Jackie Bradley Jr. Sets Tone Early with 478-Foot Homer as Red Sox Top Rockies 10-6

After taking two out of three from the San Diego Padres over the weekend and an off day on Monday, the Red Sox opened up their third straight interleague series with a 10-6 win in the first of two against the Colorado Rockies in Denver on Tuesday.

Making his 27th start of the season for Boston and third of the interleague variety was Rick Porcello, who allowed three runs over five innings in a losing effort in his last time out against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Tossing another five full innings this time around, the right-hander yielded only two runs, both of which were earned, on eight hits and zero walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

Both of those Rockies runs came around to score in the bottom half of the fifth, when after sitting down 12 of the first 16 hitters he faced, back-to-back one out singles from Tony Wolters and the pinch-hitting Yonathan Daza put runners at the corners for All-Star Charlie Blackmon, who got his side on the board with a sharply-hit RBI single through the right side of the infield.

Two batters later, and another All-Star got to Porcello, this time with Nolan Arenado lacing an RBI double to left to drive in Daza and make it a 6-2 contest.

Still with one out to get and runners in scoring position to deal with, Porcelo did not waver, as he got Daniel Murphy to ground out to short to retire the side in what would ultimately be his final inning of work with the pitcher’s spot due to hit in the top of the sixth for Boston.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (58 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 46% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing seven swings and misses and topping out at 93.1 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Eventually improving to 12-10 while lowering his ERA on the year down to 5.42, Porcello wraps up his August on a solid note.

In five starts this month, the New Jersey native posted an ERA of exactly 4.00 over 27 innings pitched. He’ll look to keep that going in his first start of September, which should come against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez entered the middle of the sixth with a four-run lead to protect, and he did just that by working his way around a two-out walk and single in an otherwise clean frame.

From there, Ryan Brasier stranded one on a one-out single in a scoreless seventh, Josh Smith served up a two-run homer to rookie Sam Hilliard, the first of his career, in the eighth, and another two-run shot to Arenado in the ninth to cut down his side’s lead to four runs.

That made way for lefty Josh Taylor to enter a game where it looked like he would not be needed initially, and he kept the lead at four by giving up a one-out single to Murphy before retiring the final two Rockies he faced to lock down the 10-6 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie right-hander Rico Garcia for the Rockies, making his big league debut after being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque earlier Tuesday.

Kicking off the scoring right away in the top half of the first, J.D. Martinez picked up where he left off in San Diego with a two-out, RBI opposite field bloop single to plate Rafael Devers from third.

An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr. struck with a monstrous solo blast off a one-out, first-pitch 91 MPH heater from Garcia to make it a two-run contest early. Per Statcast, Bradley Jr.’s 17th homer of the year traveled 478 feet off the bat, making it the longest home run for the Sox since the Statcast era began in 2015.

Fast forward to the fourth, a Brock Holt leadoff single set up Christian Vazquez with a runner on and no outs, and he came through with a blistering two-run shot, his 19th of 2019, off another first-pitch, 78 MPH curveball from Garcia. 4-0.

In the fifth, Xander Bogaerts got in on the home run-hitting party, as he took the Rockies rookie deep to dead center off yet another first-pitch, 90 MPH heater on the outer half of the plate for his 28th big fly of the season.

One Martinez groundout later, back-to-back two-out two-baggers off the bats of Mitch Moreland and Holt, with the latter driving in the former, upped Boston’s advantage to six runs.

And in the seventh, with left-handed reliever Jake McGee in for Colorado, a leadoff walk drawn by Devers and double from Bogaerts allowed Martinez to collect his second RBI of the night on a line-drive base knock to left field. 7-2.

A throwing error on the part of Ryan McMahon on a ground ball off the bat of Moreland brought in another run, with Bogaerts scoring from third and Moreland advancing to second on the mishap.

Able to capitalize on the sloppy defense from the opposition, Holt plated two more on an RBI base knock through the middle of the infield that was misplayed by Hilliard in center.

That single, one in which Holt was only credited with one, not two RBI, gave the Red Sox a commanding 10-2 lead, and after the Rockies responded with two runs of their own in both the eighth and ninth innings, 10-6 would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

J.D. Martinez’s last seven games: .407/.469/.778 with three homers and 12 RBI.

Jackie Bradley Jr. has hit five home runs in his last 10 games.

With the Oakland Athletics winning and the Tampa Bay Rays losing on Tuesday, the Red Sox currently sit six games off the pace behind Oakland for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this quick two-gamer on Wednesday night, with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston and right-hander Peter Lambert doing the same for Colorado.

Coming off back-to-back starts of at least seven innings pitched with zero runs allowed and five or fewer hits given up, to say Rodriguez has been solid these past two weeks would be an understatement.

The 26-year-old has never pitched at Coors Field before in his career, but he did surrender five runs on 10 hits over six innings in his only other start against the Rockies back on May 15th of this season. The Red Sox won that game by a final score of 6-5.

Lambert, meanwhile, has posted an ERA of 6.20 over his last eight outings and 40 2/3 innings since the All-Star break.

The 22-year-old rookie out of San Dimas, Ca. debuted with Colorado back on June 6th, and has never faced the Red Sox before in his young career.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 8:40 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the sweep.

J.D. Martinez Batting Cleanup, Starting in Right Field for Red Sox in Players’ Weekend Opener Against Padres

After walking off the Kansas City Royals on Thursday, the Red Sox open up an eight-game, three-city west coast trip on Friday night, beginning with the first of three against the 59-67 San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

So far this season, the Sox are an underwhelming 3-7 in interleague play, with two of those losses coming this past week at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Since these three games will be played at a National League ballpark, Boston loses the designated hitter, meaning J.D. Martinez will slide over to right field and bat out of the cleanup spot for the series opener against the Pads on Friday.

In 17 games as a right fielder so far this year, the recently turned 32-year-old slugger is slashing .319/.397/.638 with six home runs and 12 RBI over 78 plate appearances.

With that move to the outfield for Martinez, Mookie Betts slides over to center and Andrew Benintendi remains in left, while Jackie Bradley Jr. gets the night off.

As the above tweet indicates, Friday is also the opening night of Players’ Weekend 2019, a weekend where the Red Sox have yet to win a single game since its inception in 2017.

Yup, they were swept by the Baltimore Orioles at home in 2017, and swept on the road by the Tampa Bay Rays last year, which marked the only time they were swept over the course of a dominant 2018 campaign.

The Red Sox are 4-2 all-time against the Padres at Petco Park, winning series’ there in both 2007 and 2016.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 10:10 PM EDT on NESN. Eduardo Rodriguez going against Chris Paddack.

Also, here are some of the cleats different Red Sox will be sporting this weekend.