Christian Vazquez Has Career Day at Plate as Red Sox Finish off Sweep of Phillies

After being held to two runs in a tight one-run victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, the Red Sox were able to break out for six runs in a 6-3 win on Sunday to complete the two-game weekend sweep and improve to 79-70 on the season.

Making his 30th start of the season for Boston and second against Philadelphia was Rick Porcello, who surrendered three runs over five innings the last time he faced off against the Phils at Fenway Park back on August 21st.

Tossing five full innings once again this time around, the right-hander yielded two runs, both of which were earned, on five hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts on the afternoon.

The first of those two Phillies runs came in the bottom half of the second, when with no outs and the bases empty, Rhys Hoskins led things off by unloading on a 2-1, 92 MPH heater from Porcello and crushed it 421 feet to left field to get his side on the board. The 31st long ball of the season given up by Porcelo.

In the fifth, a one-out walk of Scott Kingery and back-to-back two-out singles from the pinch-hitting Phil Gosselin and Cesar Hernandez resulted in another run crossing the plate for the Phillies, but Porcello managed to escape any further damage by getting J.T. Realmuto to ground out to third to both retire the side and end his outing on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 76 (49 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his two-seam fastball nearly 49% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing zero swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.8 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw eight times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately picking up his 13th winning decision while lowering his ERA on the year down to 5.77, Porcello’s best performance of the month is certainly a step in the right direction. He’ll look to build on it in his next time out, which should come against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.

In relief of Porcello, Marcus Walden entered the middle of the sixth with a four-run cushion to work with, and he saw that cushion shrink to three on a two-out RBI single off the bat of Jean Segura to drive in Hoskins from second after he drew a one-out walk.

From there, Andrew Cashner maneuvered his way around a leadoff walk in a scoreless seventh, and Matt Barnes faced the minimum in a clean eighth with the help of an inning-ending 3-5-3 double play to make way for Brandon Workman in the ninth for the second time in less than 24 hours.

And in that bottom of the ninth, Workman retired three of the four hitters he faced to lock down the 6-3 win and pick up his 14th save of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran left-hander Jason Vargas for the Phillies, someone they had not seen since July 28th, 2017 when he was a member of the Kansas City Royals.

Coming off a night in which they were relatively held in check by Aaron Nola, J.D. Martinez kicked off the scoring for Boston right away in the first, plating Andrew Benintendi from third on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to right.

Fast forward to the third, and it was the top of the lineup setting the table once again, this time with Benintendi getting plunked, Xander Bogaerts ripping a single, and Martinez drawing a one-out walk to fill the bases for the second time in three innings.

Mitch Moreland was unable to do anything with that, as he fanned on three pitches for the second out of the frame, but Christian Vazquez did not let the opportunity go to waste.

Yup, the backstop took a 2-1, 72 MPH knuckle-curveball from Vargas and proceeded to deposit it 358 feet into the left field seats for his first career grand slam.

Not only did Vazquez’s slam untie the contest and give the Sox a 5-1 advantage, it was also his 20th homer of the season, marking the first time 29-year-old has reached that plateau in his five-year-career.

And in the sixth, Vazquez struck again by blowing right past that 20-homer plateau, as he greeted new Phillies reliever Mike Morin with his second big fly of the afternoon and 21st of the year off a one-out, 2-2, 91 MPH four-seamer on the inner half of that plate.

That solo shot put the Red Sox up 6-2, and after Philadelphia tacked on a run of their own in the sixth, 6-3 would go on to be Sunday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

The Red Sox have won three straight games. They are 9 1/2 games off the pace for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s another off day on Monday before welcoming the San Francisco Giants into town for a three-game interleague series beginning on Tuesday.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the ball for Boston in the opener, while fellow righty Logan Webb will do the same for San Francisco.

Since moving back to the starting rotation on August 18th, Eovaldi has posted a 5.89 ERA and .254 batting average against over his last five outings and 18 1/3 innings of work, which includes surrendering three runs in 4 1/3 innings in his last time out against the Toronto Blue Jays this past Tuesday.

In six career starts against the Giants, the 29-year-old owns a lifetime 10.86 ERA and .370 batting average against over 29 total innings pitched.

Webb, meanwhile, is ranked as San Francisco’s top pitching prospect and has posted a 6.75 ERA and .337 batting average against in 22 2/3 innings spanning five starts since making his big league debut on August 17th. The Giants are 2-3 in those games.

This series will also feature Giants rookie outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, the 29-year-old grandson of Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski, and 25-year-old rookie outfielder Chris Shaw, who played his college ball at Boston College. Both are natives of Massachusetts.

Last time the Giants visited Fenway Park, the Sox swept a two-game series back on July 19-20 of the 2016 season.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their fourth straight win.

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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.

Back-To-Back Homers from Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez Power Red Sox to 4-3 Win over Angels in David Price’s Return

After snapping their mini three-game winning streak with a 10-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday, the Red Sox rallied on Sunday and topped the Halos, taking the series with a tight 4-3 victory to end the last west coast swing on a positive note and improve to 74-63 on the season.

Making his 22nd second start of the season for Boston and first since August 4th was David Price, who was activated from the injured list earlier Sunday after missing nearly four weeks with a left wrist issue.

Tossing just two full innings in his first in-game action of September, the left-hander kept the Angels off the scoreboard while giving up one hit and one walk to go along with two strikeouts on the afternoon.

A two-out double off the bat of Brian Goodwin in the first and a one-out walk drawn by Kole Calhoun in the second. Those are the only two hitters Price allowed to reach base in this one.

Goodwin was stranded at second, as Price got Albert Pujols to fly out to right to end the first, and Calhoun was also stranded at second after swiping the bag in between two straight Angels flyouts induced by Price to retire the side in the bottom half of the second.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 45 (26 strikes), the 34-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball more than 31% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing one swing and miss and topping out at 91.7 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with the no-decision due to the length of his outing, control was a bit of an issue for Price in this one. Out of the eight batters he faced, four got into three-ball counts and two got into two-ball counts. He’ll look to continue to shake off the rust in his next time out, which should come against the New York Yankees on Saturday back at Fenway Park.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen was dealt another long day of work, but they were better prepared for that this time around with rosters expanding on Sunday.

The recently called up Travis Lakins got the first call to begin the third, and he yielded one run on three straight two-out hits in the inning, and another on a leadoff walk and sacrifice fly in the fourth to cut his side’s lead down to two runs at 4-2.

From there, Ryan Weber scattered one hit and one walk over two scoreless frames of relief in the fifth and sixth, Hector Velazquez worked his way around a Mike Trout leadoff walk with the help of an unassisted double play turned by Sam Travis on a liner from Goodwin in a clean seventh, and Matt Barnes served up a leadoff solo shot to Justin Upton before sitting down the next three Angels he faced in order to preserve the 4-3 lead.

That made way for Brandon Workman in the ninth, and he plunked Trout with two outs in the inning to bring the winning run to the plate in the form of Goodwin, but held on by getting the Angels outfielder to fly out to Jackie Bradley Jr. in center to notch his 10th save and secure the one-run win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar opponent in Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney, someone who held them to one run in less than four innings back on August 10th.

Kicking off the scoring right away in the first for the third consecutive day, Xander Bogaerts got his side on the board with a one-out, one-run single through the left side of the infield to bring in Mookie Betts, who led the inning off with a single and advanced twice on two wild pitches, from third. 1-0.

Fast forward to the third, and Bogaerts struck again, this time following up a one-out Rafael Devers single with a two-run home run hit 418 feet to dead center off a 1-1, 84 MPH changeup on the bottom half of the zone from Heaney for his 31st of the season.

On the very next pitch thrown by Heaney, a red-hot J.D. Martinez provided some power of his own, depositing a 77 MPH curveball on the inner half of the plate 411 feet into the seats in left field.

Martinez’s 34th big fly of the year and sixth of this road trip gave the Sox a commanding 4-0 lead, and after the Angels made things somewhat interesting in the end, 4-3 would go on to be Sunday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

Xander Bogaerts’ last 15 games: .371/.443/.790 with six homers and 15 RBI.

J.D. Martinez’s last 30 games: .389/.482/.770 with 12 homers and 33 RBI.

With the Oakland Athletics and Cleveland Indians losing, and the Tampa Bay Rays winning on Sunday, the Red Sox currently sit five games behind Cleveland for the second American League Wild Card spot.

The Red Sox finished their last west coast road trip of the season by going 6-2 and now have just 25 regular season games remaining on the year.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s an off day on Monday back in Boston before opening up a seven-game homestand against two of the three best teams in the American League in the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees.

Right-hander Rick Porcello will get the ball for Boston in the opener against Minnesota. The Twins have yet to name a starter.

Porcello is coming off a solid month of August in which he posted a 4.00 ERA and .233 batting average against over his last five starts and 27 innings pitched.

The last time he matched up against these Twins came on June 17th at Target Field, where the 30-year-old hurled seven scoreless innings in a game the Sox won by a final score of 2-0 and eventually took the series at two games to one.

First pitch Tuesday 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.

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.

 

 

Brock Holt Comes Through with Game-Winning Homer in Ninth Inning as Red Sox Take Series from Padres with 5-4 Victory

After blowing the doors off the San Diego Padres to open up a three-game weekend series on Friday, the Red Sox needed some late-inning magic to win their second straight on Saturday, as they topped the Pads by a final score of 5-4 to improve to 70-61 on the season.

Making his sixth start of the season for Boston and second since returning from the injured list on July 20th was Nathan Eovaldi, who came into the weekend having yielded five runs in just two innings in his last time out against the Baltimore Orioles this past Sunday.

Working into the fourth inning this time around, the right-hander surrendered two runs, both of which were earned, on four hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

Both of those Padres runs charged to Eovaldi came in the bottom half of the fourth, when after retiring eight of the first 11 hitters he faced, Manny Machado led things off with single back up the middle to put a runner on for Eric Hosmer.

On the fourth pitch of his second at-bat against the Sox starter, Hosmer unloaded on a 2-1, 94 MPH heater on the inner half of the plate and sent it 409 feet into the right field seats to cut his side’s deficit in half at 4-2.

With his velocity dwindling as that Padres rally was formulating, Eovaldi’s evening came to a quick close following that two-run homer from Hosmer.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 64 (36 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 53% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 100.1 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with the no-decision while lowering his ERA on the year down to 6.64, “Nitro” will be expected to pitch deeper into his next outing, which should come against the Los Angeles Angels next weekend.

In relief of Eovaldi, Marcus Walden entered the bottom of the fourth with the bases empty and still three outs to get.

The right-hander did eventually get those three outs, but not before allowing the third run of the inning for San Diego to score on a Hunter Renfroe double and run-scoring groundout off the bat of Luis Urias.

From there, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez punched out one in a scoreless fifth, Ryan Brasier fanned two in a scoreless sixth before allowing two of the first three Padres he faced in the seventh to reach on a leadoff walk and one-out HBP.

Those signs of struggle led to another Boston pitching change, and in came left-hander Josh Taylor with the tying run in scoring position at second.

A one-out RBI single from the first man who greeted him in Ty France did knot things up at four runs a piece as the Red Sox blew their 24th save of the year, but Taylor did come through in a huge spot with two outs and the bases loaded by striking out Hosmer on four pitches to extenguish the threat.

Matt Barnes maneuvered his way around a two-out single in the eighth to eventually earn his fourth winning decision.

And after his side took the lead in their half of the ninth, Brandon Workman wrapped things up, stranded the tying run at second, and notched his eighth save of 2019 on a three-out punchout of Hosmer to lock down the 5-4 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Padres right-hander Dinelson Lamet, someone they had never seen before going into the weekend.

Kicking off the scoring in the top half of the third, a Mitch Moreland leadoff single and Brock Holt HBP, followed by a Nathan Eovaldi forceout at third on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt, put runners at first and second for Mookie Betts as the lineup turned over for the first time.

Perhaps taking into account what he learned in his first trip to the plate Saturday, Betts laced an RBI single through the right side of the infield to plate Holt from second and give his side their first lead of the evening.

An inning later, with J.D. Martinez and Andrew Benintendi leading off the fourth by both reaching base, back-to-back run-scoring knocks from Christian Vazquez and Mitch Moreland off of Lamet upped the Sox’ advantage to four runs, as Vazquez drove in two and Moreland one.

The Padres responded with a three-run rally of their own in their half of the fourth though, and eventually tied things up at four in their half of the seventh as well.

At 4-4, the stalemate led to San Diego turning to their All-Star closer Kirby Yates in the ninth.

Leading off the final frame for Boston was Brock Holt, who was 0-for-2 headed on the night headed into his first career at-bat against Yates.

That unfamiliarity may have played in Holt’s favor though, as the 31-year-old took the first pitch he saw from Yates, a 93 MPH four-seamer down and in, and belted a 372-foot, go-ahead solo shot just over the wall in right field.

“BH’s” third big fly of the season put the Red Sox up 5-4 late, and that would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Andrew Benintendi departed from this game in the sixth inning due to tightness in his left side, per Sox manager Alex Cora. He will not play on Sunday.

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

Mitch Moreland’s last seven games: .360/.385/.440 with four runs scored and four runs driven in.

Before Saturday, Kirby Yates had served up one home run to the first 201 hitters he faced this season.

With the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics both falling on Saturday, the Red Sox move to six games behind Tampa Bay for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the Players’ Weekend series finale on Sunday afternoon.

Left-hander Brian Johnson gets the ball for Boston, while fellow southpaw Joey Lucchesi will do the same for San Diego.

Since being activated off the injured list earlier in the month, Johnson has posted a 6.75 ERA and .358 batting average against over his last four starts and 12 innings pitched.

In eight career interleague appearances (five starts), the 28-year-old owns a lifetime 5.40 ERA and .306 batting average against over 30 total innings of work. He has never faced the Padres nor pitched at Petco Park before in his career.

Johnson is also a lifetime .167 (1-for-6) hitter with two runs scored.

Lucchesi, meanwhile, owns an ERA of 4.86 in seven starts and 37 innings since the All-Star break. The Padres are 1-6 in those games.

The 26-year-old has never faced the Red Sox before in his two-year career, but he does own an ERA of 4.24 and batting average against of .227 in seven career interleague starts spanning over 34 innings of work.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 4:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the three-game sweep before heading off to Denver.