Eduardo Rodriguez Punches out 12, Andrew Benintendi Drives in Game-Winning Run With Pinch-Hit Sacrifice Fly as Red Sox Take Opener From Phillies

After a rare off day on a Friday, the Red Sox kicked off the second leg of their five-game road trip by taking the first of two from the Philadelphia Phillies in a tight 2-1 win to improve to 78-70 on the season.

Making his 31st start of the season for Boston and third in a National League ballpark was Eduardo Rodriguez, who came into the weekend fresh off six one-run innings in his last time out against the New York Yankees.

Working into the seventh inning this time around, the left-hander continued to impress, holding the Phillies to just one earned run on four hits, one walk, and one HBP to go along with a season-high 12 strikeouts on the night.

That lone Philadelphia tally came in that bottom half of the seventh, when after retiring 18 of the first 20 hitters he faced, Rodriguez served up a leadoff single to Bryce Harper.

Back-to-back punchouts of Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery brought the Venezuela native to within one out of escaping the frame, but a Cesar Hernandez single, Adam Haseley HBP, and six-pitch walk of Maikel Franco prevented that from happening.

Instead, Franco drove in Harper from third on that free pass, the Phillies had their first run of the contest, and Rodriguez’s evening came to a close, as Sox manager Alex Cora turned to his bullpen.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 105 (70 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his changeup more than 37% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing 16 swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 94.7 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 28 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with the no-decision while lowering his ERA on the year down to 3.64, Rodriguez’s quest for 20 wins this season appears to be over, but he still has a realistic shot at surpassing the 200-inning plateau for the first time in his career. He’ll look to continue that pursuit in his next time out, which should come against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday.

In relief of Rodriguez, left-hander Josh Taylor entered in quite the jam with the bases full and one out to get in the seventh, and he got that out by fanning the pinch-hitting Phil Gosselin on six pitches.

From there, Matt Barnes worked his way around a leadoff single and stolen base from Jean Segura and one-out intentional walk of Harper in a scoreless eighth to make way for Brandon Workman in the ninth.

Workman did yield a leadoff walk to Hernandez to put the tying run on base immediately for Philadelphia, but he did not fold, striking out Hasely, getting Jay Bruce to fly out to right, and finally fanning Logan Morrison on a 2-2, 88 MPH cutter on the outer edge of the plate to lock down the 2-1 victory and earn his 13th save of the season.

On the other side of things, a Mookie Betts-less Red Sox lineup was matched up against Phillies ace right-hander Aaron Nola, someone who held them to two runs over seven strong innings the last time these two clubs met up at Fenway Park in August.

Struggling to get anything going against Nola once more on Saturday, it was not until Rafael Devers drew a nine-pitch walk to lead off the seventh when the bats finally came through.

J.D. Martinez followed with a ground ball single back up the middle to move Devers up to second, and after Mitch Moreland fanned for the first out of the inning, Christian Vazquez delivered with the biggest hit of the night, plating Devers from second on a line-drive RBI single shot through the left-center field gap. His 25th two-bagger of the year put the Sox up 1-0 late.

Fast forward to the ninth, after the Phillies responded with a run of their own in the eighth, and a Moreland leadoff single off new reliever Hector Neris brought Vazquez to the plate.

Having never faced off against Neris before Saturday, Vazquez took a 2-1, 95 MPH heater down the heart of the plate and came through yet again, this time advancing the pinch-running Chris Owings all the way up to third on a hard-hit single to center. A little hit-and-run action.

A one-out walk drawn by the pinch-hitting Brock Holt loaded the bases for another pinch-hitter in the form of Andrew Benintendi.

The slumping Benintendi came into this one just 1-for-his-last-26 at the plate, but that did not stop him from elevating a sacrifice fly to left on the first pitch he saw from Neris, one that gave Owings more than enough time to come in and score from third.

That RBI sac fly gave the Red Sox the 2-1 lead, and that would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this two-game weekend series and five-game road swing on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Rick Porcello will get the ball for Boston, while veteran left-hander Jason Vargas will do the same for Philadelphia.

Porcello has surrendered six runs and gone four innings deep in his last two starts since the calendars flipped to September. The Red Sox have lost both of those games.

Last time he faced the Phillies back on August 21st, the 30-year-old allowed three runs to score in five innings of work before eventually taking the loss. He has made two career starts at Citizens Bank Park, posting a 2.77 ERA and .167 batting average against over 13 total innings pitched.

Vargas, meanwhile, joined the Phillies from the New York Mets in July and has pitched to the tune of a 5.01 ERA and .293 batting average against in eight starts and 41 1/3 innings of work since the move.

The 36-year-old has made eight career starts against the Red Sox and owns a lifetime 3.48 ERA and .255 batting average against over 51 2/3 innings pitched in that span.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to return the favor and complete the two-game sweep.

Advertisements

Mitch Moreland Celebrates 34th Birthday with Three-Run Homer, Three-Hit Night as Red Sox Top Yankees in Jhoulys Chacin’s Debut

After falling to the Minnesota Twins in heartbreaking fashion on Thursday, the Red Sox bounced back and opened up a four-game weekend series against the New York Yankees with a commanding 6-1 victory on Friday to improve to 76-65 on the season.

Making his first start for Boston and 20th of the season overall was Jhoulys Chacin, less than a week after inking a minor-league deal with the club while they were in Anaheim this past weekend.

Working just the first two innings in his Red Sox debut, the right-hander was perfect as he fanned four of the only six Yankees he faced and was more of an opener than anything.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 35 (23 strikes), Chacin relied on his slider exactly 40% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing four swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.6 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw nine times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Not factoring into the decision of this one, I would think Chacin’s status going forward would depend on the health of David Price, as he was originally supposed to start on Friday.

If anything, the 31-year-oldwill likely work in short bunches rather than being stretched out too much.

In relief of Chacin, left-hander Josh Taylor entered the top of the third in a scoreless contest, and he kept it that way by punching out two in a 1-2-3 inning.

From there, Marcus Walden worked his way around a two-out double and walk with a three-pitch strikeout of Edwin Encarnacion, which eventually earned him his ninth winning decision of the year.

Andrew Cashner yielded New York’s only run of the night on a one-out solo blast off the bat of Brett Gardner in the fifth, Ryan Weber tossed a scoreless sixth before stranding a leadoff walk with the help of Jackie Bradley Jr. in the seventh, and Darwinzon Hernandez also walked one in an otherwise clean eighth.

And in the ninth, Bobby Poyner recorded a pair of strikeouts in another shutout inning to secure the 6-1 win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander Domingo German, who picked up the win the last time he made an appearance at Fenway Park back on July 28th.

Kicking off the scoring in the fourth, a leadoff double from Rafael Devers finally got Boston in the hit column, and a J.D. Martinez groundout, as well as an Andrew Benintendi walk, put runners on the corners with two outs for Brock Holt.

It was clear that German was concerned with Benintendi at first, and perhaps taking advantage, Holt took a 1-1, 91 MPH heater at the top of the zone following two straight unsuccessful pickoff attempts and laced an RBI single right past Gleyber Torres in shallow right to drive in Devers for his side’s first run.

Still with two runners on, Mitch Moreland rallied from a second inning groundout by unloading on a 1-1, 81 MPH curveball from German and deposited it 389 feet into the right field seats.

Moreland’s 15th big fly of the year, this one good for three runs, had an exit velocity of 106 MPH, per Statcast, and it gave the Sox a four-run edge. On his birthday no less.

An inning later, a Mookie Betts walk with one out led to a Yankees pitching change, with Nestor Cortes Jr. taking over for German.

That move would prove to be quite costly for New York though, as Devers followed by drawing a six-pitch walk of his own to move Betts up to second, and Xander Bogaerts came through with a scorching, 108.4 MPH two-RBI double to plate both runners.

That run-scoring two-bagger, Bogaerts’ 49th of 2019, gave the Red Sox a 6-1 lead, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

Red Sox pitching combined for 13 strikeouts and just three walks on Friday.

Mitch Moreland went 3-for-4 with three RBI on his 34th birthday.

Xander Bogaerts is one hit away from 1,000 for his career.

With the Tampa Bay Rays winning and both the Cleveland Indians and Oakland Athletics still in action Friday, the Red Sox currently sit 6 1/2 games behind Oakland for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the second game of this four-game set on Saturday evening, with right-hander Travis Lakins getting the start as the opener for Boston, and left-hander J.A. Happ doing the same for New York.

Lakins allowed two earned runs over two innings of relief in his last time out against the Los Angeles Angels this past Sunday.

The 25-year-old has never started a big league game, but does have 41 under his belt at the minor-league level, with the last coming on July 18th of this year in which he tossed a scoreless first inning for the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Happ, meanwhile, has for the most part struggled since the All-Star break, but is coming off an outing where he held the Athletics scoreless over six strong innings on September 1st.

In three starts against the Red Sox this season, the 36-year-old has posted a 4.24 ERA and .254 batting average against over 17 total innings pitched. The Yankees are unbeaten in those games.

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

Late Comeback Attempt Falls Short as Red Sox Drop Opener to Twins 6-5

After wrapping up a 6-2 west coast road trip on Sunday and a day to recover on Monday, the Red Sox opened up the final month of their season with a 6-5 loss against the American League Central-leading Minnesota Twins on Tuesday to fall to 74-64 on the year.

Making his 28th start of the season for Boston and second against Minnesota was Rick Porcello, who held the Twins scoreless on just four hits over seven strong innings the last time he faced them at Target Field back on June 17th.

Working into the fifth inning this time around, the right-hander surrendered six runs, all of which were earned, on eight hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The first of those six Twins tallies came in the top half of the first, when with two outs and runners at first and second following a leadoff HBP from Max Kepler and one-out walk drawn by Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano got his side on the board first with a jam shot of an RBI single hit weakly to left field, but strong enough to drive in Kepler from second.

In the third, more two-out trouble arose for Porcello, this time with runners on second and third and Jake Cave plating both on a two-run triple off the center field wall to make it a 3-0 contest.

Two innings later, it was the home run ball that bit Porcello, as Nelson Cruz teed off on a 1-0, 81 MPH slider at the top of the zone to lead the frame off with a solo shot, and Sano followed suit by doing even more damage off another 1-1, 90 MPH heater at the top of the zone, driving in a pair on a 452-foot two-run shot to dead center.

Sano’s 27th homer of the season gave Minnesota a commanding 6-0 advantage at the time it was crushed, and Porcello would not face another hitter, as Sox manager Alex Cora was forced to turn to his bullpen early once more.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (59 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seamer nearly 41% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing four swings and misses and topping out at 91.9 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with his 11th loss while inflating his ERA on the season up to 5.63, Porcello will look to rebound in his next time out, which should come against the New York Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Josh Taylor entered the fifth with the bases empty and three outs to get, and he got that first out before plunking C.J. Cron and making way for another southpaw in the form of Brian Johnson.

Johnson stranded Cron, as well as the man he walked, with back-to-back groundouts to escape the inning unscathed.

From there, Marcus Walden gave up one free pass in an otherwise clean sixth, Darwinzon Hernandez punched out the side on 12 pitches in an electric seventh, Andrew Cashner tossed a 1-2-3 eighth, and Brandon Worman also fanned three in a scoreless ninth to hold the Twins at six runs. Not like it made much of a difference in the end, though.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie right-hander Randy Dobnak for the Twins, someone making the first start of their major league career after being used as a reliever thrice since being called up on August 27th.

Dobnak held his own in the first, working his way around a two-out walk in a scoreless frame before making way for a bullpen day from the Twins.

Kicking off the scoring in the bottom of the fifth, a leadoff walk drawn by Mitch Moreland and single off the bat of Christian Vazquez, as well as a wild pitch from left-handed reliever Lewis Thorpe, put a couple of runners in scoring position for Brock Holt.

Holt did manage to collect his team’s first RBI of the night, but only on a groundout to second that allowed Moreland to score easily from third. 6-1.

A Jackie Bradley Jr. walk led to another pitching change for the Twins, with right-hander Trevor May taking over for Thorpe.

May got the first man he faced in Mookie Betts to fly out to right, meaning he was only one out from getting out of the jam, but Rafael Devers had different plans.

On the sixth pitch he saw from May, a 2-2, 84 MPH slider down and in, the slugging third baseman came through with a 426-foot blast directly down the right field line for his 29th of 2019.

Per Statcast, that three-run shot had an exit velocity of 104.3 MPH, and it brought the Sox back to within two runs at 6-4.

Fast forward to the eighth, and Andrew Benintendi delivered in a tight spot with two outs, as he greeted new Twins left-handed reliever Taylor Rogers by depositing a 1-0, 94 MPH two-seam fastball pretty much down the middle 373 feet over the Green Monster to cut the deficit to one at 6-5. His 13th of the year came on his bobblehead night.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth, Holt reached on a leadoff single through the left side of the infield off of Rogers.

Marco Hernandez came on to pinch-run for Holt, and the pinch-hitting Gorkys Hernandez advanced him to second on a successful sacrifice bunt, putting the tying run in scoring position for the top of the lineup.

Betts made decent contact, but failed to advance Hernandez on a comebacker hit to Rogers for the second out.

So, with Devers representing the last chance Boston had, all the 22-year-old could do in a tough lefty-on-lefty matchup was fan on three straight strikes, stranding Hernandez at second and wrapping this one up with a final score of 6-5.

Not the way you want to start a seven-game homestand against two of the toughest teams in the American League.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday. They left six men on base as a team.

The top four hitters in the Red Sox’ lineup (Betts, Devers, Bogaerts, Martinez) went a combined 1-for-16 (.062) with one home run and three RBI on Monday. The Red Sox only had six hits all night.

Andrew Cashner, since moving to the bullpen: 7 Games, 11 Innings Pitched, 4 Hits, 1 Earned Run, 4 Walks, 9 Strikeouts, 1 Save, 0.82 ERA.

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

The Red Sox are 23-38 against teams .500 or better so far this season.

Bonus Darwinzon Hernandez highlights:

With the Oakland Athletics in action, the Cleveland Indians falling to the Chicago White Sox, and the Tampa Bay Rays splitting a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, the Red Sox currently sit 5 1/2 games behind Cleveland for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game set, with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston and right-hander Jose Berrios doing the same for Minnesota.

Rodriguez is coming off a month of August in which he posted a 3.41 ERA and .284 batting average against over six starts and 37 innings of work. The Red Sox went 4-2 in those games.

Back on June 19th, the Venezuela native yielded four runs over seven innings for the Sox in an eventual 8-4 win against the Twins.

Berrios, meanwhile, has fell off a bit since the All-Star break, posting a 4.85 ERA and .279 batting average against over his last nine starts and 52 innings pitched since then.

The 25-year-old out of Puerto Rico opposed Porcello the first time these two teams squared off in June and was just as impressive, surrendering just one run on five hits and 10 strikeouts over eight innings in a tough-luck loss.

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

Red Sox Bullpen Allows Seven Runs to Score in Eighth Inning Meltdown in 10-4 Loss to Angels

After opening up a three-game weekend series with a 7-6, 15-inning victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, the Red Sox saw their mini three-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday, as they fell to the Halos by a final score of 10-4 in what truly was a meltdown of a loss.

Making his first start of the season for Boston and 41st appearance overall was Josh Taylor, who was named the opener for the middle game of this three-game set earlier Saturday.

Tossing just one inning in the first start of his big league career, the left-hander kept the Angels off the board despite allowing three of the first four hitters he faced to reach base on a leadoff single and a pair of walks.

Yup, a nine-pitch punchout of Justin Upton, Taylor’s second of the night, and a first-pitch flyout off the bat of Kole Calhoun put an end to the threat, and the Arizona native got off scot-free.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 31 (17 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 55% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing zero swings and misses and topping out at 95.8 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Obviously not factoring into the decision of this one, Taylor should resume his reliever duties once the Red Sox arrive back in Boston.

In relief of Taylor, Marcus Walden entered in the second inning of what was a “bullpen day” for the Sox, and he yielded one run on a two-out Mike Trout RBI single to knot things back up at one run apiece.

From there, Brian Johnson provided some length by serving up three doubles, two of which going for runs, in the bottom half of the third, before retiring nine Angels in consecutive order from the middle of the fourth until the conclusion of the sixth.

In the seventh, Matt Barnes preserved a one-run lead by stranding one runner at second in an otherwise clean frame to make way for Ryan Brasier in the eighth.

At that point, the Red Sox had a 60% chance to come away with a win on Saturday, according to FanGraphs.

Rather than seeing those odds increase in his side’s favor though, Brasier did quite the opposite, as he gave up three straight singles to lead off the eighth on fastballs over the heart of the plate.

Upton, Calhoun, and Andrelton Simmons all came through with big hits, and Simmons’ single drove in Upton from second to pull the Angels back even with the Sox at four runs each.

Brasier did manage to get the first two outs of the inning following that flurry, but crumbled once more, this time with David Fletcher and Brian Goodwin driving in a total of three Angels runs on a pair of RBI knocks. 7-4.

Unable to finish what he started, Brasier departed with runners at the corners for Josh Smith, who served up a crushing three-run bomb to the first man he faced in Pujols.

All in all, the Red Sox entered the middle of the eighth with a one-run lead in hand. By the time the final out was recorded, they were trailing by six runs. Not ideal!

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Angels left-hander Dillon Peters, someone they got to for three runs over six innings the last time they faced him at Fenway Park back on August 8th.

Kicking off the scoring right away in the top half of the first for the second straight night, J.D. Martinez get his team on the board first with a two-out RBI double just out of the reach of Kole Calhoun in right field, which allowed Rafael Devers to score all the way from first and make it a 1-0 contest early.

In the third, the red-hot Martinez struck with two outs once more, this time plating Mookie Betts from third on a run-scoring single back up the middle to re-take the lead at 2-1.

A fielding error committed by David Fletcher that allowed Martinez to advance to second and Sam Travis to reach base safely brought Andrew Benintendi to the plate with the chance to add on to that 2-1 lead, and he did so, capitalizing on his opponent’s mistake by lacing another RBI base knock to right. 3-1.

An inning later, with things even at 3-3, Brock Holt’s leadoff double and Sandy Leon’s successful sacrifice bunt put a runner at third for Betts, and he delivered with what was then a go-ahead RBI sac fly hit deep enough to center to bring in Holt and make it a 4-3 contest.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, and the Sox had their best chance of the night to put this game to bed, with Martinez, the pinch-hitting Marco Hernandez, and the pinch-hitting Mitch Moreland all reaching base off Angels reliever Luis Garcia to fill the bases with one out for Holt.

Having only faced off against Garcia one time in his career before Saturday, Holt got ahead in the count at 2-0, fouled off a 97 MPH heater to bring it back to 2-1, and ultimately made hard, but unlucky contact off a 98 MPH heater pretty much down the heart of the plate.

Instead of it going for a run-scoring hit, Holt grounded into a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play, thus killing any shot at adding on some insurance.

That missed opportunity may not have done the Red Sox in, but it certainly did not help, as the Angels went on a seven-run rally of their own in their half of the eighth, and went on to take Saturday’s contest by a final score of 10-4.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Saturday. They left 10 men on base as a team.

The Red Sox finished August with a record of 14-13.

With the Oakland Athletics and Cleveland Indians losing, and Tampa Bay Rays winning on Saturday, the Red Sox currently sit 5 1/2 games off the pace for the second American League Wild Card spot. A great opportunity to make up ground in the Wild Card race goes for naught.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this three-game series and west coast road trip as a whole on Sunday afternoon.

Left-hander David Price will get the ball for Boston, while fellow southpaw Andrew Heaney will do the same for Los Angeles.

Price will be activated off the injured list after missing the past three-plus weeks while recovering from having a TFCC cyst in his left wris removed via a cortisone shot.

In his career at Angel Stadium, the recently turned 34-year-old owns a lifetime 3.54 ERA and .260 batting average against over 11 prior starts and 73 2/3 innings pitched.

Heaney, meanwhile, limited the Sox to one run over 3 2/3 innings of work the last time he faced them on August 10th.

Since that time, the 28-year-old has shined, posting a 1.71 ERA and .160 batting average against over his last three outings, all of which the Angels have won.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 4:07 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

Rosters also expand on Sunday, so expect the Red Sox to announce a handful of moves shortly.

Josh Taylor to Make First Career Start for Red Sox in Second Game Against Angels

Red Sox left-hander Josh Taylor will be making the first start of his major league career on Saturday night, as he gets the ball for Boston in the second of three against the Los Angeles Angels.

Named the starter earlier Saturday, Taylor will serve as the “opener” in what will be a bullpen day for the Sox as they go for the series win over the Halos.

Through 40 relief appearances this season, the 26-year-old rookie has posted a 3.15 ERA and .235 batting average against over exactly 40 innings pitched since making his big league debut against the Cleveland Indians on May 29th.

Taylor did allow two runs in the fifth inning of Friday’s 7-6 15-inning win over Los Angeles to snap a stretch of 12 straight scoreless outings.

Over the course of that impressive run, Taylor did do something somewhat similar to starting a game, when in the continuation of that August 7th contest against the Kansas City Royals on the 22nd, the Arizona native picked up where he left off and tossed a 1-2-3 top half of the 10th to earn the first winning decision of his young career.

Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will lineup behind Taylor on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 9:07 PM EDT on NESN.

Mookie Betts Opens, Closes Scoring for Red Sox with Pair of Homers in 7-6 Win over Angels in Extras

After sweeping the Colorado Rockies in a two-game interleague series and an off day on Thursday, the Red Sox opened up the final leg of their west coast swing with a 7-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels in 15 innings on Friday.

Making his seventh start of the season for Boston and third since returning from the injured list last month was Nathan Eovaldi, who only lasted three innings in his last time out against the San Diego Padres.

Tossing four full innings this time around, the right-hander yielded just one earned run on three hits and one walk to go along with a season-high eight strikeouts on the night.

That lone Angels run came in the bottom half of the third, when with one out and the bases empty, Brian Goodwin took Eovaldi deep to right-center off a 3-2, 98 MPH heater at the top of the zone to get his team on the board.

Other than that one blip though, Eovaldi rebounded by retiring five of the final six hitters he faced leading to the conclusion of the fourth, the point in which his evening came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 81 (54 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 43% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing three swings and misses and topping out at 100.3 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately getting hit with the no-decision while lowering his ERA on the season down to 6.23, Eovaldi will look to go deeper into his next start, which should come against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday back at Fenway Park.

In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Josh Taylor entered the middle of the fifth with a three-run lead to protect, and he loaded the bases on a leadoff single and back-to-back walks before getting Mike Trout to pop out to second and Shohei Ohtani to ground into a 3-2 forceout at home for the first two outs of the frame.

From there, Marcus Walden came into try and clean the mess left behind by Taylor, and he allowed two of the runners he inherited to score on a two-run single off the bat of Albert Pujols. Both of those runs were charged to Taylor.

Walden was able to escape the fifth with an inning-ending groundout from Kole Calhoun, and he also worked a 1-2-3 to make way for Matt Barnes in the seventh.

There, with his side up three runs once more, Barnes let that lead shrink back down to two by serving up another one-out solo shot to Goodwin, thus making it a 6-4 contest in an otherwise clean frame of relief.

Ryan Brasier got the call for the eighth, and he fanned two of the first three men he faced, but walked the fourth, Andrelton Simmons, on five pitches, to put the tying run on base for the pinch-hitting Justin Upton, which led to Brandon Workman coming on and looking to lock down the four-out save.

Workman did load the bases on an infield singe from Upton, but he also got out of the sticky spot by getting Kevan Smith to ground out to second.

In the ninth, the right-hander created some more trouble for himself, walking the first two men he faced in the frame before allowing one of those runners to advance to third on an Ohtani force out.

So, with two outs to get and runners on the corners, Workman had the perfect chance to end this one by getting Pujols to ground into an inning-ending double play, but instead served up a 1-1, 82 MPH curveball on the outer half of the plate, one in which the future Hall of Famer slapped through the right side of the infield and J.D. Martinez misplayed in right.

That fielding error gave way to the tying run, Ohtani, crossing the plate, and Workman was dealt his sixth blown save of the year.

Fortunately for Boston though, 6-6 is where Friday’s contest stood for a while, as lefr-hander Darwinzon Hernandez punched out five over two innings of scoreless relief in the 10th and 11th.

Andrew Cashner continued to impress out of the ‘pen as well, eventually earning the victory while tossing four no-hit frames from the middle of the 12th until the end of the 15th to secure the 7-6 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie left-hander Jose Suarez for the Angels, who came into the weekend owning an ERA of 7.89 in seven outings since the All-Star break.

Kicking off the scoring right away in the top half of the first, Mookie Betts led things off by going yard off the fifth pitch of the night from Suarez, a 3-1, 91 MPH heater on the outer half of the plate. Per Statcast, Betts’ 22nd homer of the year had an exit velocity of 108.3 MPH

An inning later, A Sam Travis leadoff walk, an Andrew Benintendi HBP, and Christian Vazquez GIDP set up Brock Holt with two outs and a runner on third, and he came through by driving in Travis on a simple RBI single through the left side of the infield. 2-0.

In the third, J.D. Martinez stayed hot and doubled his side’s edge, as he scored himself, as well as Betts, on his 33rd big fly of the year. This one, a two-out, two-run shot, coming off a 3-1, 76 MPH cutter from Suarez, put the Sox up 4-0 over the Halos.

Fast forward to the sixth, with Suarez out and old friend Noe Ramirez in for Los Angeles, and Martinez capitalized on another prime run-scoring chance, this time plating Xander Bogaerts, who was on following a leadoff single, all the way from first with an RBI double down the left field line. 5-3.

A Marco Hernandez HBP while pinch-hitting for Travis led to the Angels turning to left-hander Muguel Del Poze out of their bullpen.

That decision did not faze Benintendi though, as he drove in Martinez from third with a sacrifice fly hit deep enough to center to re-up the lead to three at 6-3.

The Angels were able to mount a late comeback to knot this contest up at six runs apiece in their half of the ninth, and as already mentioned, the 6-6 stalemate stood pat for quite some time.

Fast forward all the way to the 15th, after running into a string of 19 straight outs at one point, and Betts came up to the plate for the seventh time.

Down to their last out in the 15th with Trevor Cahill on the mound for the Angels, Betts took the first pitch he saw in his eighth career matchup against the righty, an 88 MPH cutter down the heart of the plate, and deposited it 401 feet over everything in left field.

The reigning American League MVP’s second homer of the evening and 23rd of 2019 gave the Red Sox the 7-6 lead they were desperately in search for, and that would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Stats by STATS:

Friday’s game took five hours and 23 minutes to complete, the third-longest game for the Red Sox this season.

J.D. Martinez’s last 10 games: .375/.447/.800 with five homers and 17 RBI.

Andrew Cashner, since moving to the bullpen on August 13th: 6 games, 10 innings pitched, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 9 strikeouts, 0.90 ERA.

With the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays both winning on Friday, the Red Sox remain 5 1/2 games off the pace behind Oakland for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game weekend set, with an unnamed starter getting the ball for Boston and left-hander Dillon Peters doing the same for Los Angeles.

Sox manager Alex Cora has yet to name a starter for Saturday’s game at this point in time. Left-hander Brian Johnson and right-hander Josh Smith were the only two hurlers not used by Boston on Friday, so my money is on one of them getting the starting nod.

Peters, meanwhile, held the Sox to three runs over six innings while taking the tough luck loss the last time he faced them on August 8th.

Since that time, the recently turned 27-year-old has posted a 5.52 ERA and .267 batting average against over his last three starts and 14 2/3 innings of work, including back-to-back five-run outings at the hands of the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 9:07 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their fourth straight win.

Xander Bogaerts Mashes Two Homers as Red Sox Finish off Sweep of Rockies in 7-4 Win

After slugging their way to a 10-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday, the Red Sox finished off the two-game interleague series sweep with a 7-4 win on Wednesday to improve to 72-62 on the season.

Making his 28th start of the season for Boston and second straight in a National League ballpark was Eduardo Rodriguez, who held the San Diego Padres over seven strong innings in his last time out this past Friday.

Tossing five full innings this time around, the left-hander yielded three runs, all of which were earned, on nine hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The first of those three Rockies runs came around to score in the bottom half of the fourth, when after 10 of the first 16 hitters he faced, Rodriguez served up a two-out, infield single on a successful bunt attempt laid down by Garret Hampson to drive in Ian Desmond from third.

Another single to follow that out of Peter Lambert in the pitcher’s spot for Colorado filled the bases for Trevor Story, but Rodriguez was able to escape that jam with an inning-ending lineout to second.

In the fifth, back-to-back knocks from Nolan Arenado and Desmond with one out, followed by back-to-back run-scoring knocks from Yonathan Daza and Wolters with two outs brought across two more runs for Colorado to cut their deficit to two at 5-3.

Still with one out to get and runners on first and second to deal with, Rodriguez limited the damage by getting Hampson to ground out to Rafael Devers at third, which would be how his outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 104 (60 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 43% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing four swings and misses and topping out at 95.1 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately improving to 16-5 while raising his ERA on the year slightly up to 3.97, Rodriguez wrapped up his August on a decent note.

In six starts this month, the Venezuela native posted an ERA of 3.41 and batting average against of .284 over 37 innings of work. His first start of September should come against the Minnesota Twins next Wednesday.

In relief of Rodriguez, left-hander Josh Taylor entered the middle of the sixth with a two-run lead to protect, and he did just that by picking off Story at second following a one-out single in an otherwise clean frame.

From there, Marcus Walden allowed one run to cross the plate on an Arenado leadoff double and Ryan McMahon run-scoring groundout to make it a 6-4 contest in the seventh and Matt Barnes walked one and stranded that runner in a scoreless eighth.

That made way for Brandon Workman to come on for his 60th appearance of the season, and he notched his ninth save by punching out the side on 17 pitches to lock down the 7-4 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another rookie right-hander in the form of Peter Lambert for the Rockies, making just the 15th start of his career on Wednesday.

Kicking off the scoring in the top half of the third inning, a one-out Rafael Devers triple brought J.D. Martinez to to the plate with two outs and the chance to strike early.

On the fourth pitch he saw in his second at-bat against Lambert, Martinez deposited a 2-1, 86 MPH curveball down the heart of the plate 434 feet to left field for his 32nd home run of the season to put his team on the board first at 2-0.

Fast forward to the fifth, and it was Devers setting the table once more, this time lacing a one-out single off Lambert for Xander Bogaerts, who took a 1-1, 93 MPH heater on the outer half of the plate and sent it 417 feet to the opposite field for his first of two long balls on the night.

A Martinez single to follow that would result in a pitching change for Colorado, with left-hander Sam Howard taking over for Lambert with Mitch Moreland and Brock Holt due to hit for Boston.

Moreland was able to reach base on a seven-pitch walk to advance Martinez to second, while Holt fanned on six pitches and another move was made, this time with right-hander Jesus Tinoco entering.

Christian Vazquez coldly greeted the new Rockies reliever, ripping a line-drive RBI single to right-center to score Martinez from second and make it a 5-1 contest.

In the seventh, Bogaerts continued on with his power surge, as he led things off against Carlos Estevez with his second homer of the evening to both reach the 30-homer and 100-RBI mark on the season.

And in the ninth, Devers capped off his slump-busting performance at the plate by taking Wes Parsons deep to center on a leadoff, 437-foot bomb for his 28th of 2019.

That solo shot, which resulted in Devers finishing just a double shy of the cycle in this one, gave the Red Sox a 7-4 edge, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From MLB Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From Red Sox Stats, with video taken moments before Rafael Devers tripled in the second inning:

With the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays both falling on Wednesday, the Red Sox now sit five games behind Oakland for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s another off day on Thursday before beginning another three-game weekend series in southern California on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball for Boston in the opener, while left-hander Jose Suarez will do the same for Los Angeles.

Eovaldi has struggled since making his return to the Sox’ starting rotation on August 18th, surrendering seven runs over his last five innings pitched in his last two starts. That’s good for an ERA of 12.60.

Working as a reliever the last time these two clubs faced each other earlier in the month, Eovaldi combined to toss three frames of one-run ball over two separate appearances.

In two career starts at Angel Stadium, the 29-year-old owns a lifetime 6.23 ERA and .395 batting average against over 8 2/3 total innings of work.

Suarez, meanwhile, is a 21-year-old rookie who has posted a 7.89 ERA and .346 batting average against in seven outings (six starts) and 29 2/3 innings since the All-Star break. He has never faced the Red Sox before in his career.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 10:07 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their third straight win.