Red Sox crush 3 homers, punch out season-high 18 batters in 4-1 win over Tigers to snap 5-game skid

After a few stressful days, the Red Sox can breathe a collective sigh of relief as they put their five-game losing streak behind them with a 4-1 victory over the Tigers at Comerica Park on Wednesday night.

Former Tigers All-Star J.D. Martinez gave the Sox an early lead in the middle game of this three-game series, as he crushed a 410 foot solo shot off Detroit starter and former first overall draft pick Casey Mize to lead things off in the top half of the second inning.

Martinez’s 21st home run of the season put Boston up 1-0, and they added more on to that later on in the fifth.

There, with Mize still on the hill for Detroit, Hunter Renfroe ripped a line-drive double to lead off the inning, while Franchy Cordero struck out and Christian Vazquez flew out for the first two outs.

At that time, the Red Sox had gone 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, and it appeared as though they were going to let another scoring opportunity go to waste.

Enrique Hernandez had other plans, however, as he took a 3-2, 87 mph slider down the heart of the plate from Mize and deposited it 426 feet to deep left-center field for his 15th big fly of the year — a two-run blast.

Moments later, Jarren Duran followed with a solo shot of his own, this time taking Mize 355 feet down the left field line for his second big-league homer — and first since July 19.

Hernandez and Duran going back-to-back gave Boston the 4-0 lead over Detroit, and that four-run edge was more than enough for Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez to work with.

Rodriguez, making his 21st start of the season for Boston, put together his best outing since being removed from his July 23 start against the Yankees early due to migraine symptoms.

Over five solid, scoreless innings of work on Wednesday, the left-hander kept the Tigers off the board while scattering just two hits and four walks to go along with a season-high 10 strikeouts on the night.

Right out of the gate, Rodriguez ran into some early trouble in the bottom of the first when he issued a one-out walk to Jonathan Schoop that was followed by a hard-hit single off the bat of Robbie Grossman to put runners on the corners. But Rodriguez escaped the jam by fanning Miguel Cabrera and Eric Haase in consecutive order.

While he did deal with his fair share of traffic the rest of the way, the Venezuelan southpaw did manage to limit the damage in that he did not allow a single run to cross the plate.

The fifth inning presented one final challenge for Rodriguez, as he walked two of the first four hitters he faced in the frame before getting Grossman to punch out to retire the side and end his evening on a positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (64 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler ultimately earned his eighth winning decision of the year while also lowering his ERA to 5.33.

In relief of Rodriguez, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he danced his way around a tight spot by recording a pair of potentially game-altering strikeouts.

From there, Josh Taylor got the first two outs of the seventh before serving up a solo home run to Schoop to trim Boston’s lead down to three runs at 4-1.

That — and a six-pitch walk of Grossman — resulted in Adam Ottavino taking over for Taylor, and the veteran righty did his job by getting Cabrera to fly out to end the seventh while also striking out a pair in a scoreless bottom of the eighth.

With a three-run lead to protect going into the ninth, Red Sox closer Matt Barnes, freshly activated from the COVID-19 related injured list, was deposited for his first outing in exactly a week, and he slammed the door on the Tigers to notch his 24th save of the season while also locking down the 4-1 victory for his side.

All in all, five Boston pitchers combined to punch out a season-high 18 Detroit hitters on Wednesday night.

With the win, not only do the Sox snap a brutal five-game skid, but they also improve to 64-45 on the season to remain one game back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Perez vs. Skubal

The Red Sox will send veteran left-hander Martin Perez to the hill as they go for the series win over the Tigers at Comerica Park on Thursday afternoon.

Detroit will counter with rookie lefty Tarik Skubal, who has yet to face off against Boston since making his major-league debut last August.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Hunter Renfroe and Enrique Hernandez: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Red Sox see losing streak grow to 5 straight games as they drop series opener to Tigers, 4-2

Looking to turn around their fortunes after a winless start to their longest road trip of the season, the Red Sox were unable to get it done in the first of three at Comerica Park in Detroit, as they quietly fell to the Tigers by a final score of 4-2 to mark their fifth consecutive loss.

Matched up against Tigers starter Wily Peralta, the Sox actually jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on a J.D. Martinez RBI single in the first and Hunter Renfroe solo homer in the second inning, but were not able to push across anything after that.

Red Sox starter Garrett Richards, meanwhile, was once again underwhelming in allowing three earned runs on five hits, two walks, and five strikeouts over just four-plus innings of work.

After being handed that early two-run cushion to work with, Richards gave one of those runs right back to the Tigers in the bottom half of the second when he served up a solo shot to Miguel Cabrera, marking the 498th career home run for the future Hall of Famer.

Fast forward to the fourth, and Detroit threatened once more, this time loading the bases off Richards without recording an out before Harold Castro drove in the tying run on a sacrifice fly.

To his credit, Richards escaped the fourth without giving anything else up, but the veteran right-hander saw his night come to an end an inning later when he issued a leadoff walk to the Tigers’ No. 9 hitter — Derek Hill — that was followed by a hard-hit RBI double off the bat of Akil Baddoo, thus putting Detroit ahead, 3-2.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 72 (46 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler, who ultimately raised his ERA on the season up to an unsightly 5.21, was given the hook in favor of Hirokazu Sawamura.

Sawamura got out of the fifth with the help of an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, while Hansel Robles punched out the side in a scoreless bottom half of the sixth.

The Tigers, however, tacked on an important insurance run in their half of the seventh right after the Sox had failed to even things up in the top of the inning.

With Yacksel Rios on the mound for Boston, a two-out double from Jonathan Schoop proved to be the catalyst for Detroit as Robbie Grossman followed with a run-scoring single to make it a 4-2 contest.

Austin Davis kept the deficit at two by keeping the Tigers off the board in the eighth, thus giving the Sox a fighting chance in the top half of the ninth with closer Gregory Soto in for Detroit.

Christian Vazquez flew out and a pinch-hitting Bobby Dalbec punched out for the first two outs of the frame, but in a tough left-on-left matchup, Jarren Duran was able to reach base via an infield single to bring the potential tying run to the plate in the form of Rafael Devers.

Devers, however, struck out on five pitches, with the fifth and final pitch from Soto being a nasty 2-2, 101 mph sinker on the outer half of the plate.

All in all, the Sox did record nine hits on Tuesday night, but went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position while leaving nine runners on base as a team.

With the 4-2 loss — their fifth straight, Boston falls to 63-45 on the season, though they remain just one game back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Rodriguez vs. Mize

The Red Sox will send left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to the hill in the second game of this three-game set on Wednesday as they look to put a halt to this five-game skid.

Rodriguez, in turn, will be opposed by Tigers rookie right-hander and 2018 first overall draft pick Casey Mize.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Garrett Richards: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Red Sox swept by Rays following 3-2 defeat; Boston extends losing streak to season-high 4 straight games

After Xander Bogaerts essentially described Sunday night’s series finale against the Rays as a must-win, the Red Sox came up short at Tropicana Field and were unable to avoid a three-game series sweep at the hands of their division rivals by a final score of 3-2.

Nick Pivetta, making his 21st start of the season for the Sox, took a perfect game into the third inning after sitting down each of the first eight batters he faced in order.

A two-out walk to the Rays’ No. 9 hitter in the bottom of the third, however, altered the course for Pivetta, as he saw his no-hit bid come to an end moments later by serving up a two-run home run to Brandon Lowe on a 3-2, 85 mph slider that was grooved down the heart of the plate.

Lowe’s blast put Tampa Bay up 2-0, but the Boston bats were able to cut that deficit in half in the top of the fourth. There, when matched up against tough Rays starter Shane McClanahan, ex-Rays outfielder Hunter Renfroe put a charge into his 16th big fly of the year.

Renfroe turned around a 2-2, 97 mph fastball from McClanahan and deposited it 427 feet to deep center field. The solo shot, which had an exit velocity of 104 mph, made it a 2-1 game in favor of the Rays.

The Sox had a chance to do more damage in the inning, with Christian Vazquez ripping a one-out single and Alex Verdugo advancing him into scoring position by drawing a walk, but McClanahan rallied by getting Kevin Plawecki to fly out and Bobby Dalbec to strike out to escape the jam.

Pivetta, meanwhile, got through a scoreless fourth inning unscathed, but ran into more trouble in the fifth when he yielded a leadoff single to rookie phenom Wander Franco.

A wild pitch from the right-hander allowed Franco to move up to second base, and old friend Manuel Margot took full advantage of that miscue by lacing a run-scoring single to right field to bring in Franco and make it a 3-1 contest in favor of his side.

Following that sequence, Pivetta was able to record the first two outs of the fifth, but his night ended then and there when Red Sox manager Alex Cora gave him the hook with the left-handed hitting Lowe due up next for the Rays.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 76 (54 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler wound up surrendering three earned runs on three hits, one walk, and six strikeouts.

In relief of Pivetta, left-hander Josh Taylor was called upon to face Lowe, and he won that particular matchup by getting him to pop out into foul territory to retire the side.

From there, recently-acquired reliever Hansel Robles made his Red Sox debut in the sixth inning, and he maneuvered his way around a leadoff single by inducing a fielder’s choice out and 3-6-3 double play in his lone scoreless frame of work.

The Rays turned to their bullpen starting in the seventh after McClanahan had given them six strong innings, and Verdugo greeted their first reliever of the night — Drew Rasmussen — by lining a scorching 111 mph double down the right field line to lead things off.

Verdugo moved up to third on a Plawecki fly out and scored on a wild pitch while Kiké Hernández, but even after Hernández himself singled and Rafael Devers drew a walk with two outs, a slumping J.D. Martinez was unable to bring in either runner and instead grounded into a force out to leave things at 3-2 in favor of Tampa Bay.

Following two scoreless innings of relief from Garrett Whitlock in which he scattered three total hits thanks to some stellar defense behind him out of the bullpen, the Red Sox were down to their final three outs going into their half of the ninth inning.

With righty reliever Matt Wisler on the mound for the Rays, Plawecki and Jarren Duran (pinch-hitting for Dalbec) grounded out and punched out, respectively. But Hernández provided a spark by reaching base on a two-out single.

The pinch-running Jonathan Arauz took over for Hernández as the base runner at first base, and Devers was able to advance him all the way up to third on another base hit to center field, leaving things in the hands of Martinez.

Very much in need of a hit, Martinez got ahead in the count against Wisler at 3-1, but swung at an outside pitch that likely would have been a ball before putting an 81 mph slider that was down and away in play.

Unfortunately for Martinez, the ball left his bat at just 71 mph and traveled a mere 226 feet before landing in the glove of Margot for the third and final out of the ninth, thus sealing a 3-2 defeat for the Sox.

In the process of getting swept by the Rays on Sunday night, the Red Sox went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position while leaving 10 men on base as a team.

Sunday’s loss also extends Boston’s losing streak to a season-high four consecutive games, dropping them to 63-44 on the year. They now trail Tampa Bay by 1 1/2 games for first place in the American League East after what was undoubtedly a crushing weekend.

That said, the Red Sox will be off on Monday as they prepare to embark upon the next portion of this three-city road trip in Detroit against a surprising 51-57 Tigers team led by Cora’s former colleague in A.J. Hinch.

Boston previously bested Detroit by taking the opening and concluding games of a three-game set at Fenway Park back in early May. The Sox outscored the Tigers, 28-22, in the process of doing so.

This time around, right-hander Garrett Richards will get the ball for Boston in Tuesday’s series opener at Comerica Park. He will be opposed by fellow righty Wily Peralta for Detroit.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Red Sox will be looking to snap this four-game skid.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo and Hunter Renfroe: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Kiké Hernández comes through in clutch as Red Sox come back to defeat Yankees, 5-4, in extras

The Red Sox were down to their final out in the ninth inning Thursday night, trailing the Yankees by a score of 3-1, and on the verge of dropping their third straight game to their division rivals.

With runners on first and second base, Kiké Hernández came to the plate having already driven in Boston’s lone run of the night. In front of him, Alex Verdugo was at second base, while Jarren Duran — pinch-running for Bobby Dalbec — represented the tying run on first base.

Matched up against Yankees reliever Chad Green, Hernández got ahead in the count at 1-0 before taking a 96 mph fastball down the heart of the plate and ripping a two-run double off the Green Monster.

Verdugo was able to easily score from second, while the speedy Duran came in all the way from first to knot things up at three runs apiece.

After Red Sox closer Matt Barnes allowed one unearned run to cross the plate in the top of the 10th despite tossing a 1-2-3 inning, Boston took advantage of a wild Brooks Kriske in their half of the frame.

The Yankees reliever began his night by throwing a pair of wild pitches that allowed Rafael Devers — who started the inning at second base — to score and tie it at 4-4 while Xander Bogaerts was at the plate.

Bogaerts himself walked, and he, too, moved up to third base on two more wild pitches from Kriske, which set up Hunter Renfroe to drive in the winning run with a sacrifice fly to right field.

With the 5-4 win, their 30th of the comeback variety this year, the Red Sox improve to 59-38 on the season while maintaining their one-game lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Houck’s solid start shortened by rain

Well before all of Thursday night’s late-inning drama from Fenway Park, Tanner Houck made his third start of the season for the Red Sox, which was also his first major-league start in more than three months.

As he did out of the bullpen in the Bronx last weekend, Houck was fairly dominant against the Yankees this time around. The right-hander retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced before a pair of leadoff walks in the top of the fourth did him in, as Gleyber Torres brought in Brett Gardner on an RBI groundout to put New York ahead, 1-0, in that same inning.

Still, Houck got through the rest of the fourth unscathed and got the first two outs of the fifth before the volume of rain in the Fenway-area picked up and forced a 55-minute rain delay that would subsequently end his day prematurely.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 87 (54 strikes), the 25-year-old hurler wound up yielding just one unearned run on two hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts over 4 2/3 strong innings of work. His next start should come against the Blue Jays at Fenway next Wednesday.

After the rain delay

Following that lengthy rain delay, left-hander Josh Taylor came on in relief of Houck, got out of the fifth inning, and tossed a clean sixth inning as well.

In the process of the Red Sox bullpen taking over for Houck, the Sox offense was struggling to get anything going against Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery.

The left-hander held the Boston bats in check throughout his 5 2/3 innings of work, but they were able to finally break through in the bottom of the seventh.

There, after Darwinzon Hernandez had punched out a pair in the top of the inning, two straight one-out singles from Verdugo and Dalbec off New York reliever Lucas Luetge set something in motion.

Michael Chavis proceeded to rip a hard-hit groundball to third base that looked as though it could have gone for a double play, but Tyler Wade bobbled the baseball, thus preventing that from happening.

With the bases now loaded as the Sox lineup turned back over, Hernández came through with his first heroic of the night in scoring Verdugo on a game-tying sacrifice fly.

A Devers infield single very well could have continued the rally, but Dalbec was thrown out at home by Torres after trying to score from second, and that ended the inning.

Former Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino ran into some trouble against his old team in the top of the eighth, as he allowed the go-ahead run — and an additional run — to score thanks in part to allowing two walks, a stolen base, one hit, and one sacrifice fly off the bat of Torres that saw the Yankees go up 3-1.

Fast forward to the ninth, with Green on the hill for New York, Hernández delivered once more with that aforementioned game-tying, two-run double to left field to send this one to extras.

In the top of the 10th, Barnes yielded an unearned run in an otherwise perfect inning of relief, and would later earn his fifth win of the season when Renfroe walked it off on his sacrifice fly a half inning later.

By completing their 30th come-from-behind victory this year, the Red Sox have extended their winning streak to three consecutive games. As was previously stated, they are now 59-38 on the season, which is good for the best record in the American League.

Next up: Cole vs. Rodriguez

Friday’s starting pitching matchup between the Red Sox and Yankees will feature left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston opposite ace right-hander Gerrit Cole for New York.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Jarren Duran hits first major-league homer, Kiké Hernández goes yard twice, and Hunter Renfroe mashes grand slam as Red Sox power their way to 13-4 win over Blue Jays

It turns out a lineup shakeup is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Red Sox on Monday night.

In the midst of a bit of an offensive malaise since coming out of the All-Star break, Sox manager Alex Cora changed things up with his lineup in dramatic fashion ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays in Buffalo, and those changes proved to be quite beneficial right from the get-go.

That being the case since the Red Sox mashed six home runs in the process of cruising to a 13-4 victory over the Blue Jays at Sahlen Field.

Matched up against Toronto starter Ross Stripling, Kiké Hernández set the tone in the top of the first with a leadoff double.

Jarren Duran, inserted into the two-hole, followed by crushing his first career major-league home run — a two-run, 357-foot shot to left field that gave Boston an early 2-0 lead, but they were not done yet.

A Rafael Devers walk, J.D. Martinez double, and Alex Verdugo walk with one out brought Hunter Renfroe to the plate with the bases loaded, and the slugger obliged by unloading them on a 403-foot grand slam to left-center field. 6-0.

Stripling was given the hook after recording just one out, though Blue Jays reliever Anthony Kay did not fare much better, as he issued a two-out single to Kevin Plawecki before serving up a two-run blast to Hernández.

With Hernández, Duran, and Renfroe all going yard in the first, Monday marked the first time in franchise history that the Red Sox have ever hit three or more home runs in the first inning of a road game.

Hernández’s first of two big flies on the night put Boston up 8-0 before Toronto even had a chance to take their first at-bats, and they tacked on even more in their half of the second.

There, a solo home run off the bat of Devers — his 23rd — that was sent 392 feet to right-center field made it a 9-0 contest, while Martinez and Verdugo both reached to put runners on for Danny Santana, who laced a two-run double down the left field line to clear the bases and give his side an 11-0 advantage.

While the new-look Red Sox lineup was getting things done on their end, Nick Pivetta was making his 19th start of the season for Boston on the other side.

Despite receiving a healthy amount of run support, Pivetta certainly was not at his best in Buffalo on Monday.

After getting out of a first-inning jam thanks to a double play, the right-hander tossed two additional scoreless frames. Santana provided additional subsidence by clubbing his fourth homer of the year — a solo shot — in the top half of the fourth, giving the Red Sox a 12-0 lead, but Pivetta got knocked around somewhat in the bottom half.

A leadoff walk of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was the first harbinger of what was to come for Pivetta, while a base hit from George Springer put runners at second and third for Teoscar Hernandez, who broke up the shutout bid on an RBI groundout.

Randal Grichuk plated another on a sacrifice fly that brought in Springer, Cavan Biggio unloaded on a first-pitch fastball from Pivetta that he sent 390 feet into the right field seats, and Bo Bichette — with the bases full in front of him — tapped an RBI single a mere three feet down the third base line to make it a 12-4 contest.

Hernández got one of those runs back in Boston’s half of the sixth, as he took Toronto reliever Taylor Saucedo 382 feet deep to left field on a line-drive that left his bat at 108 mph.

With his his second big fly of the night, the 29-year-old reached the 500-hit mark for his big-league career.

Pivetta, after escaping a laborious fourth inning, came back out for the fifth and rebounded a bit by retiring six of the next nine Blue Jays he faced, but his evening did come to an end when he gave up a one-out single to Springer in the seventh to put runners at first and second.

Instead of having his starter attempt to finish the inning, Cora turned to Hirokazu Sawamura out of the bullpen, and the righty answered the call by getting Grichuk to fly out to Verdugo in left for the third and final out of the frame.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 108 (75 strikes), Pivetta wound up allowing four runs — all earned — on a season-high 11 hits, two walks, one hit batsman, and four strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings of work.

The 28-year-old hurler was able to improve to 8-4 on the year, though he did raise his ERA up to 4.37. His next start should come against the Yankees back at Fenway Park on Sunday.

From the middle of the seventh inning on, Darwinzon Hernandez took over for Sawamura, and the lefty rebounded from a tough weekend in the Bronx by punching out a pair in a perfect inning of relief.

Adam Ottavino, meanwhile, made his first relief appearance since July 11, and the veteran righty shut the door on the Jays with a scoreless ninth to preserve a 13-4 win for the Red Sox.

With the win, the Sox snap a two-game skid to improve to 57-38 on the season while also moving to 1 1/2 games ahead of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Richards vs. TBD

The Red Sox will look to do something against the Blue Jays on Tuesday that they haven’t done in a while, and that’s win a series.

Right-hander Garrett Richards will get the start for Boston in the middle game of this three-game set, while Toronto has yet to name a starter.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Jarren Duran: Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

J.D. Martinez and Hunter Renfroe homer, Kiké Hernández makes jaw-dropping diving catch as Red Sox top Royals, 6-2, on rain-filled night at Fenway Park

It took more than five hours to complete on account of two lengthy rain delays, but the Red Sox were able to come away with a 6-2 win over the Royals on a stormy Wednesday night/early Thursday morning at Fenway Park.

With the victory, Boston reaches the halfway point of their season having improved to 50-31 on the year. They also extended their winning streak to six consecutive games while increasing their lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East to three full games.

Martin Perez made his 16th start of the season for the Sox on Wednesday (at 7:40 p.m. as opposed to 7:10 p.m. thanks to a 30-minute delay), facing off against Kansas City for the second time in as many weeks.

The left-hander stumbled out of the gate a bit by serving up a solo home run to Salvador Perez in the second inning, but then managed to settle in nicely from there.

Over 5 1/3 innings of work, Perez wound up surrendering just two runs — both of which were earned — on seven hits and zero walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night.

In the top of the fifth, Perez received some help from his center fielder, as Enrique Hernandez made a fantastic sprawling catch on a Hanser Alberto fly ball to both prevent the Royals from scoring and end the inning since it came with two outs.

The only other run Perez gave up came in the top half of the sixth, when he yielded an RBI groundout to Carlos Santana, and his outing came to a close shortly after that.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 86 (54 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler was ultimately hit with the no-decision in this one, though he did lower his ERA on the year to 4.04. His next start should come against the Angels in Anaheim next Monday.

In relief of Perez, Brandon Workman came on and escaped the sixth by inducing an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Hunter Dozier.

At that point, the skies opened up in the Fenway-area, the tarp came on the field, and another rain delay commenced, with this one lasting nearly two hours.

By the time the game resumed and a Red Sox pitcher took the mound again, it was nearly midnight. That long layoff did not seem to affect the Boston bullpen, though, as Darwinzon Hernandez tossed a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, Josh Taylor extended his consecutive scoreless appearance streak to 24 games with a perfect eighth inning, and Matt Barnes shut the door on the Royals in the ninth to preserve a 6-2 win for his side.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Royals left-hander Mike Minor, who they also saw last week in Kansas City.

Despite falling behind early on Wednesday, J.D. Martinez did not mess around in taking that lead back, as he belted a 420-foot three-run home run to deep center field off Minor to get his side on the board in the third inning.

Martinez’s 16th homer of the year had an exit velocity of more than 108 mph, and it also gave the Sox a 3-1 lead.

Fast forward to the fifth, and a leadoff single from Alex Verdugo proved to be the catalyst for another multi-run inning, with Xander Bogaerts plating him on an RBI base hit off the Green Monster and Hunter Renfroe driving in another run (Martinez) on a force out.

Renfroe’s productive night at the plate would not end there, however, as the right-handed hitting slugger came out of the in-game delay and cranked a 427-foot solo shot over everything in left field with one out in the eighth inning.

Capping off his month of June with a bang, Renfroe’s 12th big fly of the season (and fifth of the month) left his bat at 106.9 mph on a hanging slider from Royals reliever Anthony Swarzak.

The towering blast also gave the Red Sox a 6-2 lead over the Royals, and that would go on to be Wednesday’s final score, though the final out was technically recorded on Thursday morning.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

Next up: Bubic vs. Eovaldi

The Red Sox will wrap up their four-game series against the Royals while simultaneously opening up the second half of their season (Game No. 82) on Thursday afternoon.

Left-hander Kris Bubic is slated to get the ball for Kansas City, while Nathan Eovaldi will be doing the same for Boston. Also expect Connor Wong to get the start behind the plate.

First pitch Thursday (weather permitting) is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Final game of the homestand in which the Red Sox are a perfect 6-0.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Alex Cora on Hunter Renfroe: ‘He has been amazing the last two months’

Red Sox manager Alex Cora wants the baseball world to put more respect on Hunter Renfroe’s name.

Playing in the 500th game of his major-league career Monday night, Renfroe came through with two incredibly important home runs as part of a 2-for-4 showing at the plate in the Red Sox’ 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Royals at Fenway Park.

In the fourth inning, Renfroe took Royals starter Danny Duffy 439 feet deep to dead center field on a 1-0 changeup for a 107.5 mph two-run homer that cut the Sox’ deficit down to one run at 5-4.

In the sixth inning of what at the time was a 5-5 ballgame, Renfroe delivered once more, this time depositing a hanging, 2-1 curveball from Royals reliever Josh Staumont 434 feet over the Green Monster for the go-ahead (and what would prove to be game-winning) home run.

“He’s on balance, he’s making good swing decisions,” Cora said of Renfroe late Monday night. “He got a changeup up in the zone, he hit it out of the ballpark. And then a hanging breaking ball. He’s been doing this for a while.”

By going 2-for-4 with a pair of homers, two runs scored, and three runs driven in in Monday’s win, Renfroe raised his batting line on the season to .272/.330/.473, which subsequently bring his OPS over .800 (.803) for the first time this year.

After signing a one-year, $3.1 million deal with Boston over the winter, the 29-year-old’s Red Sox career did not get off to the best of starts as he hit a dismal .167/.235/.250 in the month of April, leaving many to wonder if he was long for remaining on the major-league roster.

Since the calendar flipped to May, however, Renfroe has flipped the switch offensively — all while providing Gold Glove-caliber defense in right field, as has been the case since the start of the season.

Going back to May 1, the right-handed hitter is slashing an impressive .307/.362/.547 to go along with 10 home runs and 32RBI over his last 49 games (196 plate appearances).

Coming into play on Monday, Renfroe had been worth 1.3 fWAR since the start of May, per FanGraphs. That put him ahead of the likes of Alex Verdugo (0.5) and J.D. Martinez (0.3) over that time frame.

“You start looking at his numbers, the average, the RBIs, the home runs, the on-base percentage, the last two months he has been playing All-Star caliber baseball,” said Cora. “And we know what he can do defensively. The way he’s playing, people need to start recognizing him as one of our best players.

“He’s been huge for us,” added Cora. “We always talk about the four guys (Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Martinez, Verdugo), but what he’s doing, he has been amazing the last two months.”

For Renfroe, this rise in offensive production comes at a point in the season where he is getting consistent playing time, the weather is getting warmer, and — probably most importantly — he is healthy and locked in at the plate, as evidenced by his ability to take the ball to the opposite field when necessary.

“I feel good,” Renfroe said. “I like where I am right now. Swinging the bat well, seeing the ball well. I think that’s the biggest part, seeing the ball before you hit it. Seeing the ball as good as I have in a long time so I’ve just got to keep going, staying with my approach and staying with my routine in the cage and just stay healthy.”

(Picture of Hunter Renfroe: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Hunter Renfroe delivers with 2 clutch home runs as Red Sox come back to defeat Royals, 6-5, in slugfest at Fenway Park

The Red Sox were able to extend their winning streak to four consecutive games at Fenway Park on Monday night, though it certainly did not look like it was going to turn that way early on.

Facing off against the Royals in the first of four, Sox starter Garrett Richards stumbled immensely out of the gate, as he issued back-to-back singles to Whit Merrifield and Jorge Soler before serving up a three-run home run to Carlos Santana.

Put another way, Richards had put his side in a three-run hole without recording a single out, and he allowed that hole to increase even more by yielding a pair of solo homers to Michael A. Taylor and Merrifield to make it a 5-1 contest in favor of Kansas City.

While Richards was having a difficult time of things, the Red Sox lineup certainly did their part to back him up.

Matched up against Royals ace left-hander Danny Duffy to begin things on Monday, Enrique Hernandez led off the bottom of the first by crushing a solo home run — his eighth of the season — over the Green Monster for the second straight day to get his side on the board.

An inning later, Bobby Dalbec followed suit by also leaving the yard on a 2-1, 94.5 mph fastball from Duffy that was down and in and deposited 397 feet to left field with an exit velocity of 107.6 mph off the bat. His 10th big fly of the year cut Boston’s deficit down to three runs at 5-2.

Having given up hits to six of the first 10 Royals he faced Monday, it did not seem Richards would be long for this one and Red Sox manager Alex Cora would have to go to his bullpen earlier than anticipated.

Somehow, someway though, Richards recovered and even settled into a decent groove, albeit without being able to put together a 1-2-3 frame.

Still, after surrendering five runs in the first two innings, Richards kept Kansas City off the scoreboard from the top of the second on. In doing so, he provided the Red Sox offense with a sizable window to get back into this one, and they capitalized on that in their half of the fourth.

Following a leadoff double from Xander Bogaerts, Hunter Renfroe — playing in the 500th game of his big-league career — demolished a two-run home run 439 feet to dead center to bring the Sox back to within one.

A pitching change in the fourth that saw righty Kyle Zimmer take over Duffy did not halt Boston’s momentum, as Dalbec greeted the Royals reliever with a single, moved up to second on a groundout, and advanced to third on a wild pitch before Michael Chavis drove him in on a game-tying, RBI single through the left side of the infield.

Richards, meanwhile, retired 12 of the final 17 hitters who came to the plate against him up until Nicky Lopez reached base on a two-out single in the sixth.

At that point, the 33-year-old hurler’s pitch count had reached 94 — 67 of which were strikes –and has night ultimately came to a close. Of those 94 pitches thrown by Richards, 38 were four-seam fastballs, 22 were changeups, 21 were sliders, 11 were curveballs, and two were split changeups.

In relief of Richards, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call out of the Boston bullpen, and he recorded the final out of the sixth inning, setting the stage for Renfroe once more in the bottom half of the frame.

There, the right-handed hitting slugger came through with the clutchest hit of the night: a go-ahead, 434 foot solo blast off reliever Josh Staumont that left Fenway Park in a hurry.

Renfroe’s second homer of the contest, and his 11th of the season, gave the Red Sox a 6-5 lead going into the late innings.

Sawamura came back out for the seventh, faced the minimum three batters, and later earned his fourth winning decision of 2021 to improve to a perfect 4-0.

From there, left-hander Josh Taylor extended his scoreless appearance streak to 23 consecutive games by working a perfect eighth inning, while Matt Barnes induced two fly outs and one pop out in the ninth to notch his 17th save of the campaign in addition to preserving a 6-5 victory for the Red Sox.

With the win, their 26th come-from-behind triumph this year, the Red Sox improve to 48-31 (24-17 at home) on the season and move a full game ahead of an idle Tampa Bay Rays team for first place in the American League East.

Next up for the Red Sox, they will send right-hander Nick Pivetta to the hill on Tuesday as they go for their fifth straight win. The Royals, meanwhile, will counter with fellow righty Brad Keller.

First Pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Hunter Renfroe: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Hunter Renfroe nabs Gio Urshela at home to pick up 11th outfield assist of season: ‘He has a cannon, man,’ Xander Bogaerts says

Xander Bogaerts has played with his fair share of defensively-gifted outfielders in his career with the Red Sox.

Whether it be Shane Victorino, Mookie Betts, or Jackie Bradley Jr., Bogaerts has certainly seen Gold Glove-caliber defense from his teammates in the outfield over the years, and he’s seeing it again this season with Hunter Renfroe.

Renfroe, who came into the weekend leading all American League right fielders in Ultimate Zone Rating (3.2), recorded his league-leading 11th outfield assist of the year in the fourth inning of Friday night’s 5-3 victory over the Yankees at Fenway Park.

At the time, the Sox were holding on to a 4-3 lead and the Yankees had just put the potential tying run in scoring position on a leadoff double off the bat of Gio Urshela.

Urshela attempted to score from second on a Miguel Andujar groundball single to right field off Red Sox starter Martin Perez, but Renfroe had other plans.

Fielding the ball rather routinely, Renfroe was able to gun down Urshela at home with plenty of time to spare by unleashing a 94.7 mph laser to an awaiting Christian Vazquez.

Vazquez caught the relay without haste, and snuffed out a sliding Urshela to prevent the possible tying run from crossing the plate for the first out of the fourth.

“Anytime you throw a guy out at the plate, it’s pretty special,” Renfroe said. “You don’t get to do that very often. And especially in that moment, it was a big moment in the game, could have tied the game up. But, obviously, anytime you can help the team win or do something for the team, it’s great.”

Renfroe has made a habit of making these sorts of plays look routine this season, and he has thoroughly impressed his peers — including his manager — while doing so.

“He does a good job charging the ball in that situation,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “He has the presence of mind, too, like he didn’t need to keep that throw down. He knew he had a chance to get him at the plate.”

Bogaerts, meanwhile, had a front-row seat to yet another eye-opening display from Renfroe, and he was still in awe of what happened when speaking with reporters hours later.

“He’s been hot for a while,” Bogaerts said of Renfroe. “If you ask me what I could compare him to, it’d be Jackie Bradley. When he gets on that streak, it’s just missiles and doubles and homers and hard hits. It’s pretty nice, man. And his defense, I wish mine was like that. He’s been awesome offensively and defensively. I didn’t even know he was that good of an outfielder, but he’s been playing really, really good for us.

“He has a cannon, man,” Bogaerts added. “He reads the ball well out there, he has a cannon, he’s strong. I mean, this guy is solid. He’s definitely a really good baseball player.”

In addition to his fine night in the outfield, Renfroe also enjoyed a productive evening at the plate. The 29-year-old went 1-for-1 with a double, a sacrifice fly, two RBI, two walks, and one run scored in Boston’s win over New York.

“He had a great game, not only defensively but offensively,” said Cora. “The patience at the plate, getting to fastballs, putting the ball in play with a man at third. A great game for him.”

Over his last 30 games, Renfroe is slashing an impressive .308/.392/.519 with four home runs, 17 RBI, and 21 runs scored. He started the season by posting a .167/.235/.250 slash line in April after signing a one-year, $3.1 million deal with Boston in December.

“We knew he was a good athlete. We knew he was a good defender,” Cora said when asked if the Red Sox knew Renfroe was this good a player. “Talking to him in the offseason, he mentioned that he didn’t have a chance to play against righties, and although he has a reputation of hitting lefties, he needs righties to stay with his approach.

“In spring training, he did a good job for us. He went the other way,” added Cora. “He struggled early on, but he started shooting the ball the other way, staying off pitches. And you see the at-bats, they’re a lot better. He’s actually walking at a high rate now — he’s controlling the zone. We knew he was talented. Everybody knows it, and he’s putting everything together.”

For Renfroe, his early-season struggles this year can likely be linked to the fact that he was playing for his third team in three seasons. In other words, there was a bit of an adjustment period this spring.

As he has gotten more and more acclimated to the Red Sox, though, the Mississippi native has seen his level of play increase drastically.

On May 1, the 6-foot-1, 230 pound right-handed hitter ranked 12th among Boston position players in terms of fWAR (-0.3). Since then, he ranks third on the team in fWAR (1.1) behind only Xander Bogaerts (2.3) and Rafael Devers (1.6), per FanGraphs.

“It’s come really easy for me to transfer over and be part of the Red Sox,” said Renfroe. “It’s been easy for me to come over here and just step right in and do the best I can. Obviously, you can’t fake hard work as well. I worked my butt off this offseason to put myself in the best shape I can and put myself in a great hitting stance going forward into spring training and going forward [into the season].”

(Picture of Hunter Renfroe: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Hunter Renfroe drives in two runs, records 11th outfield assist as Red Sox hold on to top Yankees, 5-3

The Red Sox did not waste any time in getting an already-pumped up crowd into their game against the Yankees at a sold-out Fenway Park on Friday night.

Shortly after the team celebrated Dustin Pedroia’s career in an emotional pregame ceremony, a pair of back-to-back singles from Michael Chavis and Alex Verdugo to lead things off in the bottom of the first inning put the Sox in business against Yankees starter Domingo German.

Xander Bogaerts cleared the bases by ripping a two-run double to left-center field, while Hunter Renfroe drove him in on another run-scoring double to give Boston an early 3-0 lead.

Martin Perez, meanwhile, was making his 15th start of the season for the Sox on Friday, and he allowed the Yankees to come right back into this game despite being given an early cushion to work with.

New York tacked on three unearned runs off the veteran left-hander in their half of the second, with Bogaerts committing a costly fielding error that would later permit Clint Frazier to get his side on the board by drawing a bases-loaded walk and D.J. LeMahieu to even things up with a two-run single to right field.

As previously mentioned, Perez was not charged with either of those three tallies, though he only made it to the two-out mark of the fourth inning while giving up six hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts before his evening came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 67 (44 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler did not factor into Friday’s decision, but did lower his ERA on the season to 4.09. His next start should come against the Royals back at Fenway Park on Wednesday.

While Perez did allow the Yankees to erase their three-run deficit, Renfroe struck again once more in the bottom of the third, this time plating J.D. Martinez from third base on a sacrifice fly that gave the Sox a 4-3 edge.

The hard-throwing outfielder also contributed to the cause a half inning later, as he gunned down the potential tying run in the form of Gio Urshela on a 94.7 mph dart to home plate for his league-leading 11th outfield assist of the year.

In relief of Perez, who got the hook from Sox manager Alex Cora shortly after that play, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call out of the Boston bullpen, finished things in the fourth, and tossed a scoreless fifth inning as well.

From there, a pair of ex-Yankees right-handers took over, with Rule 5 pick Garrett Whitlock twirling two scoreless frames before Adam Ottavino punched out two in a 1-2-3 top of the eighth.

Christian Vazquez supplied a much-needed insurance run by scoring Renfroe from second on an RBI single in the bottom half of the frame to make it a 5-3 contest, and that set the stage for Matt Barnes in the ninth.

The Red Sox closer ran into some initial trouble, issuing back-to-back singles to the first two hitters he faced, but was able to settle in, fan Frazier for the first out, and get LeMahieu to ground into a game-sealing 6-4-3 double play to notch his 16th save of the season and preserve the 5-3 victory.

All in all, the Red Sox bullpen (Sawamura, Whitlock, Ottavino, Barnes) on Friday combined to pitch 5 1/3 shutout innings while scattering just three hits and one walk in addition to striking out a total of seven Yankees hitters.

With the win, the Sox snap a two-game skid and improve to 45-31 on the season, though they still trail the Rays by a half game for first place in the American League East.

Next up for the Red Sox, they will go for the series win over the Yankees on national television Saturday night.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball for Boston, while left-hander Jordan Montgomery will do the same for New York.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. eastern time on FOX.

(Picture of Hunter Renfroe: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)