankees lost their game against the Rays this afternoon, so the team’s lead in the AL East now stands at 5.5 games.

Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and JD Martinez all homered in the first two innings off of O’s starter Dylan Bundy in this one, but they will not count towards their season totals.

In the lone unofficial inning he pitched in, David Price did not surrender a run against a team he has had success against over his 11-year career. He’ll get another go at it tomorrow back at Fenway Park.

With the make up date yet to be announced, the Red Sox will head back home to kick off a four-game series against the 47-53 Minnesota Twins starting on Thursday.

As I just mentioned, Price will be making the start tomorrow night. Brian Johnson, another lefty, was originally slated to start the opener against Minnesota, but given the fact Price did not break much of a sweat on Wednesday, he has been technically pushed back to pitch on Thursday. Newly acquired Nathan Eovaldi’s season debut with the club has also been pushed back to Monday.

On the flip side, RHP Kyle Gibson gets the start for the Twins in what will be his second start against Boston this season. In his only other appearance against them at home, the 30-year old Gibson surrendered two runs on seven hits in six innings pitched in a losing effort back on June 21st.

First pitch of the four-game series opener is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET on Thursday.

It was a long night, but at least we got this Brock Holt performance out of it.

RECAP: Benintendi, Lin, and Moreland Account for Eight Hits as #RedSox Squeak by Orioles in 3-1 Win.

Going for their fifth straight series win, the Boston Red Sox took care of business against the Baltimore Orioles on Jackie Robinson Day. In the third installment of this four-game series, it was a battle of aces at a chilly Fenway Park today. Chris Sale, making his fourth start of the season, was matched up against the best starting pitcher on the Orioles roster, Dylan Bundy.

Although he was effective, Sale’s pitch count limited him to just five innings pitched. In that span, the left hander out of Florida allowed just one run on two hits and two walks while fanning eight. Both hits and that one run came across the plate for the Orioles on a Manny Machado RBI double in the first. After that, Sale was nearly perfect, as he recorded seven of his eight strikeouts over the next four innings he appeared in. With his pitch count already at 93 through five innings, Sale’s day come to an end.

Through his first four starts of the season, I have to say that I respect the approach the Red Sox have had with Chris Sale so far. He has yet to throw more than six innings or 93 pitches in any start. Conserving him, along with the rest of the rotation, could prove to be beneficial later in the season and into the postseason as well.

Anyway, it was Heath Hembree who got the call for the top half of the sixth. While he did give up a leadoff single to Craig Gentry, Hembree settled down by retiring the next six batters he faced in the sixth and later on in the seventh. After that, Matt Barnes, who was doing his best to stay warm, tossed a nearly clean eighth inning, as he walked one and struck out two to make way for Craig Kimbrel in the ninth.

The flamethrower got Adam Jones to line out to right for the first out of the inning. Then he proceeded to strike out the next two batters he faced on 13 pitches, ending the game and collecting his fifth save of the season. So far in 2018, Kimbrel has yet to allow a run in seven innings pitched, striking out 10 along the way to go with just four walks.

On the other side of things, Dylan Bundy was able to hold the Red Sox lineup in check for a little while. It wasn’t until the fifth inning when they broke through for their first run of the game. That happened after Jackie Bradley Jr. reached first after grounding into a force out and stole second with Andrew Benintendi at the plate. On a 1-1 count, Benintendi took a 91 MPH fastball from Bundy and ripped it down the right field line for a triple that scored Bradley from second in the process and tied the game at one.

With Bundy still on the mound in the sixth, the Red Sox struck for two more runs. The go-ahead run came across with Rafael Devers at the plate and no outs in the inning. With JD Martinez already at third, a ball that got away from Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph gave Martinez just enough time to score and give the Red Sox a one run lead.

Two batters later, Tzu-Wei Lin drove in Mitch Moreland from third on hard hit ground-rule double to give the Red Sox their third and final run of the day.

Speaking of Lin and Moreland, the both of them put together an impressive day at the plate. Combined, they went 5-for-9 with one RBI hitting in the fourth and ninth spots in the lineup. Andrew Benintendi racked up three hits and an RBI himself.

Not the most effective day at the plate, but that’s understandable given just how poor the conditions were in Boston today.

Unfortunately, there will be no game tomorrow. This tweet just popped up on my timeline and I am now bummed out.

Morning baseball on Patriots Day is hard to beat. I guess we will have to wait until May 17th to see if the Red Sox can finish the sweep.

With that in mind, the next game the Red Sox will play will be in Anaheim to take on the red-hot Angels. David Price will get the start for the opener on Tuesday, and he’ll be facing off against Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani. First pitch is scheduled for 10:07 PM ET.