Red Sox Held in Check by J.A. Happ, Fall to Yankees as Xander Bogaerts Picks up 1,000th Career Hit

After taking the opener of a four-game weekend series against the New York Yankees with a commanding 6-1 win on Friday, the Red Sox fell back to Earth on Saturday, as they managed just one run themselves in a 5-1 loss at the hands of the Bronx Bombers to fall back to 76-66 on the season.

Making the first start of his big league career for Boston and 11th appearance overall was Travis Lakins, who was named the opener for this one on Friday in what was another bullpen day for the Sox.

Tossing two no-hit innings like Jhoulys Chacin the day before, the rookie right-hander kept the Yankees off the scoreboard while fanning three of the six hitters he faced on the afternoon.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 29 (17 strikes), Lakins relied on his four-seam fastball more than 48% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing four swings and misses and topping out at 96.1 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate. Four of those heaters were the hardest pitches Lakins has thrown this year, per Red Sox Stats.

Ultimately hit with the no-decision while lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.15, it will be interesting to see if the Red Sox turn to the 25-year-old hurler as an opener again given the level of success achieved in his first go at it.

In relief of Lakins, left-hander Bobby Poyner entered the top of the third in a scoreless contest, and he got another busy day for the Boston bullpen started by sitting down the only three Yankees he faced in order.

The fourth inning is where things got sticky, as Ryan Weber yielded a leadoff double to D.J. LeMahieu before punching out Aaron Judge on four pitches for the first out of the frame.

A line drive to right off the bat of Didi Gregorius should have gone for the second out of the fourth, but with the sun directly in his face, J.D. Martinez, not Mookie Betts, had trouble picking up the ball, and it ended up glancing off his glove before rolling to the wall for a one-out double.

So, with runners at second and third with only one out instead of one runner at first with two outs, Colten Brewer came on for Weber, and he got Gary Sanchez to hit a weak fly ball to shallow right field.

The only thing was, the ball was essentially in no-man’s land, and neither of Mitch Moreland, Brock Holt, nor Martinez were able to come up with it for what would have been the second out.

Nope, instead, Sanchez was credited with a two-run ground-rule double and the Yankees had themselves a 2-0 lead just like that.

Things would not improve for the Sox following that series of mishaps though, not with Edwin Encarnacion unloading on the very first pitch he saw from Brewer, a hanging 81 MPH curveball down the heart of the plate, and depositing it 423 feet over the Green Monster for a two-run blast to double his side’s lead at 4-0.

Brewer was able to escape the fourth without surrendering anything else following that Encarnacion homer, but the damage had already been done.

From there, Trevor Kelley worked his way around two walks in a scoreless fifth, Hector Velazquez stranded the bases loaded with the help of an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play in a shutout sixth, and Josh Smith walked one and struck out another in a clean seventh to make way for Mike Shawaryn in the eighth.

Shawaryn proceeded to punch out the first two Yankees he faced before allowing the next two to reach base, but got out of it by getting LeMahieu to ground into a force out at second to retire the side.

In the ninth, Shawaryn again got the first two outs of the inning in simple fashion, but was unable to keep New York off the scoreboard this time as he plunked Sanchez and served up an RBI double to Encarnacion to increase the deficit to five runs before ending the frame.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees left-hander J.A. Happ, who entered the weekend fresh off one of his better starts of the season in his last time out against the Oakland Athletics this past Sunday.

Winless against Happ in his first three outings against them this year, that trend continued for Boston on Saturday.

Two hits and one walk. That’s all the Sox bats could manage off of Happ, and none of those three runners made it up to second base either.

It was not until the bottom half of the eighth, with Happ out and right-handed reliever Tommy Kahnle in for the Yankees, when back-to-back one-out singles from Mitch Moreland and the pinch-hitting Marco Hernandez finally put a runner in scoring position.

That led to left-hander Zack Britton taking over for Kahnle, and all Brock Holt could do was watch as strike three blew past him on a 1-2, 95 MPH slider at the knees.

Mookie Betts followed by making hard contact, but only on a ball that was hit right to Aaron Judge in right field to extinguish the threat.

And in the ninth, J.D. Martinez made things a bit interesting against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman as he took the lefty deep to the Red Sox bullpen off an 0-1, 99 MPH heater on the inner half of the plate for his 35th home run of the season.

That 397-foot solo shot, Martinez’s 16th of the year off a left-handed pitcher, cut the deficit to four runs at 5-1, but that would ultimately go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position on Saturday. They left four men on base as a team.

Xander Bogaerts collected the 1,000th hit of his major league career on Saturday with a fourth-inning single.

From Red Sox Notes:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

As of right now, the Red Sox are 6 1/2 games behind the Oakland A’s for the second American League Wild Card Spot. That is sure to change with the A’s, Cleveland Indians, and Tampa Bay Rays all in action on Saturday night.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the third installment of this four-game set on Sunday Night Baseball, with right-hander Rick Porcello getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Masahiro Tanaka doing the same for New York.

Porcello struggled mightily in his first start of September against the Minnesota Twins, surrendering six earned runs on eight hits in an eventual 6-5 loss this past Tuesday.

In his last start against the Yankes, the 30-year-old toughed out a quality outing after allowing two runs in the second inning of a contest the Sox eventually won by a final score of 19-3.

Tanaka opposed Porcello in that game on July 25th, when he yielded 12 earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings of work and ultimately got hit with the losing decision.

The 30-year-old has recovered nicely since then though, posting an ERA of 3.38 and batting average against of .250 over his last seven starts and 42 2/3 innings pitched. The Yankees are 5-2 in those games.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 8:05 PM EDT on ESPN.

 

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Red Sox Call up Trevor Kelley from Triple-A Pawtucket, Option Mike Shawaryn in Slew of Roster Moves

UPDATE: Catcher Oscar Hernandez was designated for assignment in order to make room for Kelley on Boston’s 40-man roster. He’ll probably clear waivers.

Before kicking off a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, the Red Sox recalled right-hander Trevor Kelley from Triple-A Pawtucket. In a corresponding move, right-hander Mike Shawaryn was optioned back down to the PawSox, while first baseman/outfielder Sam Travis was returned there after serving as Boston’s 26th man during the London Series over the weekend.

Steve Pearce was also recalled from his rehab assignment after suffering a setback, while Tzu-Wei Lin was activated from the 10-day injured list and optioned to Pawtucket. The club made the transactions official earlier Monday.

Kelley, 25, was drafted by Boston in the 36th round of the 2015 amateur draft out of the University of North Carolina.

Beginning the 2019 season with Triple-A Pawtucket, the Rhode Island native has posted 0.96 ERA and .204 batting average against through 28 appearances and 37 2/3 innings pitched this year.

Since May 16th, Kelley has only allowed one run over his last 16 outings and 21 1/3 frames of work.

Known for his sidearm delivery, Kelley features an 86-88 MPH fastball that tops out at 89 MPH and a 75-77 MPH slider, according to SoxProspects.com

Per FanGraphs, Kelley owns a FIP of 3.69 and an xFIP of 5.82 with the PawSox so far, and has averaged nearly four walks per nine innings this season, meaning he, as Red Sox Stats puts it, “puts men on base, isn’t a strikeout or swing and miss guy, and is an extreme air ball pitcher.”

As mentioned earlier, Mike Shawaryn was optioned to make room for Kelley on Boston’s 25-man roster.

The 24-year-old out of the University of Maryland began his big league career on a high note after being recalled from Pawtucket on May 30th, as he yielded just one earned run on four hits and five walks over his first six appearances and 10 innings pitched.

Over his last two outings though, it’s been a much different story for the right-hander, surrendering 11 runs, all earned, on nine hits and two walks since June 22nd. Eight of those runs came in this past Saturday’s loss to the New York Yankees.

Given that he was used as a reliever in his first stint with the Sox, it will be interesting to see if Shawaryn maintains that role or goes back to being a starter in Pawtucket.

As for the injury-related side of this news, Steve Pearce was supposed to be activated from the injured list for this upcoming series in Toronto, but was instead returned from his rehab assignment after suffering a setback in the rehab process, which was most likely caused by knee pain, a source says.

Pearce, 36, was placed on the 10-day IL with a lower back strain on June 1st and began that now-cancelled rehab assignment on the 14th. The 2018 World Series MVP has not appeared in a game for Boston since May 31st.

Lastly, Tzu-Wei Lin was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket after completing a rehab assignment with them that lasted five games.

The 25-year-old utility man has missed considerable time this year due to a left knee sprain suffered back in May against the Chicago White Sox, and is slashing .286/.357/.381 with no home runs and eight RBI through 17 games with the PawSox this season.

Rick Porcello Allows Six Runs, Only Records One out as Red Sox Fall to Yankees 17-13 in Historic and Wild London Series Opener

NOTE: The information I would usually include from Baseball Savant was only made available while this game was happening, so that is why it is not presented here. Sorry about that.

After two days off, the Red Sox and New York Yankees finally kicked off the highly anticipated inaugural London Series at Olympic Stadium on Saturday, and the Sox lost the first ever Major League Baseball game played on European soil by a final score of 17-13 to fall 10 games off the pace for first place in the American League East.

Making his 17th start of the season and second against New York was Rick Porcello, who made history Saturday by becoming the first big league pitcher to make a start on the other side of the Atlantic.

Recording just the first out of this one, the right-hander was downright walloped by the Yankees high-octane offense, as he surrendered six runs, all of which were earned, on five hits and one walk to go along with zero strikeouts on the afternoon.

That one out came on a flyout off the bat of Aaron Judge after DJ LeMahieu had reached base to start things off.

Other than that, Porcello followed with a one-out walk of Gary Sanchez before serving up back-to-back-to-back run-scoring doubles to Luke Voit, Didi Gregorious, and Edwin Encarnacion, which put the Yankees up four.

With two outs still to get, Porcello’s outing came to an abrupt close six pitchers later when Aaron Hicks took him deep to right on a 2-2 pitch to give his side a new six-run lead.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 33 (20 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler had Christian Vazquez, not Sandy Leon, behind the plate.

Hit with the no-decision in the shortest start of his big league career, Porcello wraps up a dismal month of June in which he posted a 6.46 ERA over six starts and 30 2/3 innings of work, including that seven-inning shutout performance against the Minnesota Twins on the 17th. He’ll look for improved results in his next time out, which should come against the Detroit Tigers next weekend.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen had their work cut out for them Saturday, as they would wind up responsible for the final 8 2/3 frames of this contest.

Colten Brewer entered with one out and the bases empty in the first, and he walked the first man he faced in Gleyber Torres before retiring the last two hitters of the inning.

Steven Wright, in his second appearance since returning from an 80-game suspension, yielded a pair of Yankees runs on a two-out, two-run homer off the bat of Brett Gardner in the fourth, which gave New York a brand new 8-6 advantage, and that is how the knuckleballer was saddled with his first losing decision of the year.

From there, rookie right-hander Mike Shawaryn got rocked for eight earned runs, six of which came in consecutive order in the fourth on a bases-loaded walk drawn by Gardner, a bases-clearing double from LeMahieu, and another two-run dinger from Aaron Judge to make it a 14-6 game.

In the fifth, three more Yankees runs crossed the plate on an RBI base knock from Didi Gregorious while Shawaryn was still out there, and a two-run single from the red-hot LeMahieu while the left-handed Josh Taylor, who ended the inning, was on the mound.

At 17-6, it looked like this one was all but over for Boston, but with the efforts of Ryan Brasier, Hector Velazquez, and Marcus Walden combining for four frames of scoreless baseball from the beginning of the sixth up until the middle of the ninth, the Red Sox were nearly able to climb their way back, which is what we’ll get into next.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a formidable opponent in Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who had yet to face Boston this season before Saturday.

Coming to the plate for the first time already down a sizable margin, Rafael Devers got the scoring started for his side by driving in Mookie Betts all the way from first following a leadoff single on a long double to right field. 6-1.

Two walks of JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts later to fill the bases, Christian Vazquez cut into that deficit even further, plating Devers from third on a sacrifice fly to right for the second out of the inning.

Brock Holt cut the initial six-run hole in half with an RBI single to score Bogaerts and move Martinez up to second, and Michael Chavis erased the original deficit entirely by mashing a three-run home run to left center field for his 13th of the season.

That bomb knotted things up at six, but the Yankees pulled away once more, at one point padding an 11-run lead until the Red Sox got on the board again in their half of the sixth.

There, with reliever Nestor Cortes Jr. in for New York, Jackie Bradley Jr. stayed hot by leading the inning off with his ninth big fly of the year, a long solo shot to bring the Sox back to within 10 runs.

Given that large of a deficit in the later stages of this contest, manager Alex Cora went ahead and removed Andrew Benintendi and Devers to begin the seventh, replacing them with Sam Travis and Marco Hernandez respectively while also moving Vazquez to third and putting Sandy Leon in behind the plate.

In that seventh inning, the Boston bats continued to dig with four straight two-out hits against Cortes Jr., the third of which was Chavis’ second two-run dinger of the night to make it a 17-10 game in favor of New York.

A Bradley Jr. single got Cortes out and brought right-hander Tommy Kahnle in, who proceeded to walk Betts and throw a wild pitch in his matchup against Hernandez, which allowed both runners to move into scoring position.

Hernandez took full advantage of that mistake from Kahnle by driving in Bradley Jr. on an RBI infield single, and Betts scored as well on another wild pitch from the Yankees reliever on ball four to Bogaerts. 17-12

Another pitching chane for New York saw Adam Ottavino take over for Kahnle, and Martinez greeted him promptly with an RBI double, allowing Hernandez to score from second and bring the Red Sox back to within grand slam range, or four runs.

Unfortunately, that would wind up being the last Boston run to cross the plate, as Travis popped out to first with runners at second and third to end the seventh, Hernandez grounded out to third with the bases loaded to end the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman faced the minimum three batters in a scoreless ninth, sealing a 17-13 loss for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this loss:

Xander Bogaerts departed in the seventh inning Saturday due to cramping in both of his calfs. He is day-to-day and is hopeful to play Sunday.

Saturday’s nine-inning game lasted four hours and 42 minutes. Both teams combined for 30 runs on 37 hits and 12 walks, all without committing a single error.

DJ LeMahieu recorded the first hit in Europe in Major League Baseball history, while Aaron Hicks recorded the first home run.

Michael Chavis’ last 15 games: .318/.357/.530 with four home runs and 14 RBI.

More from Chavis, courtesy of The Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato:

Rafael Devers’ last 15 games: .443/.460/.754 with three home runs and 10 RBI.

The first Major League Baseball game to ever be played in Europe was a wild one, but at the end of the day, the Red Sox dropped a contest to a divisional opponent and are now 10 games back of the Yankees for first place in the American League East.

With that third straight division title becoming more and more out of reach, how the Red Sox go about the next few weeks leading to the July 31st trade deadline should be worth paying attention to.

Anyway, next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this two-game London Series against the Bronx Bombers on Sunday afternoon.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball for Boston, and will probably be asked to pitch deep into his 17th start of the year, while fellow southpaw Stephen Tarpley will do the same for New York by serving as their opener.

Neither Rodriguez nor Tarpley have faced the Yankees or Red Sox so far this season.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 10:10 AM EDT on ESPN. Red Sox going for the split before taking off for Toronto.

 

 

Red Sox Bullpen Blows Another Save in 8-7 Meltdown Loss to Blue Jays

After battling their way back from a pair of four-run deficits in a 7-5 extra innings win on Friday, the Red Sox essentially did the exact opposite less than 24 hours later, as they blew a late six-run lead and fell to the Toronto Blue Jays by a final score of 8-7 on Saturday.

Making his second start of the season for Boston in this one was Brian Johnson, who worked in relief his last time out and ended up taking the loss in that 17-inning marathon against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday.

This time around, the left-hander put together a solid performance, yielding just one unearned run while scattering four hits and zero walks to go along with four strikeouts over five solid innings.

That lone Toronto tally came in the top half of the fourth, when with no outs and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at second following a leadoff single and a wild pitch from Johnson, a grounder off the bat of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. could not be handled cleanly by an off-balanced Xander Bogaerts, and he wound up unable to make a clean throw over to Michael Chavis at first, which gave Guerrero enough time to score his side’s first run of the afternoon.

Other than that one mishap, Johnson managed to sit down five of the last six Blue Jays hitters he faced leading into the middle of the fifth, where his outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 83 (50 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 37% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 91.6 MPH with the pitch.

Unable to pick up the winning decision despite a worthy performance of one, Johnson will look to lower his ERA of 6.43 even further in his next time out, which at the moment, probably won’t happen until the Red Sox return from London.

In relief of Johnson, Mike Shawaryn entered the sixth with a five-run cushion and got things off to an encouraging start by retiring the side in order.

From there, though, is where this one began to fall apart for Boston. That would be because Shawaryn, in his second frame of relief, gave up three straight one-out hits, with the last two being home runs from Freddy Galvis and Rowdy Tellez to cut Toronto’s deficit to two.

Marcus Walden was inserted with the bases empty and two outs to get in the seventh, and he walked the first man he saw in Luke Maile.

Three batters later, with Maile having moved up to third on a Guerrero Jr. single, Walden complicated matters further by mislocating 1-1 slider that got past Christian Vazquez and allowed the runner from third to come in and score with Gurriel Jr. at the plate to make it a 6-5 contest. Walden was able to escape the inning with that slim lead still in tact, setting up Matt Barnes in the eighth.

There, the frequently used righty saw that one-run lead disappear on a one-out RBI single from Cavan Biggio that drove in Teoscar Hernandez from second and knotted this one up at six.

That stalemate would not last long, unfortunately, as Barnes walked the bases loaded to make way for Ryan Brasier, who proceeded to walk in the go-ahead run himself on four straight out of the strike zone against Blue Jays leadoff man Eric Sogard.

Another free pass drawn by Guerrero Jr., the fourth straight given up by Red Sox pitching, gave his side a two-run edge before Brasier stopped the bleeding by getting Gurriel Jr. to pop out to first.

And finally, Josh Smith struck out the side in order in the ninth to keep Boston within the two runs they trailed by, although the damage had already been done.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was first matched up against right-hander Derek Law, serving as the opener for the Blue Jays on Saturday.

Jackie Bradley Jr. broke open the scoring for Boston in the second inning, where with JD Martinez at second and Brock Holt at first, the center fielder ripped an opposite field two-run double, plating both runners to make it a 2-0 game early on.

Michael Chavis added on to that while simultaneously extending his hitting streak to 11 games by driving in Bradley Jr. on a softy-hit RBI single back up the middle. That led to a pitching change that saw right-hander Sam Gaviglio take over for Law.

Walking the second hitter he faced in Mookie Betts to put runners on first and second, Andrew Benintendi made Gaviglio pay with a two-run, opposite field double on an 0-1 84 MPH slider that put the Sox up by five.

Friday night’s hero Christian Vazquez padded that lead in the bottom half of the third with his 10th home run of the season, a 340 foot shot just past Pesky’s Pole in right field that gave the Red Sox a six-run advantage.

With that large of a lead, you would figure with the way they’ve been playing lately, the defending World Series champions had this one in the bag. Sure, it’s easy to blame the bullpen for the way things turned out on Saturday, but to go hitless from the bottom of the fifth until the last half of the ninth isn’t great either.

In that ninth inning, trailing by two runs, Mookie Betts provided some life by drawing a one-out walk off Blue Jays closer Ken Giles after the pinch-hitting Rafael Devers fanned in the prior at-bat.

Betts managed to steal second off Giles, but Andrew Benintendi was unable to advance him any further, as he too struck out.

Down to their final out, it looked as though Xander Bogaerts was about to wrap this contest up by flying out to shallow left field, but with the way Toronto was playing him in the shift, said ball fell between Galvis and Hernandez and bounced over the wall into foul territory for a ground-rule double to score Betts from second.

Now only trailing by one, JD Martinez came to the plate representing the go=ahead run.

With the chance to send the Fenway crowd home with a walk-off win for the second consecutive day, the Sox slugger came up swinging on a rising 2-2 98 MPH fastball from Giles, but could not come through with any contact, as he fanned to put this disappointing 8-7 loss to bed.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox have blown 15 saves this season, the most in the American League and second-most in all of baseball behind only the New York Mets.

Per FanGraphs, the Red Sox had a 97.4% chance to win this game after Teoscar Hernandez flew out to second for the first out of the seventh inning.

From the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to bounce back from this ugly loss in the finale of this three-game weekend set on Sunday.

Right-hander Rick Porcello is set to get the ball for Boston, while fellow righty Marcus Stroman will do the same for Toronto.

Fresh off seven scoreless innings and a win in his last time out against the Twins, Porcello has posted an ERA of 2.75 through three June starts.

In 26 career outings (25 starts) against the Jays, the 31-year-old owns a lifetime 5.39 ERA and 1.30 WHIP over 148 2/3 innings pitched.

Stroman, meanwhile, picked up the win the last time he faced off against the Sox back on May 21st at Rogers Centre, where he allowed one earned run over six quality innings of work.

In his career at Fenway Park, the Duke University product is 1-2 with a 3.70 ERA in four starts and 24 1/3 total innings.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

 

 

 

Red Sox’ Winning Streak Snapped in 17-Inning Marathon Loss to Twins

In their longest game of the season in terms of both innings and time, the Red Sox saw their six-game winning streak come to an end on early Wednesday morning, as they fell to the Minnesota Twins by a final score of 4-3 after 17 marathon innings.

Making his 13th start of the season for Boston in the middle game of this series was David Price, who like Rick Porcello before him, entered Tuesday with a solid history when working at Target Field.

Tossing five full innings this time around, the left-hander yielded just one earned run on four hits and no walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the night.

That one run came out in Minnesota’s half of the fourth, when back-to-back two-out knocks from Eddie Rosario and CJ Cron got the home side on the board immediately after the Red Sox had done so themselves.

Other than that, Price sat down three of the last four hitters he faced in the fifth, and that would be how his outing came to a somewhat abrupt end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of just 73 (49 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball nearly 44% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 93.9 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Hit with the no-decision while his ERA on the season lowered to 3.39, there should be no injury concerns involved with Price going forward. Per Sox manager Alex Cora, “[Tuesday] was one of those that we felt like I was going to take care of him. He threw the ball well but as you guys know, he’s a guy that we really have to take care of.” Price’s next start should come against the Chicago White Sox next week.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen was put to the test similarly enough to the way they were this past Sunday in Baltimore.

Mike Shawaryn got a long night started for the ‘pen by putting men on the corners on the first two hitters he faced, but with the help of Christian Vazqez, did not allow either to score before loading the bases with two outs and again escaping a jam by fanning Miguel Sano on three straight strikes.

Ryan Brasier came on in the seventh moments after Rafael Devers had given Boston a 2-1 lead, and he too received some assistance from his defense, with Jackie Bradley Jr. doing his best Spider-Man impression to rob Jorge Polanco of extra bases and retire the side.

In the eighth, Brandon Workman was charged with his third blown save of the season after walking the leadoff man in Mitch Garver and allowing him to tie things up at two on an RBI single from Max Kepler.

2-2 is where this one stood for quite a while, as Matt Barnes, Josh Taylor, and Colten Brewer combined for four scoreless frames from the ninth until the 12th before making way for Hector Velazquez in the bottom of the 13th.

There, after his side had taken a one-run advantage in the top half of the inning, the right-hander gave that back right away by serving up a leadoff solo shot to Kepler, once again knoting things up at three runs each.

Velazquez did settle in after that mishap though, as he pushed his way through the 16th, but had to be removed after coming out for the 17th after being unable to continue.

And in that 17th, two days after he made his first start of the year in Baltimore, Brian Johnson allowed two of the first three Twins he faced to reach, although before doubling, Eddie Rosario’s right foot very well could have been out of the batter’s box while trying to lay down a bunt.

Image

Nothing came of it, however, and Rosario’s double would prove to be costly, as Johnson intentionally walked CJ Cron to load the bases, and Kepler ended things by ripping the game-winning RBI single down the right field line.

In total, Boston used eight pitchers on Tuesday/Wednesday not named David Price. Marcus Walden was not available.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a fairly familiar opponent in Twins right-hander Michael Pineda, who missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

Like Price, Pineda only limited his opposition to one lone run, and that came courtesy of a Mookie Betts leadoff walk and a Rafael Devers two-out RBI single in the fourth to put the Sox on the board.

Fast forward to the seventh, with Pineda out and new reliever Ryne Harper in for Minnesota, Devers struck again, this time launching his 12th home run of the season, a 374 foot leadoff shot to give his team the 2-1 advantage.

As mentioned before though, that advantage did not last all that long, and this contest headed into extras, where the Sox had plenty of chances to tack on some runs, but could only come away with one.

That one, a 380 foot solo shot off the bat of Mookie Betts to lead off the 13th inning against Mike Morin, probably should have been enough to send Boston home with a win. But, Hector Velazquez buckled in the latter half of the frame, and the Red Sox were unable to score again.

The offensive struggles were especially evident in the 17th, where Andrew Benintendi reached third with no outs on a leadoff single, a stolen base, and Minnesota throwing error.

The middle part of the lineup, JD Martinez, Devers, and Xander Bogaerts, all had their shot to drive Benintendi in, but came up short, and the Twins capitalized on that inability by walking things off a half inning later in a marathon game that ended in a 4-3 final.

Some notes from this loss:

Red Sox with runners in scoring position Tuesday/Wednesday: 1-for-13. They left 14 men on base.

JD Martinez on Tuesday/Wednesday: 0-for-8 with five strikeouts.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

With that, the Red Sox’ six-game winning streak has come to an end.

For the finale of this three-game series, it will be a pitching matchup featuring a left and right-handed pitcher, with Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston and Kyle Gibson doing the same for Minnesota.

Coming off one of his better starts of the year in his last time out against the Orioles where he surrendered just one run over seven quality innings of work, Rodriguez brings with him a lifetime 5.91 ERA over two prior starts and 10 2/3 total innings pitched at Target Field.

Gibson, meanwhile, is also fresh off a dominant outing, as he held the Kansas City Royals scoreless on just two hits in an eight-inning win last Friday.

In his career against the Sox, the 31-year-old is 2-3 with a 2.68 ERA over six starts and 40 1/3 innings of work.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 8:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

 

Late Home Runs from Marco Hernandez and Rafael Devers Propel Red Sox to 8-6 Extra Innings Win over Orioles to Complete Three-Game Sweep on Father’s Day

In a game that took nearly five hours and an extra inning to complete, the Red Sox came away with their fifth consecutive victory and a three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, as they took the series finale by a final tally of 8-6.

Making his first start of the season and first appearance since April 5th for Boston was Brian Johnson, who was just activated from the injured list this past Friday after missing more than 2 months of major league action due to inflammation in his throwing elbow.

Working his way into the fourth inning of this one, the left-hander yielded one earned run on five hits and two walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the afternoon.

Despite dealing with a decent amount of traffic on the base paths in such a short span of time, Johnson only gave up that lone Orioles run in their half of the third, when Keon Broxton came around to score on a one-out RBI single from Hanser Alberto.

Other than that, Johnson stranded runners at first and second to end the frame before allowing Anthony Santander and Jonathan Villar to reach with no outs in the fourth, which is the point where his day came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 70 (41 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his curveball more than 37% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.2 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 25 times with Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

Given the current state of the Red Sox’ rotation with Nathan Eovaldi still shelved for the foreseeable future, expect Johnson to make his next start against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday if he isn’t used out of the bullpen before then.

In relief of Johnson, Colten Brewer was inserted into this contest with three outs to get in the fourth and runners on first and second.

With the help of Broxton interfering while running out a successful bunt attempt that would have plated the Orioles’ second run, the right-hander managed to escape the jam in the fourth with his team still in front. Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde, however, was ejected for arguing the ruling of that play.

From there, Mike Shawaryn got the first two outs of the fifth while loading the bases on a pair of walks and a single, and left-hander Josh Taylor, just recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket, saved him by inducing a grounder off the bat of Villar to retire the side.

Taylor also worked his way around a fielding error in the sixth in an otherwise clean inning to make way for Marcus Walden in the seventh.

Making his 28th appearance out of the ‘pen, Walden sat down three of the four Orioles he faced in his first inning of relief before running into some trouble in the eighth, where Villar led things off by drawing a six-pitch walk and eventually scored courtesy of two swiped bags and a wild pitch.

That knotted things up at two runs a piece at the time, and Travis Lakins proceeded to give that up by serving up a pinch-hit triple to the first man he faced in Stevie Wilkerson before Hanser Alberto drove him in on another RBI base knock. Just like that, the Red Sox were trailing.

Fortunately though, Marco Hernandez pulled them even in the top half of the ninth, while Brandon Workman sent this one into extras with a scoreless bottom half.

And in the 10th, after they pretty much blew this one open to 8-3, Josh Smith nearly gave it all back by giving up a pair of homers, but held on to close out his third game of the season to secure an 8-6 win for Boston.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar and fairly tough opponent in Baltimore left-hander John Means, who entered Sunday having given up just two total runs in two prior starts this season against Boston.

This time around, Means held his own through the first three innings, but the Sox bats finally got to him in the fourth, with Xander Bogaerts getting his team on the board by driving in Rafael Devers all the way from first on a one-out line drive RBI double to left.

Bogaerts nearly scored the Sox’ second run as well, but was hung up to dry when trying to come home on a single from Michael Chavis. Instead of scoring, the young shortstop got caught in the middle of a rundown, all while Chavis advanced into scoring position.

So, with two outs and Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate, the red-hot outfielder went ahead and extended his hitting streak to seven games, plating Chavis from second on a run-scoring double to give Boston their first lead of the afternoon.

Fast forward all the way to the ninth, after they had fallen behind by a run yet again, and Marco Hernandez came through in the clutch by blasting a game-tying, 395 foot solo shot to center off new Orioles reliever Mychal Givens. His first homer since May 30th of 2016, which also happened to come off of Givens in Baltimore, to eventually send this contest into extras.

There, in the 10th, Devers broke the stalemate in his first at-bat against Givens, leading off the frame by depositing a 1-0 fastball 458(!) feet to the opposite field for his 11th big fly of the season.

Still in the same inning, a fielding error that allowed Bogaerts to reach safely, a Michael Chavis single, and a walk drawn by Brock Holt off Orioles reliever David Hess filled the bases with Red Sox for Mookie Betts,

Already with two hits of the day, the reigning American League MVP broke this one open with number three, ripping a two-run single to left to plate Bogaerts and Chavis to put his team up by three.

Christian Vazquez opened up that lead a little further with another two-run double to drive in the two men on ahead of him, and that would later prove to be vital.

That being the case because even though they went up 8-3 on Vazquez’s clutch two-base hit, the Orioles almost staged a rally of their own in their half of the 10th, cutting Boston’s advantage back down to two runs before Sunday’s contest ultimately came to a close with a final score of 8-6.

Some notes from this win:

Andrew Benintendi was originally starting in left field and batting second Sunday, but was scratched due to a sore left quad. That’s why JD Martinez was out in left field.

From Red Sox Stats:

Rafael Devers during his six-game hitting streak: 11-for-27 with one double, one triple, two homers, and five RBI.

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s last seven games: .357/.400/.714 with two stolen bases, two home runs, and six RBI.

For the third time this season, Michael Chavis has recorded multiple hits in three straight games.

The Red Sox swept the Orioles, as expected. Now comes the true test. We’ve seen it before from this team, they dominate an inferior opponent, then proceed to struggle against better teams, such as the Astros, Rays, or Yankees.

This time, it will be a three-game set in Minnesota against the rising 47-23 first place Twins.

Led by ex-Red Sox outfielder and first-year manager Rocco Baldelli, the Twins have taken off in 2019, and entered Sunday leading the American League in runs scored (411), doubles (149), home runs (135), team slugging percentage (.514), and team OPS (.854) among other categories.

For the opener on Monday, it will be a pitching matchup featuring a pair of right-handers, with Rick Porcello getting the ball for Boston and Jose Berrios doing the same for Minnesota.

Porcello is coming off his best start in weeks in his last time out against the Texas Rangers, and brings with him a lifetime 2.96 ERA over 13 career starts and 82 total innings pitched at Target Field.

Berrios, meanwhile, has had himself a solid 2019 thus far. That much is evident bow how the Twins are 11-3 in games he starts.

In three career starts against Boston, the 25-year-old is 0-2 with an ERA of 4.15 over 17.1 total innings of work.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 8:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox have plenty to prove as they go for their sixth straight victory.

 

 

Xander Bogaerts Leads Power Surge for Red Sox in 7-6 Comeback Win over Rangers for Series Split

In a game that took well over four hours to complete, the Red Sox stormed all the way back to a four-game split against the Texas Rangers with a 7-6 win on Thursday night to close out a 3-5 homestand.

Making his 12th start of the season for Boston in the series finale was David Price, fresh off six quality one-run innings in his last time out against the Tampa Bay Rays.

This time around though, the left-hander struggled mightily against a team he has a rough history with, as he yielded six runs, all of which were earned, on five hits, two HBPs, and one walk to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the short-lived night.

The issues for Price were present right from the get-go, that much was clear by how he hit the first man he faced in Shin-Soo Choo, and proceeded to walk the next in Delino Deshields, which in turn led to Texas plating their first two runs on an Elvis Andrus RBI single and Hunter Pence RBI double that nearly left the yard, but bounced off the top of the short wall in right field and landed back in play.

Price escaped the first after surrendering another pair of runs on two-out, two RBI double from Logan Forsythe, but more trouble arose an inning later, and it was once again started by beaning Choo with one out on a 1-2 changeup.

A double from Deshields put both runners on base in scoring position for Andrus, who capitalized on a 1-0 changeup from the Tennessee native and grounded another two-run hit through the left side of the infield to make it a 6-0 game. That was how Price’s evening came to a disappointing close, less than an hour after it had began.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 49 (27 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball nearly 37% of the time he was on the mound Thursday, inducing five swings and misses and topping out at 92.3 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

When asked about his performance, Price simply said, “I sucked. That’s it.” With his ERA jumping up by 8/10 of a run up to 3.52 on the season, he’ll look for better results in his next time out against the Minnesota Twins next Tuesday.

In relief of Price, Sox manager Alex Cora turned to every reliever in his bullpen sans Heath Hembree, who later said he wasn’t available to pitch due to right forearm tightness.

Mike Shawaryn, Colten Brewer, and Travis Lakins, all of whom have been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket in the last few weeks, set the groundwork by working a combined four scoreless, no-hit frames of relief, scattering five walks along the way to set up the more high-leverage arms.

Entering the sixth with the score at 6-6, Marcus Walden bounced back from a two-run outing this past Saturday by working his way around two two-out singles in an otherwise clean frame with some help from Andrew Benintendi.

Another tightrope was walked in the seventh, when, still in a tie game, Brandon Workman walked the bases loaded with two outs, took Deshields to a full count after falling behind 3-0, and came through with a huge punchout on an 82 MPH slider to strand the go-ahead run at third.

In the eighth, after his side had plated what would turn out to be the winning run in their half of the inning, Matt Barnes also bounced back from what has been a subpar month of June so far by fanning the final two Rangers he faced to leave Hunter Pence at second following a one-out double.

And in the ninth, with Heath Hembree unavailable, Josh Smith, yes, Josh Smith came on for his first ever big league save opportunity.

It didn’t look great when he hit the first batter he faced, but the 31-year-old got Rougned Odor to ground into a force out at second to keep the tying run out of scoring position before the Rangers second baseman stole the base anyway, and he also struck out pinch-hitter Nomar Mazara seven pitches later.

With one out still to get, this contest nearly ended on a pick-off move made by Smith on a retreating Odor as he was sliding back to second.

Xander Bogaerts was confident he had the runner on the tag, but second base umpire Angel Hernandez ruled him safe, and that ruling was upheld despite a Red Sox challenge.

The man who was at the plate while that transpired, Choo, was intentionally walked, and Smith succeeded against his next opponent in Deshields, as he got the speedy outfielder to fly out to center, thus securing his first career save and completing the comeback.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Rangers right-hander Adrian Sampson, who hadn’t pitched against the Sox nor at Fenway Park since his rookie year in 2016, when he was with the Seattle Mariners.

Starting the scoring for Boston in this one was JD Martinez in the first inning, mashing his 13th home run of the year on a 418 foot solo shot to center to cut the early deficit to three runs.

An inning later, that deficit would be trimmed down even further to two thanks to back-to-back leadoff singles from Bogaerts and Vazquez and a 403 foor three-run dinger off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr., his sixth of the year.

Fast forward to the fourth, and Michael Chavis came alive and made it a one-run game by depositing his first homer since the 22nd of May into the third row of Monster Seats down the left field line. 6-5.

Rafael Devers joined the home run party in the fifth, tying this wild one up by absolutely crushing an 0-2 hanging slider from Sampson and sending it 443 feet over everything in center field. Per Statcast, the 22-year-old’s 10th big fly of 2019 had an exit velocity of 110 MPH.

Finally, in the seventh, down to their final out of the inning with right-hander Peter Fairbanks in for Texas, Xander Bogaerts gave the Sox their first lead of the night, collecting his 14th home run of the season on an 0-1 slider, one that the budding shortstop mashed 386 feet over the Monster.

That put the Red Sox ahead 7-6 after trailing by as many as five runs, and that would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox had nine hits Thursday. Five were home runs.

Jackie Bradley Jr. in June: .257/.366/.514 with two home runs, three doubles, and seven RBI.

Xander Bogaerts in June: .304/.382/.630 with three doubles, four home runs, and seven RBI.

The Red Sox bullpen Thursday: 7 1/3 innings pitched, four hits, one HBP, eight walks, nine strikeouts, ZERO earned runs.

So, after going down two games in a four-game series, the Red Sox respond by taking the next two for the split. That’s encouraging to see, especially with a three-game weekend series against the lowly Baltimore Orioles set to begin on Friday.

The starters for that series go as follows: Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, TBD (Could be Brian Johnson).

Meanwhile, for Baltimore, they have yet to announce a starter for either Friday or Sunday. Right-hander Dylan Bundy will be matched up against Sale on Saturday.

The Sox took two out of three from the O’s in their first trip to Baltimore back in May. A sweep this time around seems more ideal.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their third straight win.