RECAP: Walk-Off Grand Slam from Xander Bogaerts Halts #RedSox Losing Streak at One in 6-2 Win over Blue Jays.

Less than a day after suffering their first loss in nearly two weeks at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Red Sox were back it against Toronto Saturday afternoon, looking to start a new winning streak heading into the All-Star Break.

Making his 19th start of the season on Saturday, Eduardo Rodriguez came out guns blazing against a team he has had issues with in the past.

Over the first five innings of this one, Rodriguez looked like a man who could not be stopped, as the lefty retired 15 of the 17 batters he saw while needing just 59 pitches to do so.

Things were looking great for the Red Sox heading into the sixth inning. With a 1-0 lead and Rodriguez dealing on the mound, it seemed as if win #67 was right around the corner.

Unfortunately, it was not that easy, and after getting the first out of that sixth inning, Rodriguez would have to leave the game with a right ankle sprain following an ugly collision with Lourdes Gurriel at first base.

The good news here, if any, is the fact that, according to Alex Cora, Rodriguez did not damage his surgically repaired right knee to any extent.

Finishing with a final pitching line of 5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, and 5 K on 67 pitches (47 strikes), it was certainly disappointing to see the Venezuela native’s day come to an end in the manner it did.

In what could have been his best outing of the season, we are left to hope that Rodriguez’s sprained ankle will not take all that much time to heal. The All-Star break could play a role in his timetable to return as well. Just have to wait and see for now.

Coming into a game he was initially not prepared for, Heath Hembree got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen.

With Gurriel already at first, Hembree did walk a man to put the go-ahead run on base, but escaped any real damage by getting Justin Smoak to fly out to center for the third and final out of the top half of the sixth.

A struggling Joe Kelly got the next call to begin the seventh inning, and he allowed the first two hitters he faced to reach base, putting runners on second and third with no outs.

After inducing two straight ground outs, one that drove in the tying run from third, Kelly walked Luke Maile, the Jays’ number nine hitter, on four straight balls, thus ending his day before it could even really get started.

That made way for Matt Barnes to enter and try to get out of this mess, and although it’s not entirely his doing,  he did give up what was the go-ahead run on a Lourdes Gurriel RBI single, closing the book on what was another miserable appearance for Joe Kelly.

From that point on though, Barnes held things in check by striking out Yangervis to retire the side in the seventh. And in the eighth, the UCONN product worked his way around back-to-back two out walks to punch out Randal Grichuk on three straight strikes, retiring the side and keeping it a one run game.

An inning later, Brandon Workman was given the responsibility of keeping his team within striking distance going into the bottom of the ninth. In response to this, Workman needed only 12 pitches to retire the only three batters he faced in order, which proved to be beneficial for the Red Sox a few minutes later.

With this contest now tied and headed into extra innings, Craig Kimbrel came out for a non-save opportunity in the tenth. Having seen his fair share of action these past few days, Kimbrel nonetheless still impressed with a two strikeout performance to keep things knotted up at two runs a piece. Thanks to his efforts, the Red Sox closer notched his second winning decision of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup did not have themselves the best of days at the plate on Saturday, and it looked as if that was ultimately going to cost them in the end.

JD Martinez got the scoring started for Boston in the fourth inning, as he led the bottom half of the frame off by launching a 389 foot missile into the Monster seats off Jays starter Sam Gaviglio for his 29th big fly of the season.

Fast forward to the eighth inning now, and scattered amongst other opportune scoring chances, the best one up to this point in the day probably happened in the eighth.

A one out single off the bat of Mookie Betts, followed by an E5 committed by Yangervis Solarte, allowed Betts to reach second, representing the tying run.

With Brock Holt at the plate, Betts was able to catch Blue Jays reliever Joe Biagini sleeping, and easily swiped third to put the tying run just 90 feet away.

Unfortunately, Betts could not advance, as Holt hit a hard ground out to second with the infield playing in, and JD Martinez struck out to end the inning. At that point, I’m thinking this thing is over. Get it done with, go home, and come back to split the series tomorrow, or so I thought.

From the middle of the ninth inning on, Xander Bogaerts was the star of the show for the Red Sox.

Facing off against long time late inning man Tyler Clippard, Bogaerts led his teams half of the ninth off by ripping a double down the left field line, once again putting the tying run in scoring position.

Two pitches into the next at bat, Jackie Bradley Jr. lined another double, this one hit to right field and allowing Bogaerts to easily score from second. And just like that, we had ourselves a 2-2 game.

In the tenth, a four-run rally was started by another fielding error committed by the Blue Jays. This time, in what looked like a routine ground out off the bat of Mookie Betts for the second out of the inning, turned into the go-ahead run being on first after Toronto’s shortstop, the aforementioned Lourdes Gurriel, could not come up with the ball cleanly.

That allowed Betts to reach first, and three batters later, after Jays reliever Chris Rowley had intentionally walked JD Martinez to load the bases, Xander Bogaerts sent the Fenway faithful home happy.

2-0 hitters count, 87 MPH fastball, 104 MPH and 392 feet off the bat, grand slam, ballgame over with a final score of 6-2.

The Toronto Blue Jays and giving up dramatic grand slams, name a more iconic duo.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 67-30. They have hit two grand slams in the past three days and have not lost consecutive games since June 19-20th.

From @SoxNotes: Xander Bogaerts is the first Red Sox player to hit a walk-off grand slam since Rico Brogna on August 14, 2000 vs. Tampa Bay.

In the month of July, Xander Bogaerts has a 1.142 OPS with 3 home runs and 18 runs driven.

JD Martinez collected his 80th RBI this afternoon, the most in all of baseball.

Going for the series win tomorrow afternoon, it will be Brian Johnson making his first start since being placed on the disabled list with inflammation in his left hip back on July 8th. As of this time, no corresponding roster move has officially been made, but I would guess it would be Tzu-Wei Lin or Bobby Poyner.

Johnson will be matched up against Jays righty Marcus Stroman. Stroman, 27, owns a 5.90 ERA in 11 games started this season, but has looked better on the mound as of late.

First pitch of the final game of the first half of the season is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.

 

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RECAP: Steve Pearce Hits First Homer in a Red Sox Uniform, JD Martinez Blasts 28th Home Run, and #RedSox Win Seventh Straight.

Coming off a road trip in which they went 7-2, the Red Sox returned to Fenway Park last night to take on the Texas Rangers, who currently sit in last place in the American League West.

Looking for his team’s seventh straight win, Eduardo Rodriguez took the mound for his 18th start of the season on Monday.

Pitching into the sixth inning of this one, the lefty held the Rangers scoreless while scattering three hits and three walks while recording five strikeouts in exactly 5.2 frames.

With another shutout performance, although it certainly was not his best, Rodriguez has now extended his scoreless innings streak to 13.2 going back to the final two innings of his start against the Yankees.

In his full two starts since then, both in July, the Venezuela native has a pitching line that looks like this: 2-0, 11.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 11 K.

It would be nice if he could consistently pitch deeper into games, but at this point, I think it’s time to accept that is not going to happen as frequently as the Red Sox would like. But when you toss back-to-back shutouts, it becomes less of an issue.

Finishing with a final high pitch count of 105 (68 strikes), Rodriguez departed from last night’s contest in the sixth after recording the first two outs of the inning and allowing two straight Rangers to reach. Out of those 105 pitches, the 25 year-old hurler went to his four-seam fastball 47% of the time, topping out at 95.5 MPH with it in the fourth inning. He’ll look to carry over this recent success in his last start before the All-Star Break, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen saw the shutout through to its completion. Heath Hembree got out of the jam in the sixth, Brandon Workman gave up a leadoff triple in the seventh but did not allow that potential run to cross the plate, Joe Kelly struck out two in the eighth, and making his Red Sox debut, Ryan Brasier tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to wrap up his new team’s 63rd win of the season. Brasier, who had not pitched in the majors since 2013, was actually responsible for eight of the 12 fastest thrown pitches all night, according to Statcast.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup needed just two swings of the bat to take care of Texas on Monday night.

The first came in the bottom half of the first inning. In his first at bat in a Red Sox uniform at Fenway Park, Steve Pearce took Rangers starter Mike Minor deep to left on a 3-2 fastball right down broadway. His fifth big fly of the season, a two-run shot, was also his first since being acquired by Boston on June 28th.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth now, with Jesse Chavez on the mound for the Rangers, and JD Martinez essentially put this game out of reach.

Following two singles from Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi to leadoff the inning, Chavez tried to sneak a 2-2 fastball on the inner half of the plate and paid for it dearly, as Martinez scorched his 28th big fly of the season 374 feet into the Monster seats, making it a 5-0 game.

Some notes from this win:

The top four hitters in the Red Sox lineup last night, Betts, Benintendi, Martinez, and Pearce, went a combined 8/16 with five RBI and five runs scored. Other than that, Sandy Leon was the only other hitter to reach base.

Speaking of Andrew Benintendi, you should be voting for him right now. If I can’t convince you, maybe Brock Holt can.

redsox.com/vote

Looking for the series win along with their eighth straight win, Hector Velazquez gets the ball for the Red Sox tonight. Making his first start since April 14th against the Orioles, he’ll be matched up against fellow Mexico native Yovani Gallardo for Texas. First pitch of the middle game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

RECAP: Eduardo Rodriguez Bounces Back with Six Shutout Innings as #RedSox Complete Sweep of Nationals on Independence Day.

After dropping two out of three to the Yankees in New York to start a nine-game road trip, the Red Sox had the opportunity to improve to 4-2 on the trip yesterday thanks to two straight wins over the Washington Nationals in DC.

Making his 17th start of the season and coming off back-to-back poor outings against the Mariners and Yankees, Eduardo Rodriguez toed the rubber for his first time ever at Nationals Park.

In six quality innings pitched, the lefty failed to surrender a single run as he held the Nationals to just three hits and one walk while fanning six on the day. If it weren’t for his spot in the order due up in the top half of the seventh, I’d like to think Rodriguez could have gone even deeper, but considering that the Red Sox were threatening with runners in scoring position, I understand the decision to pinch-hit Andrew Benintendi in that spot.

Regardless, the Venezuela native only needed 84 pitches (54 strikes) to get through those six scoreless innings, and he really dazzled to pick up his 10th winning decision of the season.

Out of those 84 pitches Rodriguez went to his deadly changeup a total of 26 times, which resulted in five swinging strikes, one called strike, and seven balls in play. He also topped out at 95.7 MPH with his four-seam fastball in the fourth inning.

Building off a successful start to the new month, the 25-year-old hurler will look to carry over this new-found momentum in his next start, which should come back at Fenway Park against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen carried on and completed the shutout with three scoreless frames of their own. Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, and Craig Kimbrel locked down their teams 59th win of the season, and in doing so, Kimbrel, despite allowing the tying run to come to the plate, notched his 26th save of 2018.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was limited in what they could do yesterday and that was mostly because of a solid performance out of the Nationals bullpen.

In fact, Washington’s starter for this series finale, Erick Fedde, had to leave in the second inning with what was later diagnosed as right shoulder inflammation. That really did not matter though, because the Red Sox failed to plate a run until the top half of the seventh.

Going into the frame with this thing still tied, Rafael Devers got the rally started with a leadoff double off of Nats reliever Ryan Madson. Two batters later, after Devers had moved up to third on a Eduardo Nunez single, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through with the clutch sacrifice fly to finally put the Red Sox on the board.

Two batters later, with Andrew Benintendi pinch-hitting for Eduardo Rodriguez, a wild pitch on ball four from Madson allowed Eduardo Nunez, who had advanced to third on that Bradley sac fly, to easily score and put his team up by two runs.

Fast forward to the ninth, and another Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI, this one coming on a double to score Eduardo Nunez all the way from first, pretty much put this game away from the Red Sox by putting them up 3-0.

One note from this W:

It is July 5th and the Red Sox are 30 games over .500. That is all.

With a trip to Kansas City up next on the schedule, the Red Sox will find themselves enjoying a day off on Thursday before kicking off a three-game weekend series against the lowly Royals on Friday. Chris Sale, who owns a career 3.16 ERA in 16 games at Kauffman Stadium, gets the ball for the opener. He’ll be matched up against veteran righty Jason Hammel for the Royals. First pitch of the first game on Friday is scheduled for 8:15 PM ET.

Also, happy belated Independence Day.

 

RECAP: #RedSox Held to One Run by CC Sabathia as Yankees Win Big in Series Opener.

Entering Friday with sole possession of first place in the American League East, the Red Sox had a big task at hand in the form of a three game weekend series against the New York Yankees. While splitting the season series thus far at 3-3, this particular series, although relatively early in the year, could prove to be quite meaningful for the division race later in September.

Making his 16th start of the season on Friday night, Eduardo Rodriguez was not as effective as he was in his only other appearance against the Yankees this season. In that start, back on May 10th, New York was held scoreless in the five innings the lefty pitched in.

Last night though, although he did pitch deeper into the game, Rodriguez got rocked for five runs on seven hits and two walks while only recording two strikeouts.

Things began to go awry for the Venezuela native starting in the bottom half of the second inning, when Yankees rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres ripped a hard-hit triple to lead off the frame.

That was followed by an RBI single off the bat of another Yankees rookie in Miguel Andujar, and just like that, the Yankees had a one run lead which they would not have to look back from.

After tossing a scoreless third, the fourth inning is where Rodriguez struggled the most. In fact, the southpaw needed 30 pitches to get through the frame in which he surrendered four runs, highlighted by back-to-back homers from Andujar and then Greg Bird.

From that point on, Rodriguez did hold the Yankees scoreless while retiring six of the seven batters he faced to end an otherwise disappointing night.

Over his last two outings, the 25-year-old hurler’s ERA has inflated from 3.59 after his start in Seattle, all the way up to 4.11 after his performance on Friday. He’ll look to get back on the winning side in his next time out, which is more than likely to come against the Washington Nationals on Independence Day.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox only turned to one relief pitcher in this one, and that was Justin Haley. Given the fact they were already trailing by four runs by the time Haley entered in the seventh inning, it makes sense that Alex Cora would want to save the rest of his bullpen for the remaining two games of this series.

In the two innings he pitched in, Haley got hit decently hard. First, Aaron Judge, a college teammate of Haley’s, blasted a two-run home run for his 21st of the season in the seventh. And in the eighth, Greg Bird struck once again for his second homer of the night to essentially put this game out of reach if it was not already at 8-1.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was limited to just one run thanks to Yankees starter CC Sabathia.

In his only other start against Boston this season on May 10th, Sabathia surrendered four runs on nine hits in a rain-shortened four innings of work. That was not the case last night.

Nope, the 18 year veteran lefty gave up one run in the fifth inning, which is all the damage the Red Sox could do in this one.

That run came on an Andrew Benintendi RBI double to score Mookie Betts from second, in case you were interested. Other than that, guys like JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers were all held without a single hit.

On the bright side things, newly acquired Steve Pearce made his Red Sox debut at first base last night, and in his very first at bat with his new team, ripped a leadoff double on the first pitch he saw from Sabathia in the second inning.

The former Blue Jay also collected his second hit of the night later on in the fourth, so recording a multi-hit game in your first game with a new team is not too shabby, I guess.

Heading into tonight’s contest now in a deadlock atop the AL East, Chris Sale will be given the responsibility of trying to lead the Red Sox to just their second win at Yankee Stadium this year. He’ll be matched up against Yankees righty Sonny Gray, who in his only other start against the Red Sox this season, gave up six earned runs in just three innings pitched back on April 12th.

First pitch of the middle game is scheduled for 7:15 PM ET on FOX. Time to even this series up.

RECAP: Mike Leake Tosses Eight Shutout Innings as #RedSox Drop Second Game to Mariners in 7-2 Loss.

How do you follow up a 14 run outpouring on the first game back from a road trip, be getting shutout up until the ninth inning, of course!

That’s right, folks. The Red Sox did not score their first runs of the game until their last at bats of last night’s contest against the Mariners in a situation where they were already down by seven runs. Let’s get into it.

Making his 15th start of the season on Friday night, Eduardo Rodriguez had his worst performance on the mound in nearly two months. Facing off a team he had just pitched against less than a week ago in Seattle, the Mariners got to the lefty for five runs in just four innings.

If you remember in his last time out, Rodriguez limited the M’s to two runs over six frames in a winning effort this past Sunday evening. The Mariners must have made some sound adjustments to their game plan for last night’s game, because they were all over the lefty in this one.

Before he even had the chance to record the first out of the ballgame, Dee Gordon had already crossed the plate thanks to a leadoff single that was followed by a Mitch Haniger RBI double.

Later on in the third, Ryon Healy plated his teams third run of the night when, after Nelson Cruz lined a one out double, the Mariners first baseman reached first base on a Tzu-Wei Lin fielding error which allowed Cruz to score all the way from second.

An inning later is where things really seemed to escape from Rodriguez. In his final frame of work, the Venezuela native allowed five baserunners to reach on three hits and two walks. Those five baserunners plated three more runs for the Mariners, and that pretty much put this game out of reach for the Red Sox.

Falling to 9-2 on the season now, Rodriguez finished with 86 pitches (52 strikes) on the night. Not too efficient in that department, and the theme of the night for the 25-year-old hurler appeared to be his inability to put away batters with two strikes in the count. Topping out at 96 MPH with his four-seamer, ERod will look to rebound from this shaky start in his next time out against the Yankees in New York next weekend.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was tasked with getting through five innings while keeping Seattle within striking distance.

Hector Velazquez got the first call and for the second time in three days allowed two runs to score off of him. He gave up two garbage time runs in Minnesota on Thursday and in a more important situation last night, surrendered another two in three innings of work to make it a 7-0 game by the time he departed in the middle of the seventh.

From that point on, Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree combined for two scoreless frames of work in the eighth and ninth to lower their ERA’s on the season to 1.13 and 3.86 respectively.

On the other side of things, Mariners starter Mike Leake could do no wrong against a Red Sox lineup fresh off one of their better performances of the year. Last time Leake saw them, in that same game Rodriguez pitched in last Sunday, the Red Sox knocked the 30-year old hurler around a bit for five runs in the six innings he pitched. This time though, we saw a much different story.

In eight full innings, Leake limited the Red Sox to a whopping five baserunners. Three hits, two walks, and five strikeouts, this was for sure his best start of the season. With both Mookie Betts (illness) and Xander Bogaerts (finger) out of the lineup, it’s understandable why the lineup struggled, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow to say the least.

In fact, it wasn’t until the ninth when the Red Sox finally got on the board. With closer Edwin Diaz making his first appearance in a week, Mitch Moreland and Eduardo Nunez were able to collect RBI hits off of the Mariners flamethrower to cut the deficit to five runs. That’s all they were able to do though, as this thing finished with a final score of 7-2. For the Mariners, a five-game losing streak came to an end. For the Red Sox, a two game-winning streak also came to an end.

Some other notes from this loss:

Prior to last night’s contest, the Red Sox recalled IF Tzu-Wei Lin from Triple A Pawtucket while also optioning RP Robby Scott down to Pawtucket.

In gamed Eduardo Rodriguez starts this season, the Red Sox are now 13-2.

Mitch Moreland extended his hitting streak to six games last night. Over that stretch, he’s 11-for-23 (.478 AVG) with five RBI, eight runs scored, and two triples.

Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are expected to be back in the lineup today.

With both sided looking for the series win this afternoon, it will be a pitching matchup featuring a pair of lefty’s. For Seattle, Marco Gonzales will be making his first career start against the Red Sox. And for Boston, it will be Chris Sale making the start. Sale, who missed pitching in the four-game series in Seattle, is coming off a start in which he took a perfect game into the fifth inning against the Twins, yet the Red Sox came away with the loss. First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.

Also, here’s a video of Triston Casas (1st round draft pick) taking BP at Fenway prior to yesterday’s game.

RECAP: Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts Homer as #RedSox End Series in Seattle with a 9-3 Win.

Entering Sunday having lost their last two games against the Mariners, the Red Sox looked to even the series up before heading to Minnesota for the final leg of their road trip that starts on Tuesday.

Coming off a quality outing in his last time out against the Orioles, Eduardo Rodriguez  put together yet another solid performance on the mound yesterday afternoon. In six full innings pitched, the first time he’s gone that deep this month, the lefty surrendered two runs on six hits and one walk while notching nine strikeouts on the day.

Rodriguez’s first three innings went fairly smoothly, as he scattered two hits and that one walk while recording the first nine outs quietly, but the fourth and the fifth were a different story.

With notable slugger Nelson Cruz in for his second at bat of the day to lead off the fourth, the native of Venezuela served up a 3-2, 89 MPH two-seam fastball to the Mariners DH, and he took it 442(!) feet to left to put his team on the board. His first career hit off of Rodriguez in eight tries.

An inning later, three straight singles from the 8-9-1 hitters in the Mariners lineup loaded the bases with no outs for Jean Segura. A run came around to score when Segura grounded into a force out at second, but that was all Rodriguez gave up in an 18 pitch inning.

With his pitch count at 96 going into the bottom half of the seventh, Alex Cora must have wanted to get the most out of Rodriguez, because he came back out and proceeded to retire the side in order to end his day on a more positive note.

Now finishing with a grand total of 113 pitches (70 strikes), the 25-year-old hurler topped out at 95.1 MPH with his four-seam fastball, which he threw 29% of the time. Later improving to 9-1 on the season, Rodriguez will look to continue this successful run he’s been on as of late in his next time out, which should come against the Mariners once again back at home next weekend.

Needing nine more outs to clinch the series-split, the Red Sox bullpen, with an initial three-run lead to work with entering the bottom of the seventh, took care of business against a pesky Mariners lineup.

Bouncing back from a blown save on Friday night, Matt Barnes tossed a 1-2-3 seventh inning on 13 pitches. Making his fourth appearance of the road trip in the eighth, Brandon Workman could only record the first two outs of the inning while the Mariners plated a run. Hector Velazquez would be inserted into a bit of a jam, end the inning, and wrap this thing up by pitching a scoreless final frame with a pure display of athleticism on the final out. 49th win of the season secured.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup rebounded from getting shutout on Saturday night in a big way.

In the third, after Leake had retired the first two batters he faced, two singles from Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts and a JD Martinez walk loaded the bases for Mitch Moreland.

Entering yesterday’s contest 1-for-his-last-18, the first baseman broke out of that slump by ripping a two-run single to center field to put the Red Sox on top early.

Having just seen his 10-game hitting streak come to an end the day before, Rafael Devers followed up that Moreland RBI knock by mashing his 11th home run of the season to right field.

408 feet with an exit velocity of 106 MPH on that one for Devers, in the place where he hit his first career homer as well.

Fast forward to the seventh and the Red Sox bats struck again, this time for three runs on two home runs.

Leading off the inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. took M’s reliever Chasen Bradford yard for his fourth big fly of the season.

And three batters later, after Andrew Benintendi singled before him, Xander Bogaerts stayed hot by launching his third home run in his last four games to pretty much put this thing out of reach. 436 feet, 109 MPH exit velo. on the shortstop’s 12th long ball of the season.

One note from this win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox improve to 13-1 in Eduardo Rodriguez’s starts this season. Rodriguez is 9-1 with a 3.59 ERA, including 6-0 with a 2.29 ERA in his last 6 starts.

With an off day today in Minnesota, the Red Sox will look to take advantage of below-average Twins team starting tomorrow. The last time Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello were lined up to pitch in the same series, the Red Sox dropped two out of three to the White Sox. This time though, they’ll be looking for different results against another AL Central team. Chris Sale gets the ball in the series opener, as does Jose Berrios for the Twins, with first pitch scheduled for 8:10 PM ET on Tuesday.

 

 

 

RECAP: Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers Homer as #RedSox Pick up Series Win in Baltimore.

After taking 12 innings to take the series opener from the Orioles on Monday, the Red Sox had themselves an ugly win against Baltimore that took nearly four hours to complete last night.

Making his 13th start of the season on Tuesday, Eduardo Rodriguez had himself a busy night against the team he began his professional career with. Pitching into the sixth inning of this one, the lefty surrendered two runs on eight hits and two walks while fanning four.

Right from the beginning, it did not appear that things  were going to go smoothly for the Venezuelan hurler. In fact, Joey Rickard greeted Rodriguez by launching a 395 foot home run to lead things off in the bottom of the first.

From that point on, Rodriguez did not have one clean frame of work, as the Orioles reached base at least once in every inning the 25-year-old pitched in. Luckily though, they did not do too great of a job of capitalizing on those opportunities, since, outside of that leadoff home run, Rodriguez gave up just one run in the third inning before departing with two outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the sixth.

Finishing with 109 pitches (67 strikes), Rodriguez’s night came to an end after giving up a single to Craig Genrty. That made way for Hector Velazquez, who hadn’t pitched since last Friday, to take over things in the sixth.

Needing one out to get out of the inning, Velazquez struck out catcher Austin Wynns to retire the side. Coming back out for the seventh, the Mexico native did not have nearly the same amount of luck, as he loaded the bases for the Orioles in between recording the first two outs. And for the second night in a row, we got Joe Kelly coming into a high stress situation with the bases loaded.

Unlike Monday, Kelly did not need a strikeout to get out of the bases loaded jam. Instead, he got Jonathan Schoop to softly ground a comebacker to himself and made the toss to home for the inning-ending force out.

In the eighth, Matt Barnes was the recipient of some bad luck when, after he walked the first guy he saw in Mark Trumbo, Craig Gentry, Graig Gentry reached base on what looked like a routine groundout set up for a double play. Instead, Rafael Devers, who had been playing great defense at third lately, misplayed it and everyone was safe.

Thankfully, the UCONN alum bounced back and retired the next three batters he faced in order, with some help from JD Martinez, to get out of yet another jam.

Entering the ninth with a four run lead, it was a bit surprising to see Craig Kimbrel, who pitched on Monday, enter the game in a nonsave situation. As he usually does, the Red Sox closer did not look all that comfortable pitching in a game that was not close at the time, and he gave up two runs on one hit and two walks to make things interesting before striking out Pedro Alvarez to lock up the series win. It was the first time since May 26th against the Braves that Kimbrel had been roughed up in an outing.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup got to Orioles starter David Hess early for the second time this season. They scored five runs off of him in 4.2 innings pitched last month, and they got to him for another five runs in just 3.1 innings on Tuesday night.

Rafael Devers got the scoring started in the top of the second when, after Xander Bogaerts drew a walk to leadoff the inning, the young third baseman mashed his 10th big fly of the season 396 feet to right field to put his team in front early. On that home run, Devers became the fifth member of the Red Sox to reach double-digit home runs this year.

An inning later, Andrew Benintendi joined in on the action by launching his 12th homer of the season 402 feet to center field.

In the fourth, after Hess loaded the bases with one out in the inning, Benintendi came through again by drawing a five pitch walk to pick up his 46th RBI of the season.

That led to an Orioles pitching change, and righty Miguel Castro took things over with the bases still loaded. With JD Martinez at the plate, a balk allowed everyone to move up and another run was on the board. Castro then reloaded the bases for Mitch Moreland, but he grounded into an inning ending double play to end the threat.

To wrap up the scoring, Christian Vazquez knocked in Xander Bogaerts on an RBI single in the fifth, and the Orioles bullpen shut them down from that point until the middle of the ninth inning. In total, the Red Sox reached base 19 times last night, but they still got outhit 9-11 by the Orioles. I hate to say it, but I think this game may have gone in a different direction if the Orioles were not one of, if not, the worst team in the American League.

Some notes from this win:

Forgot to mention this earlier, but the Red Sox are now 12-1 in Eduardo Rodriguez’s starts this season.

Despite the shiny 1.93 ERA, Hector Velazquez does own a 1.44 WHIP this season. He gets hit a decent amount, but he is definitely the benefactor of some good luck.

In the seven game hitting streak he is currently riding, Rafael Devers is slashing .296/.321/.519.

At his current pace, Andrew Benintendi is projected to finish this season with 31 HR and 117 RBI.

Jackie Bradley Jr. was the only member of the Red Sox lineup who failed to reach base last night.

On a more positive note, the Red Sox will look to close out this series with a sweep in a few hours. Chris Sale will be taking the mound for his 15th start and he will be matched up against righty Yefry Ramirez, who will be making his major league debut for the Orioles. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 PM. Last one before heading out to Seattle.