Xander Bogaerts’ Grand Slam Caps off Seven-Run Eighth Inning for #RedSox in 9-2 Win over White Sox

After going off for a season-high 15 runs on Saturday night, the Red Sox followed that up with a seven-run eighth inning on Sunday in a 9-2 rout over the Chicago White Sox to take the series three games to one.

Making his sixth start of the season and coming off his best outing last time out in this one was Rick Porcello.

Well-versed in working at Guaranteed Rate Field, the right-hander surrendered just two earned runs on five hits and no walks to go along with seven strikeouts over six quality innings on the afternoon.

Both of those Chicago runs came on a pair of solo home runs, with the first coming off the bat of Ryan Cordell in the fifth and the second coming from Jose Abreu an inning later.

That Abreu solo shot tied the game at two at the time it was mashed, but Porcello responded in a positive way by sitting down the final two White Sox hitters he faced in the sixth to kill any shot of a multi-run inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 102 (74 strikes), the 30-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball 35% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing six swings and misses and topping out at 93.1 MPH with the pitch.

Unable to pick up the winning decision because of that second home run, Porcello did lower his ERA on the season down 5.11 thanks to his third consecutive quality start dating back to April 25th. He’ll look for his third W of the year in his next time out, which should come against the Seattle Mariners back at Fenway Park next weekend.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final three innings of this one.

Brandon Workman got the call for the seventh in a tie-game situation, and he worked his way around a leadoff walk to pick up his second winning decision of the season with another scoreless frame of relief.

From there, after the Red Sox jumped out to a seven-run advnatage in their half of the eighth, Marcus Walden shut down the White Sox in their half of the inning before Colten Brewer locked down the 9-2 win with a scoreless, yet erratic ninth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against White Sox right-hander Dylan Covey, someone who went unbeaten in two appearances (one start, one relief outing) against Boston last season.

Coming off an offensive outpour on Saturday, the Red Sox bats were held in check by Covey through the fifth, managing to push across just two runs on a second inning RBI single from Mitch Moreland and more of the same from JD Martinez in that fifth inning.

They certainly had their chances to score even more off the White Sox starter, but it wasn’t until the eighth where the offense really picked things up, just like what they did in the third inning Saturday.

Entering the frame in a 2-2 contest with flame throwing reliever Kelvin Herrera on the bump for Chicago, a one out single from Rafael Devers, followed by some sloppy fielding from the White Sox that allowed the Red Sox infielder to reach third base safely, would end up being the catalyst for another massive inning.

After a mound visit and a five-pitch walk drawn by Michael Chavis, Moreland came through in the clutch yet again, beating the shift with another RBI single up the middle to drive in Devers from third and give his team a lead they would not have to look back from.

Three batters and one Jackie Bradley Jr. walk to load the bases later, Eduardo Nunez, pinch-hitting for Sandy Leon, knocked in Boston’s fourth run of the afternoon with a little RBI dribbler down the third base line that barely stayed fair. 4-2 and keeping the line moving.

With the lineup turning back over, Chicago turned to left-hander Caleb Frare in relief of Herrera, and he walked the lone hitter he faced in Andrew Benintendi by nearly striking him in the head with a wild pitch. Regardless, Moreland scored and the Red Sox had a 5-2 lead.

That three-run lead would not last long though, as Xander Bogaerts essentially put this game on ice by greeting new White Sox reliever Juan Minaya with his first grand slam and sixth homer of the season.

The Red Sox’ second granny of 2019 belongs to Bogaerts, and it all but sealed a 9-2 win to close out a successful weekend in the Windy City.

Some notes from this win:

In his last five games, Rafael Devers is slashing .364/.400/.591 with one home run and six RBI.

Michael Chavis may not have recorded a hit on Sunday, but he did make this outstanding diving play in shallow right field in the eighth inning.

The Red Sox are 8-3 in their last 11 games.

Unbeaten in their last two series, the Red Sox will head to Baltimore for the first time in 2019 for a three-game set against the Baltimore Orioles scheduled to begin on Monday.

31-year-old right hander Josh Smith will get the start for Boston, while lefty John Means will do the same for Baltimore.

Recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on April 26th, Smith closed out Boston’s 6-1 win over the White Sox this past Friday in his only big league appearance so far this season.

Means, meanwhile, owns a lifetime 6.48 ERA over two career outings (one start) and 8.1 innings against the Red Sox.

First pitch of the series opener Monday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their fourth straight win.

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone.

 

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#RedSox Make History and Clinch Home Field Advantage with 106th Win of Season.

The Boston Red Sox have been in existence since 1901. Never before have they won as many games in a single regular season as they have in 2018 following a 6-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.

Nathan Eovaldi, making his 20th start of the season in this one, set the tone with quality innings, as he surrendered just one run on four hits and zero walks to go along with 10 strikeouts on the night to tie a career-high.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox combined to give up just one run over the final four frames against Baltimore in this series opener, including two scoreless from Eduardo Rodriguez and a scoreless ninth from Matt Barnes.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy, and they got to him for four runs, all of which crossed the plate in the bottom half of the second.

Three straight one out hits from Steve Pearce, Brock Holt, and Christian Vazquez put Boston up by two runs early, and Mookie Betts wrapped an already solid offensive inning up by mashing a 351 foot two-run shot over the Green Monster.

With that homer, Betts set a new career high in home runs in a single season with his 32nd of the year.

Fast forward to the fourth, and a pair of RBI singles from Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts gave the Red Sox a commanding 6-0 lead, which is all they would need to make history and clinch home field throughout the postseason at Fenway Park.

Some notes from this 6-2 win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox improve to 106-51, marking a new franchise record for wins in a season. They are the 19th team since 1900 to win as many as 106 games.

The Sox have secured sole possession of MLB’s best record for the 5th time in franchise history (also 1903, 1912, 1915, and 1946).

In the month of September, Nathan Eovaldi has posted a 1.50 ERA in four games (three starts).

Mookie Betts is slashing .368/.457/.763 with three home runs and nine RBI since September 9th.

So, there you have it. Most wins ever in a single regular season in Red Sox history. The road to the World Series now goes through Boston.

First pitch of the middle game of the series is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET Tuesday with David Price on the mound. Weather might be an issue, we’ll see.

 

RECAP: Chris Sale Deals Against Former Team but #RedSox Get Shutout in Series Opener.

After taking two out of the three from the Detroit Tigers this past week, the Red Sox welcomed another AL Central opponent in the Chicago White Sox to town for a three game weekend set on Friday. In a pitching matchup between Dylan Covey for the White Sox and Chris Sale for the Red Sox, neither teams lineups could do much last night, as the two sides combined for one total run.

In his 14th start of the season, Sale put together a fantastic performance against his former club. Having surrendered 10 earned runs in his last 10.1 innings pitched in his last two starts, the lefty limited the White Sox to just one run in eight innings pitched last night.

Over those eight innings, Sale scattered seven hits and one walk while fanning 10 on 109 pitches, 79 of which went for strikes.

Fastball velocity has been a topic of conversation for Sale this season, but he was consistently throwing heat. Out of those 109 pitches mentioned above, 11 were clocked in at 99 MPH or higher, with the fastest coming in at 100.3 MPH on the hurler’s 69th pitch of the night in the fifth. I don’t know if the radar gun at Fenway was acting up a bit, but seeing Sale consistently reach 95+ MPH on Friday was certainly impressive stuff.

With all that said, Sale did make some mistakes last night, and the most costly of them came in the seventh. On the first pitch of the inning, White Sox catcher Kevin Smith lined a softly hit ground-rule double just in between Brock Holt and the right field wall to put a runner at second with no outs.

Two batters later, after Smith had advanced to third on a Yoan Moncada groundout, Trayce Thompson drove in the go-ahead run on a line drive single to left that was just out of Xander Bogaerts’ reach. With Smith scoring from third on the play, the only run of the night crossed the plate. Can’t put the blame on Sale for that one, more bad luck than anything.

Other than that though, Sale escaped the seventh thanks to Sandy Leon picking off Thompson at second base.

I found it a bit surprising to see him come back out for the eight, but the Florida native ended his night on a positive note by retiring the side in order in the eighth. A performance worthy of a win, but the Red Sox lineup definitely let Sale down.

Speaking of the Red Sox lineup, they managed to reach base FOUR times against a White Sox with one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball. Credit to starter Dylan Covey though, he, like Sale, was also fantastic last night.

Andrew Benintendi led off things in the first with a double to left field that almost went for a solo homer, but fell just short. Brock Holt followed that up by drawing a seven pitch walk to put runners on first and second with no outs, but nothing came of it.

Later in the fifth, a one out double off the bat of Rafael Devers created another scoring chance for the Red Sox, but nothing came of it with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Blake Swihart both striking out to end the inning.

Two innings later, a similar situation presented itself when the Red Sox chased Covey out of the game and had runners on first and second with one out after Mitch Moreland reached on a force out at second and Eduardo Nunez reached on an E5. Unfortunately, White Sox reliever Jace Fry struck out Rafael Devers and Bradley Jr. back to back and that was that.

Some notes from this one:

The Red Sox were without JD Martinez last night due to back spasms. If you remember, Martinez departed Thursday’s game against the Tigers late because of the same issue. Alex Cora said he was looking to give the Red Sox outfielder a day off anyway, and he should be back in the lineup this afternoon.

Making his second career start against the team he started his career with, Chris Sale now owns a  4.15 ERA in 13 innings pitched against the White Sox.

With the Yankees picking up a win against the New York Mets last night, the Red Sox now trail them by half a game in the American League East standings.

In the middle game of this series, it will be a pitching matchup featuring two southpaws in Carlos Rodon for the White Sox and David Price for the Red Sox. For Rodon, today will mark his first start of the season after he was placed on the 60-day disabled list on April 12th. And for Price, well, the Red Sox are undefeated in his last five starts, so that should leave you feeling pretty confident going into this afternoon’s contest. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM.