Recapping the All-Star Game from a #RedSox Perspective.

In what turned out to be a record-setting 8-6 win for the American League in last night’s MLB All-Star Game, I thought I would break down how the five Red Sox representatives contributed to the victory.

Chris Sale

Making his third consecutive start for the American League on Tuesday night, Sale was responsible for just the first inning of the 89th Midsummer Classic. Appearing in the bottom half of the first, the lefty surrendered a leadoff single to Cubs infielder Javy Baez on his very first pitch, then retired the last three batters, Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, and Freddie Freeman, on eight pitches, including this nasty 83 MPH slider to fan Goldschmidt for the second out.

Finishing with nine pitches (seven strikes), Sale did not factor into the decision, but he did electrify with a four-seam fastball that topped out at 100.7 MPH, which according to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, is “the hardest tracked pitch velocity he’s had since 2010.”

Sale will look to build on a successful first half in his next scheduled start against the Tigers in Detroit on Sunday.

Mookie Betts & JD Martinez

The other two starters for Boston, Betts and Martinez had five at bats between them, and Martinez was the only one who managed a hit, as he ripped a two out single off of Max Scherzer in the first inning.

The dynamic duo also struck out three times while failing to drive in a run, so they really did nothing for themselves in terms of making a case for the game’s MVP.

Mitch Moreland

A pleasant surprise, Moreland entered this game in the sixth inning as a defensive replacement for White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu.

A first time All-Star, Moreland struck out in his first at bat against Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez in the seventh, but followed that up by singling in his next two at bats while seeing the win for the American League through until the end.

Looking at the final box score, no one on either roster had more hits than Moreland, so congrats to him on that.

Craig Kimbrel

Per Kimbrel himself, he was not available to pitch last night after the workload he has had recently. Makes sense.

After the American League took home an 8-6 win in 10 innings, former Red Sox draft pick and current Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was named the game’s Most Valuable Player thanks to his go-ahead home run in that 10th and final frame.

Having the next two days off, the Red Sox will be back at it once again this weekend, as they head to Detroit to take on a 41-57 Tigers team. David Price gets the nod against his former team in the series opener. He’ll be matched up against another lefty in the Tigers’ Matthew Boyd. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

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Mookie Betts Batting Leadoff, JD Martinez Cleanup in American League Starting Lineup.

In their first season as teammates, Mookie Betts and JD Martinez were voted in by the fans as started in this year’s All-Star Game. Representing the American League for their third and second times respectively, Betts and Martinez have clearly emerged as two of the best hitters in not just the AL, but in all of baseball.

Batting first and fourth for the AL, this should be nothing new for the pair of dynamic hitters. With 52 home runs between them, both Betts and Martinez should be able to make an impact on Tuesday night.

I mean, both have already homered at Nationals Park this season.

With Chris Sale getting the starting nod for the third straight year, the three Red Sox starters will be joined by Craig Kimbrel and first time All-Star Mitch Moreland as well.

First pitch of the 2018 All-Star Game is scheduled for 8:00 PM ET Tuesday on FOX.

RECAP: Walk-Off Grand Slam from Xander Bogaerts Halts #RedSox Losing Streak at One in 6-2 Win over Blue Jays.

Less than a day after suffering their first loss in nearly two weeks at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Red Sox were back it against Toronto Saturday afternoon, looking to start a new winning streak heading into the All-Star Break.

Making his 19th start of the season on Saturday, Eduardo Rodriguez came out guns blazing against a team he has had issues with in the past.

Over the first five innings of this one, Rodriguez looked like a man who could not be stopped, as the lefty retired 15 of the 17 batters he saw while needing just 59 pitches to do so.

Things were looking great for the Red Sox heading into the sixth inning. With a 1-0 lead and Rodriguez dealing on the mound, it seemed as if win #67 was right around the corner.

Unfortunately, it was not that easy, and after getting the first out of that sixth inning, Rodriguez would have to leave the game with a right ankle sprain following an ugly collision with Lourdes Gurriel at first base.

The good news here, if any, is the fact that, according to Alex Cora, Rodriguez did not damage his surgically repaired right knee to any extent.

Finishing with a final pitching line of 5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, and 5 K on 67 pitches (47 strikes), it was certainly disappointing to see the Venezuela native’s day come to an end in the manner it did.

In what could have been his best outing of the season, we are left to hope that Rodriguez’s sprained ankle will not take all that much time to heal. The All-Star break could play a role in his timetable to return as well. Just have to wait and see for now.

Coming into a game he was initially not prepared for, Heath Hembree got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen.

With Gurriel already at first, Hembree did walk a man to put the go-ahead run on base, but escaped any real damage by getting Justin Smoak to fly out to center for the third and final out of the top half of the sixth.

A struggling Joe Kelly got the next call to begin the seventh inning, and he allowed the first two hitters he faced to reach base, putting runners on second and third with no outs.

After inducing two straight ground outs, one that drove in the tying run from third, Kelly walked Luke Maile, the Jays’ number nine hitter, on four straight balls, thus ending his day before it could even really get started.

That made way for Matt Barnes to enter and try to get out of this mess, and although it’s not entirely his doing,  he did give up what was the go-ahead run on a Lourdes Gurriel RBI single, closing the book on what was another miserable appearance for Joe Kelly.

From that point on though, Barnes held things in check by striking out Yangervis to retire the side in the seventh. And in the eighth, the UCONN product worked his way around back-to-back two out walks to punch out Randal Grichuk on three straight strikes, retiring the side and keeping it a one run game.

An inning later, Brandon Workman was given the responsibility of keeping his team within striking distance going into the bottom of the ninth. In response to this, Workman needed only 12 pitches to retire the only three batters he faced in order, which proved to be beneficial for the Red Sox a few minutes later.

With this contest now tied and headed into extra innings, Craig Kimbrel came out for a non-save opportunity in the tenth. Having seen his fair share of action these past few days, Kimbrel nonetheless still impressed with a two strikeout performance to keep things knotted up at two runs a piece. Thanks to his efforts, the Red Sox closer notched his second winning decision of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup did not have themselves the best of days at the plate on Saturday, and it looked as if that was ultimately going to cost them in the end.

JD Martinez got the scoring started for Boston in the fourth inning, as he led the bottom half of the frame off by launching a 389 foot missile into the Monster seats off Jays starter Sam Gaviglio for his 29th big fly of the season.

Fast forward to the eighth inning now, and scattered amongst other opportune scoring chances, the best one up to this point in the day probably happened in the eighth.

A one out single off the bat of Mookie Betts, followed by an E5 committed by Yangervis Solarte, allowed Betts to reach second, representing the tying run.

With Brock Holt at the plate, Betts was able to catch Blue Jays reliever Joe Biagini sleeping, and easily swiped third to put the tying run just 90 feet away.

Unfortunately, Betts could not advance, as Holt hit a hard ground out to second with the infield playing in, and JD Martinez struck out to end the inning. At that point, I’m thinking this thing is over. Get it done with, go home, and come back to split the series tomorrow, or so I thought.

From the middle of the ninth inning on, Xander Bogaerts was the star of the show for the Red Sox.

Facing off against long time late inning man Tyler Clippard, Bogaerts led his teams half of the ninth off by ripping a double down the left field line, once again putting the tying run in scoring position.

Two pitches into the next at bat, Jackie Bradley Jr. lined another double, this one hit to right field and allowing Bogaerts to easily score from second. And just like that, we had ourselves a 2-2 game.

In the tenth, a four-run rally was started by another fielding error committed by the Blue Jays. This time, in what looked like a routine ground out off the bat of Mookie Betts for the second out of the inning, turned into the go-ahead run being on first after Toronto’s shortstop, the aforementioned Lourdes Gurriel, could not come up with the ball cleanly.

That allowed Betts to reach first, and three batters later, after Jays reliever Chris Rowley had intentionally walked JD Martinez to load the bases, Xander Bogaerts sent the Fenway faithful home happy.

2-0 hitters count, 87 MPH fastball, 104 MPH and 392 feet off the bat, grand slam, ballgame over with a final score of 6-2.

The Toronto Blue Jays and giving up dramatic grand slams, name a more iconic duo.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 67-30. They have hit two grand slams in the past three days and have not lost consecutive games since June 19-20th.

From @SoxNotes: Xander Bogaerts is the first Red Sox player to hit a walk-off grand slam since Rico Brogna on August 14, 2000 vs. Tampa Bay.

In the month of July, Xander Bogaerts has a 1.142 OPS with 3 home runs and 18 runs driven.

JD Martinez collected his 80th RBI this afternoon, the most in all of baseball.

Going for the series win tomorrow afternoon, it will be Brian Johnson making his first start since being placed on the disabled list with inflammation in his left hip back on July 8th. As of this time, no corresponding roster move has officially been made, but I would guess it would be Tzu-Wei Lin or Bobby Poyner.

Johnson will be matched up against Jays righty Marcus Stroman. Stroman, 27, owns a 5.90 ERA in 11 games started this season, but has looked better on the mound as of late.

First pitch of the final game of the first half of the season is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.

 

RECAP: Mookie Betts Blasts Monumental Grand Slam in Tenth Straight Win for #RedSox.

Coming off a sweep of the Texas Rangers, the Red Sox welcomed the fourth place Toronto Blue Jays into town for one last series before reaching the All-Star Break. In search of their tenth consecutive victory, David Price got the nod in what was simply an important night for the left hander.

Making his 19th start of the season, and third of what has been a frustrating month of July, David Price looked for some retribution in his last appearance in this opening half of the season.

Pitching into the seventh inning of this one, the lefty surrendered three runs, all earned, on six hits while recording eight strikeouts on the night.

In what was an otherwise impressive start for Price, the only thing that truly bit him was, once again, the home run ball.

Starting in the top half of the first, he tried to sneak a 0-1 93 MPH fastball by Teoscar Hernandez with two outs in the inning. Hernandez, one of Toronto’s best power hitters, took that fastball and sent it 434 feet, the farthest hit ball of the night, to the center field bleachers, putting the Jays up 2-0 early.

After that blast, Price did settle down and retire 16 of the next 18 batters he faced going into the top half of the seventh.

To leadoff that seventh inning, Kendrys Morales greeted Price by launching another home run, this one cutting the Red Sox lead to two runs.

Again, Price bounced back by retiring the next two batters he faced before Alex Cora came to get him with a 2/2 Devon Travis due up next for the Blue Jays.

In total, the Tennessee native pitched 6.2 innings, the deepest he has gone into a game since June 26th, and did not walk, or hit, a single batter in what turned out to be his 10th winning decision of the season.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 103 (76 strikes), the 32 year-old hurler relied on his changeup the most on Thursday, as he went to it 34% of the time resulting in nine swinging strikes. He only went to his four-seam fastball a total of 12 times, and actually topped out at 93.5 MPH with his two-seamer in the third inning of his start.

Overall, putting David Price’s first half of the season into words is no easy task. We’ve seen how great he can be at times, and we have also seen how nonexistent on the mound he can be at times. For the remaining 64 games left on the schedule following the break, hopefully we see a David Price that is ready to positively contribute to a team heading towards postseason contention.

In relief of Price, Brandon Workman got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and after giving up a single to the aforementioned Devon Travis, retired the side in the top half of the seventh by getting Yangervis Solarte to line out to Mookie Betts in right field.

Over the final two innings of last night’s contest, Matt Barnes got hit decently hard by the top of the Jays lineup, as he allowed them to creep a little closer by making it a 6-4 game, but rallied with two huge strikeouts to retire the side and prevent any additional damage.

And in the ninth, on the day after recording a four-out save against the Rangers, Craig Kimbrel shut the door on Toronto in a clean frame of work, with none other than Mookie Betts, who we’ll get to momentarily, catching the final out to ensure Kimbrel’s 29th save and his team’s 66th win of the season in 6-4 fashion.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against an All-Star pitcher in the Blue Jays’ JA Happ.

Similar to Bartolo Colon, Happ, 35 has been doing this pitching thing for a while, and he proved why he is an All-Star this season by shutting down Boston’s bats over the first three innings on Thursday night.

The bottom of the fourth inning, though, well, that is where things started to drastically change for the better.

With one out in the frame and Xander Bogaerts at first following a line drive single, it appeared as if Brock Holt had grounded into a force out at second base on a failed double play by the Blue Jays. After further review however, it was determined that Toronto’s second baseman, Devon Travis, never applied the force at second, meaning Bogaerts was actually safe.

So, the Red Sox video room saw that from their vantage point, contacted the dugout, and Alex Cora ended up with a winning challenge, meaning both Bogaerts and Holt were safe with only one out in the inning.

Following that bit of craziness, an infield single from Eduardo Nunez loaded the bases for the Red Sox, and Sandy Leon came through first with an RBI force out that allowed Bogaerts to score from third.

After Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a six pitch walk to reload the bases, Mookie Betts went ahead and had one of the more dramatic at bats these eyes have seen.

Lasting 13 pitches total, Betts fouled off SEVEN pitches from Happ and watched three go for balls to eventually fill the count at 3-2.

On the 13th pitch of the endeavor, the Red Sox outfielder must have had enough, because he took a 95 MPH fastball from Happ and pulverized it 407 feet over the Green Monster for his second grand slam of the season.

Just Betts’ reaction alone is something else.

Never mind the fact that he just capped off one of, if not the best at bat of the season with a GRAND SLAM, good for his 23rd homer of the season, too.

That is how All-Stars are made, and that is how JA Happ’s night would end for Toronto in an inning he needed 46 pitches to record two outs in.

Fast forward to the seventh inning now, and it was Betts coming up big again, as he delivered what turned out to be a very important insurance run by driving in Jackie Bradley Jr. on an RBI single off the Monster, making it a 6-3 game to pretty much put this thing out of reach.

Some notes from this win:

Injury related: Steve Pearce had to exit from Thursday night’s contest after taking a 94 MPH fastball of his left shin in the first inning. He’s been diagnosed with a left shin contusion and is day-to-day.

The Red Sox have now won 10 games in a row, marking their longest such streak this season. Here are some nuggets from @SoxNotes pertaining to that streak:

At 66-29 (.695), the Red Sox are 37 games over .500 for the first time since 1949.

They are 38-15 (.717) in their last 53 games, including 17-3 (.850) in their last 20.

Boston’s 10-game winning streak is the club’s longest since September 2016 (11 games).

Just saying, but that is pretty good.

In the month of July, Mookie Betts is slashing .409/.490/.705 with three home runs and eight RBI. He is currently in the midst of a 10 game hitting streak.

Going for their 11th straight win later tonight, it will be Rick Porcello getting the ball for the Red Sox. Following a so-so outing against the Kansas City Royals this past Sunday, I’m sure Porcello will be wanting to end his first half on a positive note against a team he has pitched well against this season.

He’ll be matched up against lefty Ryan Borucki, who in his rookie year with the Blue Jays, owns a 2.25 ERA in his first three career starts.

First pitch of the second game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

RECAP: Two RBI Each from Benintendi, Bogaerts, Bradley Jr., and Moreland Lift #RedSox to Eighth Straight Victory.

On a night they were planning to rely heavily on their bullpen due to Brian Johnson hitting the DL on Sunday, the Red Sox looked to take the series against the Texas Rangers for their eighth straight win.

Although he was not expected to pitch very deep into this game, Hector Velazquez made his first start since April 14th on Tuesday night, and despite not being totally in command, he did a solid job to start this one out.

In three frames of work, the righty scattered one run while allowing two hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night. The only real mistake Velazquez committed came in the second, when Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor smacked a 92 MPH sinker 447 feet to right field to put his team on the board first.

Other than that, Velazquez got out of another jam in the same inning, and went on to work his away around a leadoff walk in a scoreless third. So, overall, not too shabby for the 29 year-old.

Since he was limited in what he could do, Velazquez finished with a pitch count of only 47 (32 strikes) and topped out at 93.6 MPH with his four-seam fastball.

Depending on the status of Steven Wright in this next turn around the Red Sox rotation, it will be interesting to see what the team does this coming Sunday, which would be Velazquez’s, or Wright’s, next scheduled start. But, given the fact it’s the last day before the All-Star break, it would not surprise me if we had another bullpen day on our hands. We’ll have to wait for that announcement.

Anyway, in relief of Velazquez, Jalen Beeks, who was recalled from Pawtucket Tuesday morning, made his first appearance with the Red Sox since his major league debut on June 7th.

In just over two innings of work, Beeks got hit fairly hard, as the Rangers tacked on their final three runs of the night with the Arkansas native on the mound. Despite that, it could have been worse for Beeks, had he not received some serious help from Mookie Betts in the fifth…

…and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the sixth.

With one out in that sixth inning, Brandon Workman came on for Beeks with runners on second and third and a four run lead to work with.

On the fifth pitch he threw, noted slugger Joey Gallo nearly took a 93 MPH fastball from Workman and sent it out of the park. He did it 394 feet, but it was only good for a two-run double off the tallest part of the Monster in left field.

Cutting the lead to just two runs now, Workman recovered by retiring the next two batters he faced on six pitches to end the top half of the sixth.

From that point on, with the aid of an increased lead, the Red Sox bullpen was essentially money from the seventh until the last out of the ninth. Matt Barnes earned his third wining decision of the season thanks to a scoreless seventh, Joe Kelly held down the fort by tossing a scoreless eighth, and for the second straight night, the new guy, Ryan Brasier saw this win through with a scoreless final frame.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against 12-year veteran starter Yovani Gallardo for the Rangers, who entered Tuesday night with an unsightly 8.17 ERA on the season.

Six hits in the third inning is what got the scoring started for Boston, and surely enough, the five-run rally was initiated by back-to-back doubles from the 8-9 hitters in Blake Swihart and Jackie Bradley Jr. to put the first run on the board.

Two batters later, an Andrew Benintendi double to drive in Bradley from second started a string of four straight knocks for the Red Sox 2-5 hitters, including a JD Martinez single to advance Benintendi to third, a Mitch Moreland RBI single, and to cap it off, a 2 RBI triple off the bat of Xander Bogaerts to clear the bases and put Boston up 5-1.

Fast forward to the fifth now, with Gallardo still on the mound for Texas, and Mookie Betts led things off with his 25th double of the season to put a runner in scoring position right away. Following a JD Martinez walk two batters later, Mitch Moreland came through with his second RBI of the night on a sac fly hit far enough to center field to allow Betts to score from third and make it a 6-2 game.

In the next two innings, the Red Sox padded their lead, which did shrink a bit in the top half of the sixth, with a run in each frame.

First, in the bottom of the sixth, with the score at 6-4, it was the 8-9 hitters who showed up for Boston once again, as a two out Blake Swihart single set up Jackie Bradley Jr. with another RBI chance, and he capitalized on it with his second RBI double of the night.

An inning later, Andrew Benintendi padded on to his All-Star hopes by notching his 57th RBI of the season on another double to drive in Mookie Betts from first and wrapping up the scoring at 8-4.

Some notes from this win:

I failed to mention this earlier, but Blake Swihart started at catcher for only the second time this season. Given the fact that Christian Vazquez is out with a broken pinky finger for the forseeable future, Swihart will be getting a decent amount of playing time, and he impressed both behind the plate and with a bat in his hands last night.

The Red Sox are 35 games over .500 at 64-29.

From @SoxNotes: This is the Red Sox’ third win streak of 8+ games this season. It had been 40 years since they had as many as three win streaks of 8+ games in a single season (four in 1978).

In nine games this month, Andrew Benintendi has a 1.179 OPS. Today is the last day to vote for the final All-Star on each roster, so don’t forget to #VoteBenny before 4 PM on Wednesday.

redsox.com/vote

Going for their ninth consecutive victory and third straight sweep on Wednesday, it will be a pitching matchup featuring Bartolo Colon for Texas and Chris Sale for Boston.

At the age of 45, Colon owns a 4.65 ERA in 18 appearances with the Rangers in what is his 21st season in the big leagues.

He’ll be going up none other than Chris Sale, who in his last six starts, is putting up ridiculous numbers for the Red Sox en route to what could be his third straight start for the American League in this year’s All-Star Game.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

RECAP: David Price Shaky Again but #RedSox Prevail in Blowout Win over Royals.

Coming off one of his worst starts in a Red Sox uniform last Sunday against the Yankees, David Price looked to rebound and get back on track against a team that struggles to score runs in the Kansas City Royals.

In what was his 18th start of the season on Saturday night, Price found himself struggling yet again. Only managing to pitch into the fifth inning, the lefty got pounced on for four runs on six hits, one walk, and three HBP.

Price did manage to tie his season-high in strikeouts with nine on the night, but that did not do him any favors against a Royals team that typically find themselves struggling at the plate.

The real kick in the gut, to me anyway, was the last frame Price appeared in the fifth. A half inning after his team stormed back from a 3-0 hole to take a one run lead, what does Price do? Gives up a leadoff single to Whit Merrifield, hits three of the next five batters he faces to set a new team record, gives up what was the tying run initially, and leaves the game with a pitch count of 102 (69 strikes) in the FIFTH inning. Talk about going deep into your start.

A reason for that high pitch count could be the fact that exactly one-third of them resulted in foul balls off the bats of Royals hitters. Regardless of that, these last two starts from Price have to have the Red Sox feeling a bit concerned. Struggling against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium is one thing, but putting up a performance like that against a 25-62 team the night after Chris Sale had his way with them? Not a great look, especially when you consider how he has been pitching since this video dropped following his start against the Angels on June 26th.

Anyway, topping out at 95.3 MPH with his two-seam fastball in the third inning this time around, the Tennessee native will look to regain the prominence he displayed from May 12th to June 26th in his next outing, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen combined for 5.1 no-hit innings en route to the series-clinching win. Heath Hembree picked up his fourth win of the season by getting out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth and tossing a scoreless sixth. And from the middle of the seventh on, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Brandon Workman, and Hector Velazquez wrapped up a game that had somehow turned into a laugher for Boston.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup could not get to Royals starter Brad Keller the way they got to Jason Hammel on Friday night. Instead, it took until the fifth inning for them to finally get on the board, and it all started with a two out rally.

Already trailing by three runs with two outs in the top half of the fifth, the top of the lineup, mainly Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi set the table for the middle part with JD Martinez due up next.

On a 1-2 fastball from Keller, the Red Sox DH ripped a line drive single to left, scoring Betts from second to put his team on the board while also advancing Benintendi to third.

Two batters later and the bases now loaded, Xander Bogaerts delivered with a bases-clearing 3 RBI double hit over the head of Alcides Escobar in center field. That put the Red Sox up by one momentarily as the Royals came back to knot things up at four in their half of the fifth.

In the seventh, the Red Sox tacked on another three runs, with the most important coming on a Mitch Moreland sac fly to score Andrew Benintendi from third for the go-ahead run.

Three batters after that happened, Christian Vazquez came through with what looked to be important insurance runs at the time, as he scored both JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts on a 2 RBI single.

In the eighth inning, Andrew Benintendi, who had walked in all four of his at bats prior to this one against Royals righty Kevin McCarthy, blasted his first home run since June 21st to put the Red Sox up 8-4. Ballgame over, or so I thought.

Instead of easing up on the gas pedal in the ninth, the Red Sox lineup decided to kick it up a notch by plating SEVEN runs. Highlighted by back-to-back RBI doubles from Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, this offensive outpouring all but put the lowly Royals out of their misery, and we got to see Drew Butera, a backup catcher for KC, pitch.

All and all, every member of the Red Sox lineup who had at least one at bat in last night’s contest, 11 total, drove in at least one run, which added up to 15 in nine innings.

Some notes from this win:

Andrew Benintendi did not record an official at bat until the eighth inning on Saturday. In total, his OPS shot up from .856 all the way up to .881 in one game.

JD Martinez, in case you lost count, is up to 74 RBI on the season now.

Combined, Betts, Benintendi, and Martinez went 8/13 with 4 RBI, 4 BB, and 4 K.

Exactly 90 games into the season now, the Red Sox are 61-29. Pretty decent.

Some injury news:

Joe Kelly had to depart with two outs in the eighth due to light-headedness.

Christian Vazquez fractured his right pinky while sliding into second base, so he’ll be placed on the 10-day disabled list today. Expect Blake Swihart to get more opportunities behind the plate backing up Sandy Leon.

On a more positive note, the Red Sox will go for the sweep this afternoon with Rick Porcello on the hill for the series finale. He’ll be matched up against Jakob Junis for Kansas City, who held Boston to two runs over six innings pitched in the only other time he has faced them back on May 1st. First pitch of the final game is scheduled for 2:15 PM ET. Last game before heading home.

 

RECAP: Mookie Betts Hits 100th Career Homer and Chris Sale Picks up 100th Career Victory as #RedSox Open Series in Kansas City with 10-5 Win.

Coming off an off day on Thursday, the Red Sox took to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO to take on the 25-61 Royals. Having already taken two out of three from them earlier this season at Fenway Park, the Red Sox, led by Chris Sale, were looking to end a nine game road trip on a positive note.

Making his 19th start of the season on Friday, Sale carried over the dominance he displayed throughout the month of June in another great showing. In what was his shortest start since June 13th, the lefty went six innings deep in this one, surrendering just one run on five hits and one walk while fanning 12 Royals on the night.

By the time Sale took the mound for the first time in the bottom half of the first, his team had already gotten him four runs of support. And an inning later, that lead inflated all the way up to eight runs. So, the 29 year-old was never under much duress on Friday night, and the Royals only got to him once, on a Alcides Escobar RBI single, in the second, in six frames of work.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (65 strikes), Sale displayed his full range of abilities with a fine defensive play in his final inning.

Out of those 99 pitches, the Florida native went to his nasty slider 43 times, which resulted in nine swinging strikes and 10 called strikes. He also topped out at 100.3 MPH with his four-seam fastball in the second inning.

A performance worthy of his ninth winning decision of the season, Sale reached a milestone with his 100th career win as well. He’ll look to build on this start, and make even more of a case to get his third consecutive nod for the AL in the All-Star Game, in his next time out, which should come against the Texas Rangers back at home on Wednesday.

In relief of Sale, we got our first look at Tyler Thornburg in a Red Sox uniform, and in case you were not able to catch it, I can confirm that he is a real person.

Making his first appearance with the club since being acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the 2017 season, Thornburg gave up one run in the lone inning he pitched in the seventh. Granted, a Lucas Duda leadoff triple probably should have been a leadoff double had Mookie Betts not misplayed the ball in right field, but other than that, it certainly was not the worst relief appearance these eyes have seen.

From that point on, Brandon Workman gave up a two-run home run to Mike Moustakas in the eighth, and Hector Velazquez gave up one run on a Whit Merrifield RBI single in the ninth to make it a 10-5 game, while also picking up the final out to ensure his teams 60th win of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup got to Royals starter Jason Hammel right away in this one. In his only other start against Boston this season, Hammel surrendered eight runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings pitched back on April 30th. On Friday night, the righty got hit hard once again, but did not make it into the fifth inning.

Leading the night off as he typically does, Mookie Betts took the third pitch he saw from Hammel and launched it 410 feet to left center for his 22nd long ball of the season.

In the process of doing that, not only did Betts put his team on the board first, but that homer was also good for the 100th of the outfielder’s career.

Four batters later, Brock Holt came to the plate with the bases loaded, and he took advantage of that by ripping an RBI single to right field to score JD Martinez from third and Steve Pearce from second.

Another two batters later, Sandy Leon put the exclamation point on an exciting opening frame by lining an RBI single of his own to right, scoring Xander Bogaerts from third for his teams fourth run of the night already.

In the second, with Hammel still on the mound for Kansas City, a pair of two-run home runs off the bats of JD Martinez (27) and Xander Bogaerts (14) doubled the Red Sox lead to eight heading into the bottom half of the inning.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, and Jackie Bradley Jr. collected his 26th RBI of the season to score Eduardo Nunez from third for the ninth run of the night. An inning later, Steve Pearce capped off his three-hit with an RBI double to score Blake Swihart and put his new teams 10th and final run on the board.

Some notes from this win:

From @SoxNotes: Chris Sale is in line to earn the 100th win of his career. In his last 6 starts, he has a 1.10 ERA. He has not allowed a HR in his last 44.0 innings, the longest streak of his career.

And

Players to hit 100 HR with the Red Sox before turning 26: Tony Conigliaro – 160 Jim Rice – 133 Ted Williams – 127 Mookie Betts – 100 (turns 26 on Oct. 7)

It is July 7th, JD Martinez is slashing .328/.392/.647 with 27 HR and 73 RBI. The Red Sox are also the only team in all of baseball with 60 wins.

Looking to rebound from an ugly outing against the Yankees last Sunday, David Price will get the ball for the middle game of this weekend series later tonight. He’ll be matched up against Royals righty Brad Keller, who initially started the season as a reliever, but has since transitioned into a starting role with the club. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 PM ET on FOX.