Red Sox Blow 16th Save of Season, Fail to Sweep White Sox in Demoralizing 8-7 Loss

After coming from behind in a 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, the Red Sox opened the official second half of the 2019 season by nearly completing the three-game sweep over the South Siders, but instead blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning on Wednesday and fell by a final score of 8-7 in their final contest before heading to London for the weekend.

Making his 17th start of the season for Boston, Chris Sale was not his usual self to begin things in the series finale, but he settled in towards the end.

Tossing six full innings in this one, the left-hander surrendered five runs, all earned, on six hits, two HBPs, and one walk to go along with exactly 10 strikeouts on the afternoon.

All five of those Chicago runs came within Sale’s first three frames of work, with the first four batters of the ballgame all reaching base safely while plating their side’s first two runs.

In the third, a leadoff home run off the bat of backstop James McCann, as well as a two-out RBI infield single from Ryan Cordell to score Jon Jay, who was hit by a pitch, from third made it a 5-2 game. The thing is, that fifth run never would have crossed the plate had Michael Chavis turned his attention towards home instead of focusing on the first base umpire after Cordell beat out that infield single. But, a rookie made a rookie mistake, and Jay took full advantage.

Following that whole sequence, Sale locked in and proceeded to retire the next 10 hitters he faced in order leading into the middle of the sixth inning, the point in which his outing came to a close on a much more positive note than it seemed destined to earlier.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 102 (71 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball more than 43% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing 10 swings and misses and topping out at 97.4 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Hit with another no-decision, Sale’s streak of regular season starts without a win at Fenway Park now stands at 12, with the last one coming on July 11th, 2018 against the Texas Rangers. He’ll look for better overall results and to lower his 3.82 ERA in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays next weekend.

In relief of Sale, Marcus Walden came into the seventh with his side in a two-run hole, and he added on to that deficit by giving up one run on a Jose Abreu one-out RBI single in his lone inning of work.

Steven Wright, making his 2019 season debut after being activated from the restricted list on Tuesday, maneuvered around a one-out, runners on the corners in a two-run game situation by getting the pinch-hitting Yonder Alonso to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

And in the ninth, after the Red Sox had climbed their way back and taken a 7-6 lead in the bottom half of the previous inning, Matt Barnes gave it all away, blowing his sixth save and his team’s 16th by serving up a go-ahead, two-run homer to the slugging Abreu on a 2-2, 97 MPH fastball down the heart of the plate on the 10th pitch of the at-bat.

That put the White Sox up 8-7, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Chicago right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, who just so happened to be opposite Sale the last time these two clubs met up in May.

Trailing by three runs before they even had the chance to take their first at-bats, JD Martinez got the scoring started for Boston by pulling them back to within one run on his 17th big fly of the season, a 400-foot two-run shot in the first inning to plate both Rafael Devers and himself.

Fast forward to the third, and it was Devers getting himself involved yet again, this time leading the inning off with an opposite field double and coming in to score four batters later on a wild pitch from Lopez with Michael Chavis at the dish. 5-3.

In the seventh, Martinez struck once more with a two-out RBI double to right-center off left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer, this one driving in Devers all the way from first to pull Boston back to within two runs at 6-4.

Finally, in the eighth, with new reliever Evan Marshall in for Chicago, Eduardo Nunez reached base safely on a line-drive single up the middle.

Two batters later, after Brock Holt pinch-hit for Sandy Leon and advanced Nunez up to third on a tough, pop fly ground-rule double and was replaced by Brian Johnson, yes, Brian Johnson, as a pinch-runner, Mookie Betts made things interesting against White Sox closer Alex Colome with a single grounder to third.

Going on any sort of contact, Nunez hustled in from third and managed to evade the tag attempt from McCann to score his team’s fifth run and make it a one-run contest.

A soft grounder from Devers moved up both Betts and Johnson into scoring position at second and third for Xander Bogaerts with two outs in the frame.

On the fifth pitch he saw from Colome, the soon to be 2019 All-Star drilled a clutch single right back up the middle, giving Johnson and Betts plenty of time to come in and put the Red Sox up 7-6.

It seemed crucial at the time, but as already mentioned, the White Sox responded with two runs of their own in their half of the ninth, while the Boston bats went down quietly in theirs despite Jackie Bradley Jr. drawing a leadoff walk in what would turn out to be a crushing 8-7 defeat.

Some notes from this loss:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

The Red Sox went 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position Wednesday and left 10 men on base.

Rafael Devers’ last seven games: .538/.556/.846 with one home run, five doubles, and four runs driven in.

So, the Red Sox seem to be making blowing late leads a recurring theme. There was that loss against the Blue Jays this past Saturday, that 17-inning against the Twins on June 18th, and that loss against the Rangers on June 10th, to name a few.

The Red Sox also lead the American League with 16 blown saves on the year. That is far from ideal.

I’ve already written about how president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski needs to go out and acquire a closer, because clearly the current crop of Red Sox relievers are going to burn out pretty soon, if they have not already, a la Matt Barnes.

Wednesday was the last time the Red Sox will play a game at Fenway Park until after the All-Star break on July 12th.

Now, it’s on to London, where Boston will be hosting the New York Yankees in a historic two-game weekend set across the pond, which will mark the first time Major League Baseball has ever been played in Europe.

Right-hander Rick Porcello and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the starting nods for the Red Sox, while New York has only announced one starter, right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, for Saturday’s contest.

Currently sitting nine games back of the Yankees for first in the American League East, this weekend presents a huge opportunity for the Red Sox to jump start the second half of their 2019 season.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:10 PM EDT on FOX. Red Sox looking to make some history in England.

 

 

 

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Xander Bogaerts Goes Yard and Rafael Devers Collects Four Hits as Red Sox Take Series from White Sox with 6-3 Rain-Filled Win

After taking the first of their three-game series against the Chicago White Sox in walk-off fashion Monday, the Red Sox wrapped up the official first half of the 2019 season with a rain-filled 6-3 win over the South Siders on Tuesday to improve to 44-37 on the year.

Making his 14th start of the season for Boston in the middle game was David Price, fresh off a five-inning, 73-pitch performance in his last time out against the Minnesota Twins.

This time around, taking on another American League Central foe, the left-hander put together a solid outing, yielding three runs, two of which were earned, on eight hits and zero walks to go along with nine strikeouts over six quality innings of work.

The first of those three Chicago runs came around to score off of Price in the second, and it was the result of a throwing error from Xander Bogaerts at that, with James McCann leading off the frame by reaching second on said error, and advancing to third on a wild pitch with Jon Jay at the plate.

Jay would make the Red Sox pay for those mistakes by driving in McCann on a one-out, broken-bat RBI single to center, his first hit of the year.

In the third, it was more of the same, with a pair of doubles from Tim Anderson and James McCann plating another White Sox run, while an Eloy Jiminez single that snuck under Bogaerts’ glove made it a 3-1 game.

Other than that particular rough stretch though, Price rallied by retiring 10 of the last 12 Chicago hitters he faced going into the middle of the sixth, where his outing came to an end, but not before punching out the side in the fourth and receiving some assistance from Jackie Bradley Jr. and his arm in the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 97 (72 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his changeup more than 34% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing eight swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 94.2 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 24 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Improving to 5-2 while lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.36, Price will look to carry over his success from the first half of the year into the second half in his next time out, which will come against the Toronto Blue Jays sometime next week after the team returns from London.

In relief of Price, Matt Barnes entered the seventh with a three-run lead to protect, and he worked his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise clean frame of work.

Ryan Brasier gave up a two-out double in the eighth, but did not allow that runner to score.

And in the ninth, Brandon Workman stranded another runner at second en route to picking up his third save of the season and securing the 6-3 win for his team.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was first matched up against an opener for the White Sox in right-hander Carson Fulmer, who, like David Price, is an alumnus of Vanderbilt University.

Rafael Devers, batting out of the two-hole for the third time this season, got Boston on the board almost immediately in the first inning, driving in Mookie Betts from second on a pop fly opposite field RBI double that probably should have been caught.

Fast forward to the third, with reliever Juan Minaya in for Chicago, the bases loaded, and two outs in the inning with the Sox down by two, and Christian Vazquez came through in an early, but still important spot, as he drilled a 2-2 slider through the left side of the infield to plate both Devers and Xander Bogaerts to tie this contest back up at three runs a piece.

In the fifth, Devers struck again against new Chicago hurler Jose Ruiz by setting up Bogaerts with no outs and a runner in scoring position on a leadoff double.

Bogaerts capitalized on the run-scoring chance to the fullest, absolutely crushing an 0-1 97 MPH fastball right down the heart of the plate and depositing it 429 feet over the Green Monster. The eventual 2019 All-Star’s 15th big fly of the year put the Red Sox up 5-3.

Finally, an inning later, back-to-back base hits from Michael Chavis and Marco Hernandez led to Boston scoring their sixth run of the night, with Eduardo Nunez bringing in Chavis from third on a sacrifice fly to center field.

That gave Boston the 6-3 advantage, which would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Rafael Devers on Tuesday: 4-for-4 with three doubles, two runs scored, and one RBI. His first four-hit game of the season and first three-double game of his career. All while playing on a sore right hamstring.

deversstatcast

David Price’s 2019 strikeout-to-walk-ratio: 82/15 or 5.47/1.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

So, exactly half of the 2019 season is complete. It’s been unusual at times to say the least, but the Red Sox have been playing at a .608 clip since the start of May and are 10-3 in their last 10 games. At 44-37, nothing is out of reach yet despite all the negativity that has surrounded this team to this point in the year.

The Red Sox will go for the three-game sweep over the White Sox on Wednesday afternoon, with left-hander Chris Sale getting the start for Boston and right-hander Reynaldo Lopez doing the same for Chicago.

Yet to win a decision at Fenway Park in 2019, Sale owns an ERA of 1.67 over his last four starts, including an outing in which he gave up four runs (three earned) in five innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in his last time out.

In his career against the club he began his professional career with, the 30-year-old is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA over three starts and 19 total innings of work.

Lopez, meanwhile is averaging more than 10 hits allowed per nine innings through 16 starts with the White Sox this season. He currently leads the American League in earned runs allowed as well with 60.

In two prior starts against Boston, the 25-year-old has surrendered eight runs (seven earned), on 14 hits, 12 strikeouts, and six walks. That’s good for an ERA of 5.56.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Last game the Red Sox play stateside until July 5th.

Red Sox Complete 6-5 Comeback Win over White Sox on Marco Hernandez’s Walk-Off Infield Single

After dropping two out of three to the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend, the Red Sox kicked off the second leg of their homestand with a walk-off 6-5 win over the Chicago White Sox Monday, marking their second straight victory by way of the walk-off.

Making his 16th start of the season for Boston in the series opener was Eduardo Rodriguez, fresh off consecutive outings of seven or more innings for the first time since 2015.

Working his way into the seventh inning of this one but not completing it, the left-hander surrendered five runs, all of which were earned, on six hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

The first four of those Chicago runs came on a pair of homers and an RBI single, all off the bats of Cuban-born players.

Yoan Moncada, a former top prospect of the Red Sox, got the scoring started for his side with a two-out, two-run missile just over the Green Monster in left field for his 13th of 2019 and first ever at Fenway Park.

Rodriguez settled in a bit by retiring 11 of the next 13 White Sox he faced after serving up that bomb, but ran into more two-out trouble in the sixth, when with the bases empty, slugging first baseman Jose Abreu launched his 18th big fly to break up a 2-2 stalemate.

An inning later, with a runner on second and one out, the decision was made for Rodriguez to intentionally put Moncada on base in order to get to Yonder Alonso, who entered the new week sporting a .178 batting average.

Unfortunately for Boston, that decision proved to not work in their favor, as Alonso ripped a single through the right side of the infield, plating the runner, Eloy Jimenez, to make it a 4-3 contest and advance Moncada up to third. That was how Rodriguez’s evening came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (64 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his changeup more than 39% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing seven swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 95.2 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 33 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Hit with the no-decision while his ERA on the season inflated to 4.87, Rodriguez will look to end his month of June on a positive note in his next time out, which should come against the New York Yankees in London.

In relief of Rodriguez, Marcus Walden was inserted and officially closed the book on the starter’s outing by allowing Moncada to score on a Yolmer Sanchez RBI single, which put the White Sox up 5-3.

Colten Brewer got the call for the eighth, and he sat down two of the first three he faced before filling the count against veteran outfielder Jon Jay.

There, in that moment, Sox manager Alex Cora made the call for the left-handed Josh Taylor out of the bullpen.

Taylor’s first pitch to Jay was a ball, meaning the walk was charged to Brewer, but the southpaw rallied by getting out of the inning and also recording the first two outs of the ninth.

A two-out walk of Leury Garcia made way for Brandon Workman, who punched out the only hitter he faced in Tim Anderson on a nasty 81 MPH knuckle curve to send this one to the bottom of the ninth and later pick up his seventh win of the year.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito, someone they got to for three runs in five innings the last time these two sides opposed each other back on May 2nd.

This time around, it was Jackie Bradley Jr. who got the scoring started for the Sox on Monday, as the red-hot outfielder mashed his eighth homer of the season, a booming 418-foot, 107.4 MPH off the bat solo shot, off Giolito to make it a one-run contest early on.

Fast forward to the fifth, and Eduardo Nunez came through with his first of two game-tying hits on the night, this one a one-out opposite field RBI single to drive in Michael Chavis from second. 2-2.

An inning later, Giolito ran into some trouble himself by loading the bases on a one-out walk of Rafael Devers, a line drive double from Xander Bogaerts, and an intentional walk of Bradley Jr. to get to Chavis.

Down to his last few pitches, the White Sox ace again lacked control, as he walked the rookie on five pitches, and that allowed Devers to make his way towards home to tie this one up at three runs each.

In the seventh, after falling behind by another two runs, Mookie Betts cut that deficit in half very quickly by taking Chicago reliever Aaron Bummer deep on the very first pitch he saw from the left-hander to lead off the frame. His 13th of the season made it 5-4.

Another inning later, Marco Hernandez came on to pinch-run for Vazquez at first and moved up to second on a wild pitch from right-hander Kelvin Herrera.

With two outs in the inning and the tying run 180 feet away from home, it was Eduardo Nunez’s time to shine once more, and he did just that by sneaking another RBI single past the outstretched Moncada at third, giving Hernandez enough time to score and pull even with the White Sox at 5-5.

And finally, in the ninth, the White Sox and lefty reliever Jace Fry intentionally loaded the bases with two outs for Hernandez, and he made them pay dearly with an infield single grounded just deep enough that Tim Anderson had to rush in order to make a throw over to first.

The throw was not handled cleanly by Abreu, however, while Hernandez was ruled safe and Andrew Benintendi coasted into home to give the Red Sox another walk-off win, this one finishing with a final score of 6-5.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s last 30 games: .303/.415/.606 with six home runs and 17 RBI. He has raised his OPS from .491 to .713 in that span.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle and second of this three-game set on Tuesday night.

Left-hander David Price is set to get the ball for Boston, while right-hander Carson Fulmer will serve as the opener for Chicago. Two Vanderbilt alums going at it.

Only throwing 73 pitches over five innings in his last time out against the Minnesota Twins, it will be interesting to see how Cora manages Price’s workload on Tuesday.

In 16 career starts against the White Sox, the 33-year-old has posted a 3.45 ERA over 109 2/3 total innings of work.

Fulmer, meanwhile, was once drafted by the Sox in the 15th round of the 2012 amateur draft before he honored his commitment to Vanderbilt.

In two prior relief outings against Boston, the 25-year-old has allowed five runs (three earned) on two hits and five walks in a span of just one whole inning. He has never made an appearance at Fenway Park.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

Red Sox Fail to Take Series, Fall to 18-19 at Fenway Park in 6-1 Loss to Blue Jays

After blowing a five-run lead to the Blue Jays on Saturday, the Red Sox came out absolutely flat Sunday, as they fell to Toronto by a final score of 6-1 and dropped the three-game weekend set in the process of doing so.

Making his 16th start of the season for Boston in the series finale was Rick Porcello, who entered Sunday both coming off one of his more impressive outings of the year against the Minnesota Twins, as well as a not so impressive track record when opposed by the Jays.

That much held true in this one, with the right-hander surrendering five runs, all earned, on eight hits and four walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the afternoon. Those four free passes were the most Porcello has given up in over two months, when he walked five on April 13th against the Baltimore Orioles.

A scoreless first, followed by back-to-back two-out hits, one being a ground-rule double down the right field line and the other a broken-bat RBI single, from Rowdy Tellez and Brandon Drury in the second would be how Toronto got on the board. Neither ball was hit particularily hard, but it got the job done nonetheless.

An inning later, and more two-out trouble bit Porcello in the third, this time with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. ripping a single over Jackie Bradley Jr.’s head in center field and coming in to score on an RBI double off the bat of rookie Cavan Biggio.

From there, Porcello settled in a bit with a quick fourth and fifth, but a leadoff walk to Biggio in the sixth would ultimately prove to be the New Jersey native’s demise.

Freddy Galvis moved Biggio to third with another double, and Porcello had no one to blame but himself for how the Blue Jays plated their third run, on a balk.

Porcello told reporters postgame that he thought Christian Vazquez had been granted time from home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi, but that proved not to be the case, as Biggio was waved in.

More one-out walks to Tellez and Drury loaded the bases for Toronto backstop Danny Jansen, who essentially delivered the final blow with a two-run single through the left side infield to put his side up 5-0.

Porcello managed to keep the Jays off the scoreboard again by retiring the last two hitters he faced in the sixth, and that is how his day came to a disappointing close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (62 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball nearly 34% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing one swing and miss and topping out at 92.2 MPH with the pitch while Vazquez was behind the plate.

Getting hit with his seventh losing decision while his ERA on the season jumped up to 4.52, Porcello will look for improved results in his next time out, which should come in uncharted territory: London, England, when the Sox travel there to take on the New York Yankees later this week.

In relief of Porcello, Josh Smith gave the rest of Boston’s bullpen a day of rest by finishing this contest off with three innings of one-run ball. That one run came on an eighth inning solo homer from Eric Sogard.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a fairly familiar foe in Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman, who held Boston to one run over six innings the last time he opposed them on May 21st.

This time around, it was more of the same for the Toronto ace, with the only difference being that he didn’t give up any runs on Sunday.

The Sox’ best, most opportune scoring chance came in the bottom of the second, when with one out and Christian Vazquez and Brock Holt at first and second, Jackie Bradley Jr. nearly drove in his club’s first run with an opposite field single to left, but perhaps in a spot where Holt should have been held up at third, interim third base coach Andy Barkett waved him in, and a solid throw from Gurriel Jr. to Jansen at home was enough to snuff out the runner.

Holt was also seen reaching for his left hamstring as he was headed towards home, and he was removed in the fourth because of it. Red Sox manager Alex Cora ruled the utility man day-to-day.

If Holt had scored there in the second, that would have knotted things up at one run a piece. Instead, it went for nothing, and the Blue Jays continued to add on to their lead while the Red Sox finished the afternoon 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

It wasn’t until the ninth when they finally get on the board, and that came when with one out and Eduardo Nunez at second following a leadoff double, Bradley Jr. reached first base safely on a fielding error committed by Jays reliever Joe Biagini, which provided Nunez with enough time to come in and score.

That’s it. One unearned run and no RBI, as the Red Sox would go on to fall by a final of 6-1.

Some notes from this loss:

Xander Bogaerts’ run of consecutive games with a double has ended at seven.

From Red Sox Stats:

JD Martinez is 7-for-his-last-39 (.179) in eight games going back to June 15th.

So, the Red Sox were nine outs away from at least guaranteeing a series win on Saturday, and less than 24 hours later, they find themselves losers of their last two against an opponent bound to finish with one of the worst records in the American League this season.

A three-game set against the 36-39 Chicago White Sox is next on deck.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the start for Boston, while right-hander Lucas Giolito will do the same for Chicago.

The winner in four of his last five outings, Rodriguez is coming off back-to-back starts of seven innings or more for the first time since 2015.

In four prior starts against the White Sox, including six one-run innings in a win back on May 4th, the 26-year-old has posted a lifetime 2.66 ERA over 23 2/3 innings of work.

Giolito, meanwhile, gave up three runs over five innings in his last start against Boston on the second of May. Since then, the 24-year-old has won eight of his last nine outings, posting an ERA of 1.75 and batting average against of .168 in 61 2/3 innings pitched.

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

 

 

 

 

Red Sox Bullpen Blows Another Save in 8-7 Meltdown Loss to Blue Jays

After battling their way back from a pair of four-run deficits in a 7-5 extra innings win on Friday, the Red Sox essentially did the exact opposite less than 24 hours later, as they blew a late six-run lead and fell to the Toronto Blue Jays by a final score of 8-7 on Saturday.

Making his second start of the season for Boston in this one was Brian Johnson, who worked in relief his last time out and ended up taking the loss in that 17-inning marathon against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday.

This time around, the left-hander put together a solid performance, yielding just one unearned run while scattering four hits and zero walks to go along with four strikeouts over five solid innings.

That lone Toronto tally came in the top half of the fourth, when with no outs and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at second following a leadoff single and a wild pitch from Johnson, a grounder off the bat of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. could not be handled cleanly by an off-balanced Xander Bogaerts, and he wound up unable to make a clean throw over to Michael Chavis at first, which gave Guerrero enough time to score his side’s first run of the afternoon.

Other than that one mishap, Johnson managed to sit down five of the last six Blue Jays hitters he faced leading into the middle of the fifth, where his outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 83 (50 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 37% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 91.6 MPH with the pitch.

Unable to pick up the winning decision despite a worthy performance of one, Johnson will look to lower his ERA of 6.43 even further in his next time out, which at the moment, probably won’t happen until the Red Sox return from London.

In relief of Johnson, Mike Shawaryn entered the sixth with a five-run cushion and got things off to an encouraging start by retiring the side in order.

From there, though, is where this one began to fall apart for Boston. That would be because Shawaryn, in his second frame of relief, gave up three straight one-out hits, with the last two being home runs from Freddy Galvis and Rowdy Tellez to cut Toronto’s deficit to two.

Marcus Walden was inserted with the bases empty and two outs to get in the seventh, and he walked the first man he saw in Luke Maile.

Three batters later, with Maile having moved up to third on a Guerrero Jr. single, Walden complicated matters further by mislocating 1-1 slider that got past Christian Vazquez and allowed the runner from third to come in and score with Gurriel Jr. at the plate to make it a 6-5 contest. Walden was able to escape the inning with that slim lead still in tact, setting up Matt Barnes in the eighth.

There, the frequently used righty saw that one-run lead disappear on a one-out RBI single from Cavan Biggio that drove in Teoscar Hernandez from second and knotted this one up at six.

That stalemate would not last long, unfortunately, as Barnes walked the bases loaded to make way for Ryan Brasier, who proceeded to walk in the go-ahead run himself on four straight out of the strike zone against Blue Jays leadoff man Eric Sogard.

Another free pass drawn by Guerrero Jr., the fourth straight given up by Red Sox pitching, gave his side a two-run edge before Brasier stopped the bleeding by getting Gurriel Jr. to pop out to first.

And finally, Josh Smith struck out the side in order in the ninth to keep Boston within the two runs they trailed by, although the damage had already been done.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was first matched up against right-hander Derek Law, serving as the opener for the Blue Jays on Saturday.

Jackie Bradley Jr. broke open the scoring for Boston in the second inning, where with JD Martinez at second and Brock Holt at first, the center fielder ripped an opposite field two-run double, plating both runners to make it a 2-0 game early on.

Michael Chavis added on to that while simultaneously extending his hitting streak to 11 games by driving in Bradley Jr. on a softy-hit RBI single back up the middle. That led to a pitching change that saw right-hander Sam Gaviglio take over for Law.

Walking the second hitter he faced in Mookie Betts to put runners on first and second, Andrew Benintendi made Gaviglio pay with a two-run, opposite field double on an 0-1 84 MPH slider that put the Sox up by five.

Friday night’s hero Christian Vazquez padded that lead in the bottom half of the third with his 10th home run of the season, a 340 foot shot just past Pesky’s Pole in right field that gave the Red Sox a six-run advantage.

With that large of a lead, you would figure with the way they’ve been playing lately, the defending World Series champions had this one in the bag. Sure, it’s easy to blame the bullpen for the way things turned out on Saturday, but to go hitless from the bottom of the fifth until the last half of the ninth isn’t great either.

In that ninth inning, trailing by two runs, Mookie Betts provided some life by drawing a one-out walk off Blue Jays closer Ken Giles after the pinch-hitting Rafael Devers fanned in the prior at-bat.

Betts managed to steal second off Giles, but Andrew Benintendi was unable to advance him any further, as he too struck out.

Down to their final out, it looked as though Xander Bogaerts was about to wrap this contest up by flying out to shallow left field, but with the way Toronto was playing him in the shift, said ball fell between Galvis and Hernandez and bounced over the wall into foul territory for a ground-rule double to score Betts from second.

Now only trailing by one, JD Martinez came to the plate representing the go=ahead run.

With the chance to send the Fenway crowd home with a walk-off win for the second consecutive day, the Sox slugger came up swinging on a rising 2-2 98 MPH fastball from Giles, but could not come through with any contact, as he fanned to put this disappointing 8-7 loss to bed.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox have blown 15 saves this season, the most in the American League and second-most in all of baseball behind only the New York Mets.

Per FanGraphs, the Red Sox had a 97.4% chance to win this game after Teoscar Hernandez flew out to second for the first out of the seventh inning.

From the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to bounce back from this ugly loss in the finale of this three-game weekend set on Sunday.

Right-hander Rick Porcello is set to get the ball for Boston, while fellow righty Marcus Stroman will do the same for Toronto.

Fresh off seven scoreless innings and a win in his last time out against the Twins, Porcello has posted an ERA of 2.75 through three June starts.

In 26 career outings (25 starts) against the Jays, the 31-year-old owns a lifetime 5.39 ERA and 1.30 WHIP over 148 2/3 innings pitched.

Stroman, meanwhile, picked up the win the last time he faced off against the Sox back on May 21st at Rogers Centre, where he allowed one earned run over six quality innings of work.

In his career at Fenway Park, the Duke University product is 1-2 with a 3.70 ERA in four starts and 24 1/3 total innings.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

 

 

 

Christian Vazquez Walks off Blue Jays with Two-Run Shot in 10th Inning as Red Sox Complete Comeback with 7-5 Win

After a series win over the Minnesota Twins and an off day on Thursday, the Red Sox opened their final homestand before heading to London with a 7-5, 10-inning, walk-off victory in the first of three against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday to improve to 42-35 on the season.

Making his 16th start of the season for Boston was Chris Sale, who saw his run of consecutive double-digit strikeout performances end at four in this one.

Tossing just five full innings Friday, the left-hander yielded four runs, three of which were earned, on seven hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with eight punchouts on the night.

Right from the jump, it looked as though Sale was not going to be at his sharpest. That much was evident in how he lost an 11-pitch matchup to the very first hitter he faced iin Toronto leadoff man Eric Sogard.

Back-to-back walks in the same inning, Sale’s only two of the night, eventually led to the Blue Jays tacking on their first two runs on a two-out, two-run single off the bat of Freddy Galvis.

Another two reached base in the second, but nothing came out of it before more trouble arose in the top half of the third, where a simple grounder from Teoscar Hernandez should have gone for the first out of the frame, but instead was misplayed by Eduardo Nunez over at third.

Two pitches later, Randal Grichuk mashed on a 1-0 87 MPH changeup and sent it 379 feet to left field, making it a 4-0 contest.

If there was any solace, it would be that Sale retired nine of the last 12 Blue Jays he faced leading into the middle of the fifth, which is the point where his outing came to an underwhelming end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (65 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 40% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 95.6 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with the no-decision while raising his ERA up to 3.59, Sale will look for improved results in his next time out, which should come against his former club in the Chicago White Sox next Wednesday.

In relief of Sale, Colten Brewer got the first call to kick off the sixth inning, and he worked a scoreless frame before allowing two of the first three in the seventh to reach.

So, in came the left-hander Josh Taylor, and he, with the help of Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt, escaped the jam thanks to a smoothly-turned 6-4-3 double play.

From there, Taylor also fanned a pair in the eighth before Ryan Brasier came on for him, and he, in a one-run game his team was trailing in, surrendered singles to the first two men he faced but managed to get out of it by getting Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to fly out to right.

Matt Barnes, after the Sox tied things up in their half of the eighth, kept this contest tied with a 1-2-3 ninth, and Brandon Workman did the same while also picking up his sixth winning decision with a scoreless 10th.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie right-hander Trent Thornton, who had never pitched at Fenway Park nor against Boston prior to Friday.

Falling behind by four runs early on is never ideal, but Brock Holt got the scoring started for his side and began to chip away at that deficit by driving in Andrew Benintendi from third with a third inning RBI sacrifice fly hit deep enough to center.

Fast forward all the way to the seventh, after Toronto had regained their initial four-run advantage, and Mookie Betts would wind up being the catalyst for a three-run rally, as his one-out triple off Thornton would mark the Blue Jays starter’s final pitch of the evening.

With left-handed reliever Tim Mayza entered into this contest, Benintendi greeted him by plating Betts and reaching first on an RBI single to the opposite field. 5-2.

Another pitching change that saw right-hander Joe Biagini didn’t make much of a difference, as Xander Bogaerts scored Benintendi all the way from first with a line-drive RBI double that rolled all the way to the wall by the bullpens in right field. 5-3.

A wild pitch from Joe Biagini allowed Bogaerts to advance to third, and JD Martinez capitalized on that mistake by driving in the run on a ground ball single back up the middle. 5-4.

An inning later, and the one-out three-bagger was the Red Sox’ friend yet again, this time with Jackie Bradley Jr. collecting his first of the season against David Phelps.

Rafael Devers, who was out of Friday’s lineup due to tightening his right hamstring in Minnesota on Wednesday, came on to pinch-hit for Eduardo Nunez with the tying run just 90 feet away from home.

Swinging at the fifth pitch he saw from Phelps, an 81 MPH knuckle-curveball, after taking the first four, the budding infielder came through big time, as his RBI single through the left side of the infield gave Bradley Jr. more than enough time to score from third and knot this one up at five runs a piece.

And finally, in the 10th, down to their final out with Marco Hernandez at first and right-hander Jordan Romano on the hill, Christian Vazquez, who first pinch-hit for Sandy Leon in the eighth, activated his clutch gene and sent the Fenway Faithful home happy by blasting his ninth home run of the year on a 3-2, 93 MPH fastball.

Per Statcast, Vazquez’s walk-off bomb traveled approximately 403 feet over everything in right field and had an exit velocity of 102.4 MPH. That won this series opener for the Red Sox by a final score of 7-5.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox started Friday 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and finished 3-for-their-last-3.

From Red Sox Stats:

The Red Sox are 8-1 in their last nine games and have outscored opponents 60-30 in that span.

Quite a way to start a six-game homestand, and the Red Sox will be looking for more in the second of three against the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon.

Left-hander Brian Johnson is set to get the ball for Boston, while Toronto has yet to name a starting pitcher.

Since being activated from the injured list on June 14th, Johnson has surrendered a total of two earned runs over two appearances, one being a start against the Baltimore Orioles last Sunday and the other a relief outing against the Twins this past Wednesday.

In his career against the Blue Jays, the 28-year-old owns a lifetime 7.15 ERA over six games (four starts) and 22 2/3 innings of work.

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

 

Red Sox Bounce Back, Break out for Nine Runs to Take Competitive Series from Twins

After dropping a 17-inning marathon game earlier in the morning, the Red Sox bounced right back Wednesday night, topping the Twins 9-4 in nine innings to both take the three-game series from Minnesota and cap off a solid 5-1 six-game road trip.

Making his 14th start of the season for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered Wednesday fresh off seven quality one-run innings in his last time out against the Baltimore Orioles.

This time around, against a much more superior opponent, the left-hander once again worked seven full frames, as he surrendered four runs, all of which were earned, on eight hits and three walks to go along with nine strikeouts on the night.

From the jump, it looked as though Rodriguez was not going to go too deep into this one. That much was evident with how three straight Twins reached in the first and scored their first run on an Eddie Rosario RBI single.

It could have been worse though, had Jackie Bradley Jr. not snuffed out CJ Cron trying to go from first to home on a Nelson Cruz double in the previous at-bat.

Walks became an issue for Rodriguez in the third, when with two outs and Cruz and Sano on base following a pair of free passes, Luis Arraez plated Cruz from second on another RBI single to make it a 3-2 contest.

An inning later, and it was the home run ball that bit the Venezuela native, with both Willians Astudillo and Max Kepler teaming up for two solo shots to put their team ahead 4-3.

Fortunately for Boston, Rodriguez flipped a switch and settled in a bit from the middle of the fifth on, as he sat down nine of the final 10 Twins he faced to end his outing on a much more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 111 (72 strikes), the 26-year-old relied on his two-seam fastball more than 34% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing four swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 95.4 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 31 times with Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Ultimately improving to 8-4 while slightly raising his ERA on the season to 4.71, Rodriguez continues to be the benefactor of run support from his lineup. His next start should come against the Chicago White Sox sometime next week.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was not as heavily taxed as they were on Tuesday, with just two relievers, Matt Barnes and Marcus Walden, combining for two scoreless frames of relief to wrap up this 9-4 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, owner of a career 2.68 ERA in six prior starts against Boston.

Through 13 starts on the season coming into Wednesday, Gibson was averaging just two walks per nine innings, but that was not the case in this particular contest as he gave out a season-high five free passes.

Kicking off the scoring for the Sox was Brock Holt, who came to the plate for the first time in the second inning with Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers at first and second and no outs.

On the third pitch he saw from Gibson, a 95 MPH fastball on the bottom half of the strike zone, Holt grounded an RBI single back up the middle to get his team on the board.

Michael Chavis followed that up with an RBI knock of his own to drive in Bogaerts, and Mookie Betts also came through with a run-scoring single to drive in Holt. Just like that, the Red Sox were up 3-1.

Fast forward to the fifth, after Minnesota responded and took a one-run lead of their own, the Boston bats answered with another three-run rally, which was started by JD Martinez drawing a leadoff walk off Gibson.

Two batters later, Bogaerts stayed hot by plating Martinez from second and advancing Devers to third on an RBI line-drive double to left to knot things up at four runs each.

The stalemate would not last long, however, not with Eduardo Nunez pinch-running for Devers at third and Holt scoring him on an RBI sacrifice fly deep enough to center to make it a 5-4 game.

Another run-scoring single from Chavis, the last hitter Gibson faced, allowed Bogaerts to come in from third after that sac fly, and the Red Sox had themselves a brand new two-run advantage they would not have to look back from.

That being the case because in the top half of the eighth, with Harvard alum Scott Poppen on the mound for Minnesota, back-to-back RBI knocks off the bats of Andrew Benintendi and Martinez allowed the Sox to double up the Twins at 8-4.

And finally, still in the eighth, Holt essentially put this one to bed by drawing a four-pitch, bases loaded walk off Poppen to score Martinez from third and give his team the 9-4 led, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Rafael Devers has been ruled day-to-day with right hamstring tightness. He probably won’t play Friday, per Sox manager Alex Cora.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

The Red Sox with runners in scoring position on Wednesday: 7-for-14

Michael Chavis during his nine-game hitting streak: 13-for-41 (.317) with one double, two home runs, and six RBI.

So, the Red Sox went into enemy territory against the team with the best record in the American League and came out with a series win, with the one loss coming in that 17-inning debacle on Tuesday.

Prior to this series, the negativity towards this Red Sox team was based around the idea that they could not beat other competitive clubs. Given what just went down this week, that narrative may be going by the wayside soon enough.

Next up for the Sox, it’s a well-deserved day off on Thursday before a six-game homestand begins back at Fenway Park on Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Left-hander Chris Sale is set to get the ball for Boston in the opener of that three-game weekend set, while rookie right-hander Trent Thornton will do the same for Toronto.

Since the start of June, Sale has allowed a total of two earned runs in his last 22 innings of work to go along with 32 punchouts in that same span.

In his career against the Jays, the 31-year-old has posted a lifetime 2.67 ERA over 16 appearances (13 starts) and 91 innings pitched.

Thornton, meanwhile, is coming off an impressive outing in his last time out against the high-octane Houston Astros, as he held the class of the American League West scoreless over 6 2/3 impressive innings while also fanning seven in the process.

Making his first Opening Day roster with Toronto back in March, the 25-year-old has never faced the Red Sox nor pitched at Fenway Park.

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