RECAP: Nine Strikeout Day for Rick Porcello Key for #RedSox in 7-4 Win to Complete Sweep of Royals.

Wrapping up a nine game road trip in Kansas City on Sunday afternoon, the Red Sox looked for their sixth straight win and their second straight sweep. With a rookie pitcher making his first career start on the bump for the Royals, they got that done in fairly simple fashion.

In his 19th start of the season yesterday, Rick Porcello was certainly not at his best, but credit to him for limiting the damage, which is something he excels at.

Pitching seven full innings in this one, the righty surrendered three runs, all earned, on nine hits and one walk while also tying a season-high in strikeouts with nine on the day.

What looked to be a stress free outing for Porcello turned into a bit of a rough one starting in the third inning and carrying over to the fourth as well. Over that stretch, the Royals got to the New Jersey native for five of their nine hits, three which came consecutively in the third, and all three of their runs. After what David Price went through on Saturday night, this did not seem all that encouraging, but Porcello settled down after that.

After striking out Adalberto Mondesi to retire the side in the sixth, you would think that Porcello’s day would come to an end with his pitch count nearing 100. Instead, he came back out for the seventh.

That decision looked like it was going to backfire immediately for Alex Cora and the Red Sox, as the Royals led the bottom half of the frame off by putting runners on second and third after consecutive hits from Drew Butera and Whit Merrifield.

Following a brief mound visit from Cora, Porcello still remained in the game, high pitch count and all. He must have gotten strong words of encouragement during that visit, because he sat down the next three batters he faced on 10 pitches to both strand the runners in scoring position and end his day on a positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 111 (78 strikes), the 29 year-old hurler relied on his slider the most yesterday, as he went to it 40 times. He also topped out at 93.1 MPH with his four-seam fastball in the seventh inning.

Beginning his July with two solid outings against the Nationals and Royals, Porcello will look to build on this success he has found in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday in what will be his last start before the All-Star Break.

In relief of Porcello, Matt Barnes got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the eighth inning, and he retired the side in order while picking up two strikeouts along the way.

That set things up for Tyler Thornburg to make his second appearance in three days for the ninth, and he was not at the top of his game either. Keep in mind that it as a 7-3 game by the time Thornburg took the mound, but he was unable to finish the inning while allowing the Royals to score their fourth run of the contest. With that being said, Craig Kimbrel had to come on in what turned out to be a save opportunity.

With two outs still to get, the Red Sox closer gave up a single to Jorge Bonifacio, which meant the tying run for Kansas City was now at the plate and represented by Mike Moustakas and Lucas Duda after him.

Luckily, Kimbrel buckled down, struck out both Moustakas and Duda, and came away with his 27th save of the season to ensure his teams 62nd win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a pitcher in Heath Fillmyer who had yet to make a big league start. Righty Jakob Junis was supposed to make the start for the Royals, but he was placed on the disabled list with lower back inflammation on Sunday morning.

Instead, Fillmyer got the nod, and it took a little while for the Red Sox lineup to get going. In fact, it wasn’t until the third inning when they finally got on the board thanks to a sacrifice fly off the bat of Steve Pearce to score Mookie Betts from third.

After the Royals took the 2-1 lead in their half of the third, Eduardo Nunez responded by driving in the tying run on a one out RBI single in the fourth to score Xander Bogaerts, who had reached base on a fielding error to leadoff the top half of the frame, from second.

Following another bottom half of an inning in which the Royals tacked on what looked to be a go-ahead run, the Red Sox responded again in the top of the fifth.

With Fillmyer still on the mound for Kansas City, The 1-2-3 hitters in the Red Sox lineup all reached base with one out to load the bases for Mitch Moreland. In a five pitch at bat, Moreland eventually drew a walk to score Mookie Betts from third and pick up his first of two RBI on the day.

Following a pitching change, Xander Bogaerts followed that Moreland at bat up by simply launching a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing Andrew Benintendi to easily score from third for what turned out to be the go-ahead run.

Fast forward to the seventh now, and the Red Sox essentially put this thing out of reach by tacking on an additional three runs of insurance. Highlighted by RBI hits from Moreland, Bogaerts, and Nunez, Boston entered the seventh with a 4-3 lead, and by the time the side had been retired by Royals reliever Enny Romero, that lead had inflated to 7-3. A lead in which they would not have to look back from.

Some notes from this win:

After reaching base six times on Saturday, Andrew Benintendi reached base in his first four at bats against the Royals on Sunday, taking him to ten straight plate appearances in which he reached base before striking out in the eighth.

Heading into the home stretch of the first half of the season, the Red Sox are 62-29.

With seven games still to play before hitting the All-Star Break, the Red Sox are back home to take on the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays. For the opener against Texas tonight, it will be a pitching matchup featuring two lefties in Mike Minor and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Coming off a start in which he strung together six shutout innings against the Nationals, Rodriguez will look to rebound against a team that he gave up three home runs to back on May 5th in Arlington. First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:10 PM at Fenway Park.

Also, vote for Andrew Benintendi.

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RECAP: Powered by Three Home Runs, #RedSox Cruise to 11-4 Win over Nationals.

On the night following a tight 4-3 win over the Washington Nationals on Monday, the Red Sox were back out there on Tuesday looking to clinch an interleague series on another hot night in the nation’s capital.

Making his second start since Steven Wright was placed on the disables list on June 26th, Brian Johnson, although effective, found himself making another short start last night. In his last time out against the Angels on Thursday, the lefty managed to toss four innings of one run ball in a game his team won. And on Tuesday, Johnson went two outs deeper than he did in his previous start.

Pitching into the fifth inning of this one, Johnson surrendered two runs, both earned, on eight hits and two walks while fanning two as well. Those two runs came in the Florida native’s last full frame in the fourth, an inning in which the Nationals reached base four times.

In a bottom half of the fifth that saw Washington reach base two times in three attempts to lead things off, Johnson’s night came to an end after he got Daniel Murphy to line out to JD Martinez for the second out of the inning.

Unable to pick up the winning decision, the 27-year-old finished with 77 pitches (52 strikes) on the night, 16 more than he threw in his last start. Out of those 77, Johnson went to his four-seam fastball 54% of the time and topped out at 91 MPH with it.

As for his next start, all signs are pointing towards Steven Wright making a return to the Red Sox rotation before the All-Star Break. Now, I don’t know if that means Wright will be ready to start a game within the next five days, but it’s something to watch for. And regardless of who’s pitching, Johnson or Wright would more than likely start against the Texas Rangers next Monday.

Anyway, in relief of Johnson, Heath Hembree was inserted into this one with one more out to get in the fifth. With runners already at first and second, Hembree proceeded to make things more difficult for himself by giving up a single to Mark Reynolds to load the bases.

Remember, at this point in the game, the Red Sox had just gone up by seven runs thanks to a six run effort in the top half of the fifth. If Hembree, were to have given up anywhere from to two to four runs here, the momentum of the game could have shifted just like that. Instead, he got Michael A. Taylor to strike out on six pitches to get out of the jam.

After striking out in his first career at bat in the top half of the sixth, the righty reliever would come back out for a second inning of work in the bottom half. With that, Nationals catcher Pedro Severino greeted Hembree by blasting a 425 foot home run to lead off the inning. Luckily, Hembree rebounded by striking out the side and ending his night on a more positive note.

From that point on, Brandon Workman picked up his first win of the season by tossing a 1-2-3 seventh. William Cuevas made his first appearance for the Red Sox since 2016 as well last night, and despite giving up a run on two hits, wrapped this win up by going the last two innings.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was powered by two three-run homers and one two-run homer, so that’s eight of the 11 runs scored right there.

Facing off against a starter who had only made one career appearance against Boston in Nationals righty Tanner Roark, Eduardo Nunez got the scoring started with his 6th home run of the season, a three-run jack in the second inning.

Three innings later, it was Brian Johnson, yes Brian Johnson, who got a six run rally started with a one out single.

Capped off by a JD Martinez 2 RBI single, a Steve Pearce RBI single, and a Xander Bogaerts three run home run, the Red Sox went into the halfway point of this one with a 9-2 lead.

Fast forward all the way to the top of the ninth, with this game already out of reach, JD Martinez decided he was not satisfied with his 2 RBI night, so he added on another two with his league-leading 26th big fly of the season.

That put the Red Sox up 11-4 and all but ensured the team their 58th win of the season heading into the final game of this interleague series.

Some notes from this W:

Not related to the Red Sox, but the Nationals managed to let Tanner Roark pitch seven innings in this game. He gave up NINE runs, so credit to him for eating some innings in a game that was lost in the fifth inning.

Back to Red Sox related stuff, Mitch Moreland had to depart from this game in the third inning due to back spasms. He should be ready to go in time for the series opener in Kansas City on Friday.

Since joining the Red Sox five days ago, Steve Pearce is 4/9 in three games with at least one at bat. He’ll be starting at first base tomorrow morning.

Going into Wednesday, JD Martinez leads all of baseball in home runs (26) and RBI (71).

Before tomorrow morning’s series finale, the Red Sox will activate Tyler Thornburg from the 10-day disabled list, meaning he will make his first appearance for Boston since he was traded from the Brewers two offseasons ago.

Looking for the series sweep, the Red Sox will be going with lefty Eduardo Rodriguez for the finale. Winless in his last two starts, Rodriguez will be matched up against Nationals rookie Erick Fedde, who owns a 6.00 ERA in five games started this season. With it being the Fourth of July and all, first pitch is scheduled for a rare morning start at 11:05 AM ET. Happy Independence Day, time to break out the brooms.

 

 

 

 

RECAP: JD Martinez Makes History as #RedSox Halt Angels Comeback Attempt in 9-6 Win.

In a game that took exactly four hours complete, the Red Sox found themselves alone in first place in the American League East by the end of Wednesday night. It took a while to get there, but at the halfway point of the season in terms of games played, no team in Major League Baseball has more wins than the Red Sox.

Making his 17th start of the season last night, Rick Porcello was certainly not at his best in this one. The righty pitched into the sixth inning for the sixth time in a row, but yielded four runs, all earned, on eight hits and two free passes while striking out five.

Things were going decently smooth for the Red Sox hurler up until his fifth frame of work. With a six run lead to work with, you would figure that Porcello, who is arguably at his best when pitching with a lead, would cruise to his 10th winning decision of the year. Instead, he gave up a solo shot to the first batter he saw in the inning in ex-teammate Ian Kinsler.

That homer gave the Angels just their second run of the series up until that point and cut the Red Sox lead to five runs. An inning later, that lead shrunk some more when, after recording the first out of the inning on three pitches, three straight Angels reached base off of Porcello, with the last one being a three-run jack off the bat of catcher Martin Maldonado. 6-4 game now.

In my mind, this was the turning point of the game. Easy to say I know, but up until that point, it appeared as if the Red Sox had this thing in the bag. They have stomped on the Angels in all of their meetings this season, and it looked like we were headed in that direction once again last night up until that home run.

Porcello’s night would come to an end after he followed up that homer by getting outfielder Michael Hermosillo to ground out to short for the second out of the sixth.

Finishing with 104 pitches (66 strikes), the New Jersey native topped out at 93.4 MPH on his four-seam fastball in the first inning. He’ll miss this upcoming series against the Yankees in New York, but expect Porcello to bounce back in his next time out against the Washington Nationals on Monday.

In relief of Porcello, Heath Hembree got the first call of the Red Sox bullpen. Entering the game with two outs and the bases empty, Hembree retired the only batter he faced on three pitches to end the top half of the sixth.

Joe Kelly was next up for the beginning of the seventh, and he greeted the Angels by allowing four straight batters to reach base after recording the first out of the inning. Two singles from Justin Upton and Albert Pujols put runners on first and third with one out.

Kelly had the opportunity to turn a double play after Luis Valbuena grounded a comebacker right to him, but the Red Sox flamethrower made an awful throw to Xander Bogaerts covering second base, which allowed the ball to roll into the outfield and Justin Upton easily scored from third.

Now with Andrelton Simmons at the plate, who had already collected two hits on the night, Kelly could not sneak a 88 MPH slider by the Angels shortstop, as he drove in Pujols from second on an RBI double to knot this thing up at six runs a piece.

The Red Sox would escape any further damage thanks to two clutch strikeouts to retire the side in the top half of the seventh. The first coming from Kelly against Kole Calhoun for the second out of the inning and the second coming from Matt Barnes against Martin Maldonado for the final out.

Speaking of Barnes, the UCONN product came back out for the eighth inning as well, this time with a two run lead to work with. Unfortunately for him, sandwiched in between the first two outs of the frame were an E5 committed by Rafael Devers and a six pitch walk to Mike Trout.

That put the Angels in an ideal scoring spot, so Alex Cora made the bold decision and turned to his closer in the eighth inning.

In a rare situation, Craig Kimbrel got his night started by loading the bases after throwing a wild pitch and walking Albert Pujols.

The drama ensued into the next at bat with Luis Valbuena at the plate. After getting ahead in the count with a first pitch strike, Kimbrel missed three straight times to move the count to 3-1. Thankfully, the other Red Sox flamethrower rebounded by getting the next call in his favor on what could have been ball four, then got Valbuena swinging on a 98 MPH heater to retire the side.

Coming back out for the ninth, Kimbrel had a much easier go at it, as he retired the side in order to pick up his 23rd save of the season, the first for him since June 14th.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup had their way against another Angels starting pitcher in lefty Andrew Heaney.

Going off for three home runs in the second inning, Eduardo Nunez got the scoring started by blasting his fifth of the season to lead things off.

After Rafael Devers reached first on a single, Sandy Leon drove him in along with himself on his third homer of the year.

Four batters later, with runners on first and third, JD Martinez capped off the home run frenzy by mashing his 25th big fly of the season, making him the first player in Red Sox history to hit as many as 25 home runs before the first of July.

Heading into the third inning with an early six run lead, the bats went quiet for a bit. There was a time in the bottom of the fifth where it looked like another rally was about to take shape when Eduardo Nunez led the inning off on what should have been an infield single.

The original ruling was an out, but after the replay from NESN, it was pretty clear that Albert Pujols missed the tag and the Red Sox challenged it. I don’t know what they saw in Hoboken, but after the review, Nunez was ruled out. So, what’s the point of replay review if the call ends up being wrong AFTER the review? Very confusing.

Anyway, once the Angels stormed back to tie things up in the top of the seventh, the Red Sox lineup responded by tacking on two of their own in the bottom half of the inning.

With two outs, a walk drawn by Eduardo Nunez and back-to back RBI knocks for Rafael Devers and Sandy Leon put some distance between the Red Sox and Angels, and they would not have to look back.

In the ninth, a wild pitch with Mitch Moreland at the plate allowed JD Martinez to score from third after he reached base on a force out. Unfortunately, the Angels pitcher who slid into home trying to get the out, Jake Jewell, took a nasty tumble and landed awkwardly on the right handle. I won’t share the video, but I wish him the best.

On a less somber note, here are some notes from this win:

JD Martinez has already hit more home runs this season (25) than anyone on the Red Sox had in 2017 (Mookie Betts led the team with 24).

The 6-9 hitters in the Red Sox lineup (Nunez, Devers, Leon, and Bradley Jr.) went 7/15 with two home runs and five RBI last night.

With the series already in hand, the Red Sox will look for the sweep later tonight before a huge series against the Yankees this weekend. Brian Johnson gets the start in Boston in place of the injured Steven Wright. It will be his first start since April 2nd when he gave up one run in six innings pitched against the Marlins in Miami. He’ll be matched up against Angels rookie Jaime Barria, who owns a 3.40 ERA in 10 starts this season. First pitch of the finale is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

 

 

RECAP: Chris Sale Fans 13 in Seven Shutout Innings as #RedSox Take Series from Mariners.

For the second time in less than 24 hours, a left-handed pitcher tossed a shutout at Fenway Park. Mike Leake did it for the Mariners with eight scoreless innings in a win last night, and Chris Sale did it for the Red Sox with seven scoreless frames this afternoon.

In his 17th start of the season on Sunday, Sale looked as dominant as ever. Coming off a performance against the Twins in which he took a perfect game into the fifth inning last Tuesday, the lefty did not give up his first hit in this one until there were two outs in the third.

Ending his day with a line of 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB Sale never found himself in too much troubles in his ninth career start against the Mariners. After he gave up his first hit of the game to Denard Span in the third inning, the 29-year-old escaped any further stress with a nice pick-off move on Span to retire the side.

An inning later, another two out situation arose when Nelson Cruz ripped a triple off of Sale. Regardless of the fact that Cruz should have been out at third base, the Red Sox hurler rebounded by striking out Ryon Healy on four pitches to escape the jam.

In the sixth, it looked as though the Mariners were about to tack on their first two runs of the day when, after Andrew Romine reached first on a bunt single, Mitch Haniger hit a sharp line drive towards Seattle’s bullpen. Instead of  a home run though, Mookie Betts came up with the clutch inning-ending snag to rob Haniger of what would have been his 17th long ball of the season.

If not this catch, the highlight of the afternoon might just be how Sale ended his day in his final frame of work. It was more than likely the Florida native’s toughest inning, as he allowed two to reach on a single and a walk and needed 19 pitches, but it was all worth it thanks to his last pitch against Mike Zunino.

100.5 MPH(!!!) on that fastball, the fastest pitch recorded by Sale on 93 attempts, 71 of which went for strikes. Going to his four-seamer 44% of the time on Sunday, 20 of the 21 fastest recorded pitches in this game belonged to Sale.

With the Red Sox lineup actually giving the southpaw some run support today, Sale was able to notch his seventh winning decision of the season.

And thanks to two additional scoreless innings from Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes out of the bullpen, the Red Sox recorded their sixth shutout win on the year as well.

On the flip side of things, Mariners starter Marco Gonzales was the one starter the Red Sox did not see in Seattle. With a cumulative .685 OPS against lefties this season, it was going to see how the lineup would stack up the day after getting shutout by another left-handed starter.

After being held to one hit over the first four innings, Xander Bogaerts got a three-run rally started in the fifth with a leadoff double. Following that up with a single off the bat of Eduardo Nunez, Rafael Devers put his team on the board first by ripping an RBI double to the right field corner to score Bogaerts from third. Two sacrifice flies from Sandy Leon and Mookie Betts later, and the Red Sox found themselves up by three going into the sixth inning.

In the bottom half of the sixth, Mitch Moreland stayed hot and wrapped up the scoring on the afternoon by mashing his 11th home run of the season, a 415 foot two-run missile hit to dead center field.

That put the Red Sox up by five runs, which is all they would need to pick up their 52nd win of the season.

Some notes from this W:

The Red Sox improved to 2-4 in games started by Chris Sale when he records 10 or more strikeouts. Maddening stuff.

Per @RedSoxStats: Most swing and misses by a Sox starter in the pitch tracking era:
26 of 93 Chris Sale, today
26 of 114 Clay Buchholz, April, 2010
26 of 116 Chris Sale, May 2018

With that home run, Mitch Moreland extended his hitting streak to seven games. Over that stretch, the Red Sox first baseman is 12/27 with seven RBI.

Jackie Bradley Jr. went 3/3 at the plate batting ninth today, his first multi-hit game since June 5th against Detroit.

After an off day on Monday, the Red Sox will welcome the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim into town for a three-game series set to kick off Tuesday night. In a matchup of elite outfielders in Mike Trout and Mookie Betts, I’m fascinated to see how much national attention this series will receive.

For the opener, it will be another starting pitching matchup featuring two lefties. John Lamb will be making his third start of the season for the Angels, and David Price will be making his 16th start of the season against the Red Sox. First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET on Tuesday.

 

RECAP: #RedSox Head Home with a Series Split as Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland Homer Against Astros Again.

Not gonna lie, after the Red Sox lost their second straight game to the Houston Astros on Friday night, I was not feeling too confident about the rest of the series. With Justin Verlander and Charlie Morton taking th mound for the Astros, I honestly thought the Red Sox were going to head back home on Sunday night having gotten swept by arguably the best team in the American League. Instead of that though, they battled back, and thanks to great performances from David Price and Rick Porcello, they left Houston last night with a series split. Not too shabby.

Yup, Porcello made his 13th start of the season in this one, and he found himself working around a solid amount of baserunners all night.

Things did not get off to the best of starts for the righty, as Astros leadoff hitter George Springer greeted Porcello with a solo home run on the third pitch he saw. After that though, the Astros were held to just two runs in the seven innings Porcello appeared in.

As I previously mentioned, Porcello was dealing with runners on base throughout the night. In fact, the Astros led off every inning other than the fourth by reaching base at least once before the first out was recorded. Despite that fact, the Red Sox starter manevured his way around five hits, two walks, and two HBPs in total to earn his eighth winning decision of the season.

When he made his way to the mound for his seventh inning of work with a pitch count of around 75, I thought Porcello had a chance to toss a complete game. Instead, similar to his last time out against the Blue Jays, the New Jersey native sort of let things fall apart in his final frame of work. In neither of those outings did things get away from the Red Sox, but I just find it interesting how in his last two starts, Porcello has surrendered two runs in the seventh inning, and he was not able to finish the seventh in both of those outings.

Anyway, having gotten himself in a bit of a jam with only one out in the seventh, Matt Barnes came on to replace Porcello in a high-leverage situation. Facing Jose Altuve with runners on first and second, the UCONN product retired the side in a big way by striking out Altuve and getting Carlos Correa to ground into an inning-ending force play at second base.

Coming back out for his second inning of work in the eighth, Barnes needed just 15 pitches to retire the side in order and earn his 14th hold of the season. Definitely a great night for him.

With this game out of reach going into the bottom of the ninth, Heath Hembree worked his way around two walks in a scoreless inning of work to wrap this game and series up while also providing us with this epic shot from ESPN.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup struck first for the second night in a row. Andrew Benintendi got things started with a leadoff double off of Astros righty Charlie Morton, and Mitch Moreland brought him home three batters later on his 10th home run of the season.

441 feet with an exit velocity of 107.3 MPH on that shot.

Fast forward to the fifth, and Andrew Benintendi came through with a one out home run on the first pitch he saw from Morton, which just so happened to be an 88 MPH cutter on the inner half of the plate.

406 feet on that home run from Benintendi, with an exit velo. of 103.3 MPH as well on his ninth big fly of the season.

An inning later, back to back hits from Brock Holt and Blake Swihart with runners on base tacked on another three runs to the Red Sox lead and that would be the end of the night for Charlie Morton. Giving up a whopping six runs, this was his worst start of the season.

Things did not fare better for the Astros when they turned to their bullpen though, as Brock Holt struck once again in the eighth inning off of Collin McHugh on an RBI single.

And finally, pinch-hitting for JD Martinez in the ninth, the recently called up Sam Travis came out of nowhere and lined a two-run single off of Ken Giles to put his team up 9-3, which ended up being the final score.

Some notes from this win:

In the ten games he has appeared in since giving up two runs to the Yankees on May 9th, opponents are hitting .135 off of Matt Barnes in 11 shutout innings.

As of May 11th, Andrew Benintendi’s slash line was sitting at .243/.335/.404. In 21 games since then, he is slashing .388/.457/.763 with 7 HR and 23 RBI.

The Red Sox got beat up a little bit on Sunday night. JD Martinez had to exit with back spasms in the ninth inning, Xander Bogaerts appeared to be limping after scoring from second in the ninth, and Eduardo Nunez took a hard groundball off his face at third. Luckily for them, Monday is an off day for the Red Sox, as they will kick off a three game series against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday.

For that opening game, it will be righty Artie Lewicki on the mound for Detroit, while Steven Wright gets the start for Boston. This doesn’t mean that anyone has lost their spot in the rotation, it just means that all the other starters are getting an additional day of rest. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM on Tuesday back at Fenway Park.

 

 

 

RECAP: Eduardo Rodriguez Takes a Perfect Game into Fifth Inning as #RedSox End Homestand with a Win over Blue Jays.

In his 11th start of the season on Wednesday, Eduardo Rodriguez took a perfect game into the fifth inning against the Blue Jays. It was not until Kendrys Morales reached on a one out single when the no-no came to an end. But still, a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play with Devon Travis at the plate and Morales caught stealing got Rodriguez out of the inning while still facing the minimum 15 batters through five.

With a two run lead heading into the sixth, the lefty retired the first two batters he faced in order before walking Giovanny Ursehela on eight pitches. Things got even worse for Rodriguez in the next at bat, as Blue Jays right fielder Teoscar Hernandez took the native of Venezuela deep down the left field line to knot this thing up at two. In a matter of minutes, it went from cruise control to tie game.

Rodriguez would retire the side by getting Kevin Pillar to strike out swinging. After giving up a single to Justin Smoak in between getting the first two outs of the seventh, the 25-year-old’s day would come to an end with Devon Travis, a righty, coming to the plate. Finishing with exactly 100 pitches (70 strikes), Rodriguez capped off the month of May with one of his better starts of the season. He will look to build on this momentum in his next start, which should come against the Detroit Tigers next week.

In relief of the Red Sox starter, Matt Barnes would come on for his first appearance in five days. Needing just one out to get out the seventh, Devon Travis reached on a fielding error committed by Blake Swihart at first base, but Barnes got Curtis Granderson to fly out to center two pitches later to end the inning.

The UCONN product would come back out for another frame of work in the eighth, and he retired the 8-9-1 hitters for Toronto in order on 10 pitches.

Similar to Tuesday night, the ninth inning did not have to be a stressful one for the Red Sox, given the fact they had a four run lead, but it did. Lefty Brian Johnson got the call for the final frame, but he failed to record an out while surrendering back to back singles to Kevin Pillar and Yangervis Solarte. With the tying run in the on deck circle now, Alex Cora made the switch to his closer, Craig Kimbrel, to get out of another jam.

The Red Sox flamethrower walked the first batter he faced in Justin Smoak to load the bases, then served up a two-run double to Kendrys Morales to cut the Blue Jays deficit in half with still no outs in the inning. Luckily though, Kimbrel settled down and sat down the next three batters he faced in the 7-8-9 hitters for Toronto to pick up his 18th save of the season. “Another happy landing”, as Obi-Wan Kenobi would probably say if he were a Red Sox fan, but at least with the additional work, Kimbrel now only trails Mariners closer Edwin Diaz for the most saves in the American League with 19.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup failed to score eight runs for the third straight game. Instead, they only scored six, wow.

Blake Swihart got the ball rolling in the third when he led things off with a hard hit single off of Blue Jays starter Sam Gaviglio. Two batters later, with Swihart now at second, Jackie Bradley Jr. stayed hot by ripping an RBI double to left field. That allowed Swihart to score from second and the Red Sox were up 1-0.

They easily could have scored more in the third, but Andrew Benintendi was caught stealing second after he singled, and Jackie Bradley Jr. was tagged out by catcher Luke Maile trying to score from third on a wild pitch with Xander Bogaerts at the plate. Talk about squandering some scoring opportunities.

Fast forward to the fifth, with Gaviglio still on the mound for Toronto, and Eduardo Nunez led the inning off by mashing his first home run since the first of May to put the Red Sox up by two.

An inning later, after the Blue Jays had come back to tie it up with a home run of their own, JD Martinez got in on the long ball action as well.

434 feet on that home run. 434! Martinez tied Mike Trout for the league lead in home runs with 18 thanks to that go-ahead rocket over the Green Monster.

In the eighth, Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt tacked on another pair of runs for the Red Sox, which turned out to actually be fairly important since they only won by two runs. Nunez got his on a one out RBI double that scored Xander Bogaerts from second, and Holt got his on an RBI single that probably would have been an out if the Blue Jays infield were positioned normally. That put the Red Sox up 6-2, and despite some worries in the ninth, they would not have to look back.

Some notes from this win:

Over his last 10 games, Eduardo Nunez has quietly raised his batting average from .233 to .249, his OBP from .256 to .265, and his SLG from .353 to .381.

Over his last 10 games, Jackie Bradley Jr. is slashing .345/.406/.552 with 10 hits in 29 at bats.

With one home run and two RBIs today, JD Martinez now leads the league in runs driven in with 47 of them on the season.


All and all, the Red Sox outscored the Blue Jays 22-10 in this three game series. All three starting pitchers, Price, Porcello, and Rodriguez all looked decent on the mound as well.

Headed into a four game series against the Houston Astros in Houston that starts tomorrow, this weekend is going to be big. Drew Pomeranz kicks things off, as he will be matched up against Astros righty Lance McCullers Jr. First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 8:10 PM ET. Mookie Betts should be back in the lineup.

RECAP: David Price Tosses Six Quality Innings as #RedSox Pick up Series Win Against Rays.

Coming off a series opening win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, the Red Sox looked to clinch the series and their fourth straight win with David Price on the mound last night. With Chris Archer getting the start on the other side of the Rays, we were treated to a great pitching matchup between former teammates and close friends.

In his 10th start of the season, fourth against the Rays, David Price was fantastic. Going against his old club, the lefty tossed six innings of one run ball, scattering three hits and three free passes while recording a season high nine strikeouts over that span.

The only costly mistakes the Tennessee native made did not transpire until his last inning of work. After walking leadoff man Denard Span on six pitches, CJ Con took Price deep to center field for what looked like a go-ahead two run home run. Instead, it bounced off the top of the wall and stayed in play. It did allow the speedy Span to score all the way from First, but Price settled down and retired the next three batters he faced in order. That was how the 32-year-old’s night would end. Not a bad way to follow-up a complete game.

Ever since that awful start against the Rangers in Texas, David Price has looked like the David Price of old. He gave up seven earned runs in that outing back on May 3rd, but in three starts since then, the lefty owns a 2.21 ERA in 20.1 innings pitched. The haters and doubters will say that the teams Price has been pitching against aren’t playoff teams, and that may be true, but opponents are hitting a measly .183 against him over his last three starts. Regardless of the opposition, those numbers are impressive. He’ll look to build on this momentum in his next outing, which should come against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Memorial Day.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen shut the Rays down for the second straight night, as Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, and Craig Kimbrel combined to toss three perfect innings to go along with four strikeouts. For Kimbrel, last night’s save opportunity went much more smoothly than the one on Tuesday. That was reassuring to see, and he picked up his 15th save of the season to lock up his teams 34th win of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup did not have an answer for the way Rays starter Chris Archer was pitching last night. They had a golden opportunity to tack on their first run of the game in the fifth, after Eduardo Nunez tried to score from first on a two out double off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. Unfortunately, Nunez was tagged out at the plate in a somewhat bizarre sequence.

I mean, you have to slide in that situation, right? Christian Vazquez definitely deserves a fair amount of blame here, but there was no real urgency in Nunez either. Whatever the case, that blunder cost the Red Sox a run, but it did not cost them the game.

An inning later, after the 9-1-2 hitters loaded the bases with no outs, the Red Sox scored their first run of the game when Hanley Ramirez grounded into his second double play of the night. That allowed Christian Vazquez from third, and the Red Sox had their first run of the game and a one run lead.

Fast forward all the way to the ninth, and things are all knotted up at one run a piece. With closer Alex Colome on the mound for the Rays, JD Martinez led the inning off by reaching base on a throwing error committed by shortstop Willy Adames and making it to second in the process.

Now, with the go-ahead run in scoring position, a fairly cooled off and hitless Xander Bogaerts came to the plate looking to put this game away. On the fourth pitch of the at bat, he did just that.

Bogaerts’ 13th double of the season allowed Martinez to easily score from second to put the Red Sox on top.

After Rafael Devers followed that RBI double up with a five pitch walk, Eduardo Nunez’s sacrifice fly to center scored Bogaerts from third to add a little insurance and advanced Devers to third.

Devers would cross the plate on a wild pitch from Colome with Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate, and that was the last run the Red Sox scored last night. A nice three run ninth to put this one out of reach for the Rays.

Some notes from this one:

Despite neither of them getting a hit, Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi reached base a combined five times on five walks on Wednesday.

Hanley Ramirez is in the middle of a slump right now, as he is slashing .143/.182/.214 in 44 plate appearances over his last 10 games. Like I have been saying, might be time to get Mitch Moreland some more at bats.

Next up for the Red Sox is the series finale with the Rays later tonight. Looking for the sweep and their fifth straight win, Rick Porcello will be matched up against impressive lefty Blake Snell. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.