RECAP: #RedSox End Road Trip with 7-4 Loss in Philadelphia Following Tough Night for Bullpen.

After taking the first of two against the Philadelphia Phillies in a close 2-1 win on Tuesday night, the Red Sox looked to end their nine-game road trip on a positive note on Wednesday, but that simply was not the case.

Making his fourth start of the season with the Red Sox in this one, Nathan Eovaldi took a step in the right direction five days after the Baltimore Orioles lit him up for eight runs on 10 hits last Friday.

Tossing five full innings, the right-hander surrendered three runs, one of which was earned, while scattering seven hits and zero walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

As he faced four hitters each in what went down as three pretty smooth frames, the bottom half of the fourth did not treat Eovaldi as nicely.

The worst part about a three-run rally for the Phillies that tied the game in that fourth inning was the fact that it was all started by a throwing error.

Yes, Rafael Devers, who leads the team in errors, could not make the throw over to first in what appeared to be a 5-3 put out at first on a Rhys Hoskins grounder to leadoff the inning.

From that point, three of the next five Phillies Eovaldi faced managed to reach base, and thanks to RBI knocks from Wilson Ramos and Carlos Santana and a RBI groundout from Odubel Herrera, this game was tied at three runs a piece heading into the fifth.

Fortunately for Boston, the Texas native ended his night on a solid note by sitting down three of the final four batters he faced on Tuesday.

Had this game not been played in a National League ballpark, Eovaldi probably could have pitched further, but with his spot in the lineup due up with runners at first and second in a tied game in the sixth, going with the pinch-hitter was clearly the right choice.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 86 (61 strikes) the 28-year-old turned to his cut-fastball about 43% of the time he was on the mound last night, which resulted in just three swings and misses. He also topped out at 99 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 27 times, in his fifth and final inning of work.

Now with 14 starts under his belt this season, Eovaldi will look to build on a solid outing in his next time out, which should come sometime against the Cleveland Indians next week.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen, mainly Joe Kelly and Drew Pomeranz, did not have the best of nights in the City of Brotherly Love.

Kelly, who got the call for the sixth in his sixth appearance of August, allowed what would turn out to be the go-ahead run for the Phillies in the form of a Scott Kingery sac fly that scored Wilson Ramos from third.

Speaking of Ramos, the former Rays backstop was making his first start with the Phillies since being traded there in July, and he went 3/4 with three RBI in another great day at the plate against the Red Sox, something he has become accustomed to.

Anyway, Kelly gave up the run to bump his ERA on the season up to 4.29 and he would later be dealt his fourth losing decision of the year as well because of it.

Drew Pomeranz made his third relief appearance since being demoted to the bullpen last week, and it was certainly his worst of the three.

In what has the chance to be his last outing in a Red Sox uniform, the lefty allowed the Phils to score THREE times in one inning, which essentially, despite their best effort, put this game out of reach for Boston.

During that seventh inning, it was clear that Pomeranz was struggling to locate his pitches, as he left a lot of them up in the strike zone. Topping out at 91.5 MPH with your four-seam fastball is not the best of signs either.

Finally, with his team trailing by three, Hector Velazquez sat down the only three batters he faced in the eighth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was without Mookie Betts in the leadoff spot and matched up against Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez.

Velasquez, 26, had only made one career start against Boston prior to Wednesday night, and that came all the way back in 2015.

Starting the scoring in the third inning of this one, a one out walk drawn by Nathan Eovaldi, followed by an Andrew Benintendi HBP and a Brock Holt infield single set up Mitch Moreland in an ideal scoring spot.

On the third pitch he saw from Velasquez, Moreland ripped a 94 MPH fastball all the way to the center field wall for a three-RBI double, and just like that, the Red Sox were up early.

Velasquez would depart from the game after reloading the bases in the same inning, but with Hector Neris on the mound for Philadelphia, nothing came of that scoring chance for the Red Sox.

Fast forward to the top half of the sixth with things knotted up at three, two straight two out singles from Rafael Devers and Sandy Leon had Boston threatening to jump ahead once again with pinch-hitter Steve Pearce due up.

With Tommy Hunter on the mound for the Phils, it looked as though Pearce managed to beat out an infield single that would have loaded the bases again, but upon further review, Pearce was ruled out and the inning came to a close.

After going down quietly in the seventh, the top of the eighth would turn out to be the last real opportunity for the Red Sox to cut into a brand new four-run Phillies lead.

JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. all reached to leadoff the inning with reliever Pat Neshek on the hill, but all they could muster in the end was one run off a Mookie Betts pinch-hit RBI single.

That was that, and they went down quietly in the ninth as well to end an encouraging road trip in rather disappointing fashion.

Looking at the final box score, the Phillies ended up using SEVEN pitchers out of their bullpen. Gabe Kapler out here managing like it’s game seven of the World Series or something.

Some notes from this one:

Over the nine-game road trip, here is how the Red Sox stacked up (via NESN):

7-2 record

7.2 runs per game

.279 team batting average

2.54 starters ERA

4.00 bullpen ERA (Obviously the most discouraging figure)

Andrew Benintendi apparently hit a bill twice on one swing last night. That’s pretty cool.

Splitting the four-game season series while getting outscored 12-9 by Philly in those four contests, the Red Sox will not have to see the 66-53 Phillies for the remainder of the regular season.

Instead, they head back home to enjoy another off day on Thursday before welcoming the Tampa Bay Rays into town for a three-game weekend series at Fenway Park.

Brian Johnson, David Price, and Chris Sale will start for the Red Sox in that order while the Rays still have a series to wrap up in New York.

First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET on Friday.

 

 

 

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RECAP: Mookie Betts Stays Hot and JD Martinez Reaches 100 RBI Mark as #RedSox Outslug Orioles in 19-12 Win.

In a game that took over four hours to complete and saw 31 total runs cross the plate, it was the Red Sox, with no help from their pitching staff, who came away with a series opening win against a last place Baltimore Orioles team in wild fashion.

Making his third start with Boston since being traded from Tampa Bay on July 25th, Nathan Eovaldi actually struggled. Wow.

He entered Friday having not given up a single run in 15 innings pitched with his new club, but also a career 6.10 ERA in two prior starts at Camden Yards, and the latter prevailed last night.

Pitching into just the third inning of this one, the right-hander got hit hard by the lowly O’s for EIGHT runs, four of which were earned, on 10 hits and two walks.

Most surprisingly, Eovaldi failed to strike out a single one of the 20 batters he faced on the night.

Control was also an issue for the Houston native in his 12th outing of the year, as he only threw strikes 59% of the time on Friday. Compare that to a 73% strike rate in his previous two starts, both of which were starts that allowed Eovaldi to work at a decently quick pace, something he really could not accomplish yesterday.

I don’t think it is that big of a deal, but it is worth mentioning that Dan Butler, not Sandy Leon, who was behind the plate in his previous two appearances, caught Eovaldi. There were times when pitcher and catcher were not on the same page in terms of what to throw, and perhaps that’s what led to a rough evening for Eovaldi.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 71 (42 strikes), the 28 year-old hurler relied on his cut fastball 35 times and topped out at 99 MPH with his four-seamer in the first inning. Eovaldi will look to rebound from this disastrous start and maintain his previous stellar form in his next time out against his former club in the Tampa Bay Rays next weekend.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen too had themselves a rough night.

  • Brandon Workman cleaned up the mess left behind by Eovaldi in the third thanks to a pick off from Dan Butler to catch Tim Beckham stealing second and also tossed a scoreless fourth.
  • Drew Pomeranz, yes that Drew Pomeranz, made his first appearance out of the Red Sox bullpen since being demoted on Thursday afternoon and actually looked okay in a clean fifth. He would eventually pick up his second winning decision of the season later on.
  • Heath Hembree got knocked around for two runs on three hits and a walk in an abysmal sixth inning of work that saw the Red Sox lead shrink from three runs to one run.
  • Shoutout to Ryan Brasier, because he was the only reliever out of Boston’s ‘pen who managed to retire all three batters he faced in a shutdown seventh inning.
  • Matt Barnes gave up a solo homer to Mark Trumbo to cut his team’s lead to eight runs, but otherwise sat down three of the four batters he faced in the eighth.
  • And finally, despite giving up a run on two base knocks, Joe Kelly closed things down in the ninth to secure win number 82 for the Red Sox.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup certainly had themselves a night to remember, as they set a new season-high in runs scored with 19 of them on the evening.

Matched up against Baltimore’s ace in right-hander Dylan Bundy, who got hit hard by Boston in a game that ended up not counting because of weather late last month, the top and middle parts of the lineup got the scoring started right away to kick off the weekend.

Beginning the first by drawing a leadoff walk on four straight balls, Mookie Betts, along with JD Martinez, would come around to score two of the first three Red Sox runs on a two out three-run blast off the bat of Xander Bogaerts. His 17th of the season.

Fast forward to the fourth and trailing 8-3 all of a sudden, Brock Holt got things back on track by drawing a one out walk and would come around to score two batters later on a Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI triple. A passed ball with Mookie Betts at the plate allowed Bradley to score from third, and just like that, it was a three-run game.

Two innings later, a leadoff home run from a surging Holt cut the Orioles lead to two, and that was just the tip of the iceberg in what turned out to be a six run sixth for Boston.

Highlighted by a sac fly from Mitch Moreland that made it a one-run game, two bases loaded walks that saw the tying and go-ahead runs cross the plate, and a two RBI knock from Holt, the Red Sox found themselves with a brand new three run lead they would not have to look back from. All while the Orioles ran through three different pitchers in the inning.

In the seventh, with Donnie Hart still on the mound for Baltimore, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Mitch Moreland all reached base safely before a single out was recorded.

Benintendi, with runners on first and third, essentially put this game on ice by mashing his 15th big fly of the season, another three-run shot that gave his team a commanding 14-10 lead.

To wrap up the wild night filled with plenty of scoring, a pair of multi-RBI base hits from Mookie Betts and JD Martinez gave the Red Sox their 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th and final run of the contest.

For Betts, a bases-clearing double, his 32nd, saw Holt, Steve Pearce, and Jackie Bradley Jr. all score to up his RBI total to 62 on the season.

And for JD, a two RBI single that scored both Betts and Andrew Benintendi put his season RBI total over 100 at 101 to be exact. The first player to accomplish the feat this season.

Some notes from this win:

From @SoxNotes: Tonight’s 19-12 win marks the most runs the Red Sox have scored against the Orioles since the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1954. It had been 24 years since the Sox scored 19+ runs in any road game (4/12/94 at KC, W 22-11).

Mookie Betts has reached base 10 times in his last 11 plate appearances.

One day after Betts hit for the cycle in Toronto, Jackie Bradley Jr. finished a home run shy in four at bats last night.

JD Martinez has driven in 101 runs in 109 games played.

Entering Friday in a 2/24 slump at the plate, Brock Holt went 3/4 last night with his first home run since April 17th. He also got a hug from JD Martinez.

Faced with a double-header that starts this afternoon, it will be David Price getting the start for the Red Sox in the first of two games on what looks to be a rainy day in Baltimore.

Opposite Price will be rookie right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis for the Orioles, who has both started and pitched out of the bullpen in four games with Baltimore this season.

First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET Saturday.

As for the second game, another rookie in Yefry Ramirez will get the start for the Orioles.

Alex Cora has yet to make a decision on who will start for Boston. RHP William Cuevas has been recalled from Triple A Pawtucket and will represent the 26th man on the Red Sox roster for this today’s twin bill at Camden Yards. He, or Hector Velazquez, are realistic options to get the nod in the night-cap.

RECAP: Rafael Devers Homers in Return from Disabled List as #RedSox Remain Unbeaten in August.

On the night following a 10-7 win despite a disappointing performance from Drew Pomeranz, the Red Sox hung another 10 runs on the Blue Jays while Wednesday’s starter Brian Johnson had himself a much better time on the mound at Rogers Centre.

Making his eighth start of the season and pitching north of the border for the first time since he took the loss on a Luke Maile walk-off home run on May 11th, Johnson breezed through the first five innings of this one.

Retiring 15 of the first 18 batters he faced while holding the Jays scoreless, it looked as though the lefty was going to cruise to his third winning decision on Wednesday night.

It turned out that way in the end, but not before the Blue Jays gave Johnson a fair amount of trouble in both the sixth and seventh innings.

Starting in that sixth inning, a two-run home run off the bat of Teoscar Hernandez, who has now hit seven homers in 19 career games against the Red Sox, that was preceded by a Justin Smoak single gave Toronto their first two runs of the contest.

An inning later, which is the furthest Johnson has pitched into a big league game since last May, another home run, this one good for three runs off the bat of Randal Grichuk cut Boston’s lead in half and ended Johnson’s night on a rather sour note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (67 strikes), the former Florida Gator relied on his offspeed curveball heavily on Wednesday, as he went to it 44% of the time he was on the mound. His four-seam fastball, a pitch Johnson went to 40 times, topped out at 90.1 MPH in the second inning. Both home runs given up were a result of 86 and 87 MPH fastballs.

As he did end up improving to 3-3 on the season despite the five runs given up for the second consecutive outing, I would assume that Johnson will be able to maintain his spot in the rotation and make another start against the Philadelphia Phillies next week.

In relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen, fresh off more than five innings of work on Tuesday, did not need to be turned to that frequently last night.

Both Ryan Brasier and Joe Kelly tossed scoreless frames of work in the 10-5 win. Brasier worked his way around two base runners to retire the side in the eighth, and Joe Kelly did the same in the ninth to wrap up his team’s 81st win of the year.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was mas matched up against a 28-year-old rookie right-handed pitcher in Toronto’s Mike Hauschild.

Hauschild, making his first career big league start, managed to hold Boston scoreless through the first two innings, but things really blew up on him starting in the third.

Rafael Devers, who was making his first start since being activated from the 10-day disabled list earlier in the day, got a four-run rally started by reaching second on a leadoff double.

One walk of Sandy Leon and one Mookie Betts HBP later to load the bases, Andrew Benintendi put the Red Sox on the board with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Devers from third with ease.

Mitch Moreland, fresh off a four RBI night on Tuesday, followed that up by ripping another double off the wall in center field to drive in both Leon and Devers and make it a 3-0 game.

Following a JD Martinez single that advanced Moreland to third and a Blue Jays pitching change that saw Luis Santos take over for Hauschild, Xander Bogaerts capped off the early rally with another sac fly to right field that allowed Moreland to score from third. 4-0.

In the fifth, Bogaerts came through again with runners in scoring position, as he drew a bases loaded walk from Santos that let Mookie Betts, who led the inning off with a single, plate Boston’s fifth run.

An inning later, Rafael Devers put on exclamation point in his first game back from injury by blasting a 2-2 slider from new Jays reliever Jake Petricka 425 feet into the left field seats. Devers’ 16th big fly of the season was good for two and had an exit velocity of over 109 MPH, the second hardest hit ball of the evening.

Fast forward a bit to the seventh, and back-to-back doubles from JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts plated Boston’s eighth run while Bogaerts was able to pick up his third RBI of the contest.

Finally, in the ninth, JD Martinez capped off what was another offensive onslaught from the Red Sox lineup by driving in Sandy Leon from second on a two out RBI single, his league-leading 98th of the season. Andrew Benintendi also came around to score in the inning thanks to a wild pitch from Toronto reliever Joe Biagini to plate his team’s 10th and last run of the night.

Some notes from this win: 

During his current seven-game hitting streak, JD Martinez is slashing .464/.559/.893 with one home run and nine RBI over that span.

From @MLBStatoftheDay: The are the 7th AL team EVER to win at least 81 of their first 115 games.

At 81-34, the Red Sox have won their last six games, all of which have come in August, 10 out of their last 11, and 25 of their last 30. Their winning percentage on the season is a robust .704.

Going for the series win later tonight, it will be Rick Porcello getting the ball for the Red Sox against Blue Jays rookie southpaw Ryan Borucki.

Coming off perhaps the best start of his career last Friday against the New York Yankees in which he tossed nine innings of one run ball, Porcello will be in search of his 15th win of the season on Thursday.

Opposite Porcello will be Ryan Borucki, who also matched up against the righty in his last start against Boston on July 13th, a start in which he surrendered seven runs (four earned) on eight hits and four walks in what turned out to be a 13-7 win for Toronto.

The Red Sox are red-hot and first pitch of the series finale at Rogers Centre is once again scheduled for 7:07 PM ET Thursday.

 

RECAP: #RedSox Fall Behind Early, but Bounce Back in Big Way with 10-4 Win over Twins.

On the night after Mookie Betts walked off the Minnesota Twins with his 25th home run of the season in the tenth inning on Friday, the Red Sox carried over that instant offense by piling up nearly a dozen runs against Minnesota on Saturday. It certainly was not easy, as the team actually trailed for about a third of the game, but in the end, came away with their 73rd win of the year to get back to 40 games over the .500 mark.

Making his 22nd start of the season, Rick Porcello was part of the reason the Red Sox were down early in this one, but by the time he departed, the team was in a fairly decent spot while the New Jersey native had settled in to eventually notch his 13th winning decision.

Pitching into the sixth inning, the righty surrendered four earned runs on five hits and just one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

In the 5.2 innings he appeared in, the most costly miscues Porcello made came in back-to-back innings starting in the second.

Trailing by one run, Twins DH Logan Morrison launched a 434 foot bomb of a solo home run to tie things up at one.

Just an inning later, two straight one out singles from Minnesota’s 9-1 hitters, followed by a two out, two-run triple off the bat of shortstop Jorge Polanco had the Twins up by a couple of runs early. They tacked on another on a Brian Dozier RBI single, but according to his post game interview session, Porcello did not seem as peeved about that as he did the Polanco triple.

From the top of the fourth on though, the 29 year-old hurler retired eight of the last 10 batters he faced, with some help from Andrew Benintendi, before getting the hook with his pitch count reaching 100 (66 strikes).

Out of those 100 pitches, Porcello relied on his off-speed arsenal the most last night, as he went to his slider and curveball a combined 53% of the time. Only going to his four-seam fastball 22 times, Porcello topped out at 92.3 MPH with it on his 46th pitch of last night’s contest.

Improving to 13-4 on the year now, best for second in the American League, not that it matters, Porcello will look to turn a new page once the calendar flips to August. In five starts this month, we saw quite possibly the best of the former Cy Young Award winner with six shutout innings against the Baltimore Orioles and we may have seen the worst of him with that eight run stinker against the Blue Jays right before the All-Star Break.

Finishing the month with his ERA 0.43 points higher than it was at the beginning, Porcello’s next start should come sometime against next week/weekend’s series against the New York Yankees.

Anyway in relief of Porcello, Heath Hembree entered the game last night with two outs in the top half of the sixth and a runner at second.

As he has done so well recently, Hembree stranded the runner, Brian Dozier, in scoring position at third base following a successful stolen base attempt to keep the Twins deficit at one. After his team tacked on an insurance run in their half of the sixth, the South Carolina native came back out to toss a scoreless seventh frame en route to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Tyler Thornburg would come on in place of Hembree in the eighth, and he sat down the only three batters he faced to extend his scoreless innings streak to 3.2 following an ugly outing last weekend in Detroit.

And finally, by the time Joe Kelly came in to get some work in the ninth, the Red Sox had jumped out to a 10-4 lead to put this game away in the eighth.

Craig Kimbrel, despite a blown save on Friday, was available but was not needed.

In the lone inning he pitched in, Kelly did not walk one batter for the first time since July 13th on his way to locking down the win for the Red Sox.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar opponent in Minnesota’s starter Jake Odorizzi.

Having spent five seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays before signing with the Twins last winter, Odorizzi had made 17 starts against Boston to go along with a not so shiny 4.45 ERA in those starts. Based on that information, last night was kind of the same deal, meaning the Red Sox saw him well.

The scoring started early on, as three straight one out hits from the Red Sox’s 2-4 hitters was highlighted by a Mitch Moreland RBI single to drive in Andrew Benintendi from second and give his team an early 1-0 lead.

After the Twins jumped all the way out to a 4-1 lead of their own in the third, the Red Sox did not get on the board again until their half of the fourth.

With one out in the inning, a Rafael Devers ground-rule double followed by an Eduardo Nunez walk put the Red Sox in an ideal scoring spot to try to trim the Twins lead down.

Even though Sandy Leon failed to advance Devers to third on a fly out to center field, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through a few minutes later.

On the first pitch he saw from Odorizzi, an 84 MPH slider, the Red Sox outfielder ripped a 103.3 MPH triple just out of the reach of his counterpart Jake Cave off the center field wall to score both Devers and Nunez and make it a 4-3 game.

Had he got out of the box quicker, we could have been looking at a three-run inside the park home run, but that was not case.

With the tying run just 90 feet away now, Mookie Betts followed through with his first of two RBI doubles on the night to score Bradley from third and even things up at four runs a piece.

An inning later, JD Martinez delivered the go-ahead run the Red Sox needed by mashing his 32nd big fly of the season over everything in left field.

412 feet, 107 feet off the bat on that home run that ended up sailing over Lansdowne and landed on the roof of the parking garage across the street from Fenway.

That long ball put the Red Sox up 5-4 going into the fifth, and they would not have to look back in what ended up being somewhat of a blowout.

From that point in the game on, an Andrew Benintendi RBI single in the sixth increased the Red Sox lead to two runs.

Fast forward to the bottom half of the eighth, and nine batters came to the plate in what turned out to be a four run inning.

Capped off by an RBI double from Mookie Betts, a bases loaded RBI walk from Rafael Devers, and a two RBI double off the bat of Eduardo Nunez, the Red Sox found themselves up 10-4 by the time the eighth had come to a close.

Some notes from this win:

In the third inning of last night’s contest, Mookie Betts swiped his 20th bag of the season, marking 100 total in his career.

From @SoxNotes: At 25 years old, Mookie Betts is the youngest player ever to reach 100+ HR and 100+ stolen bases with the Red Sox. Betts has also become the first Red Sox player ever to record 20+ HR and 20+ steals in as many as 3 seasons.

From @RedSoxStats, pertaining to Heath Hembree: Inherited runners in Hembree’s 9 games this month: 2 3 2 0 1 0 1 2 1 … so far none have scored.

Over his last 25 games, Jackie Bradley Jr. is slashing .302/.371/.558 with four home runs and 23 RBI.

It was announced this morning that Rafael Devers is headed to the 10-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain after he came up lame rounding second base in the eighth inning last night. Tzu-Wei Lin has been recalled from Triple A Pawtucket in his place.

On a more positive note, the Red Sox will be going for the series win later on this afternoon.

Looking to impress in his debut with his new club, Nathan Eovaldi gets the start for Boston. He’ll be matched up against another righty in the Twins’ Jose Berrios, who held the Red Sox to one run on five hits in 6.1 innings pitched back on June 19th.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET Sunday.

 

 

RECAP: Mookie Betts Comes Through with Monumental Home Run to Send #RedSox Home with 4-3 Win over Twins in Extras.

Truth be told, I did not have a ton of time to write up this recap of last night’s game, so I’m going to keep it as quick as possible with my three stars of the night and some other notes from this win.

Third Star: Chris Sale

6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K. 100 pitches (69 nice strikes), extended his scoreless innings streak to 23, picked up his 200th strikeout of 2018 in record-breaking fashion, and lowered his ERA on the season to 2.04.

 

 

 

 

 

Second Star: Rafael Devers

0/3 heading into the bottom half of the ninth, minutes after the Twins had taken a 3-2 lead off of Craig Kimbrel.

Facing off against Minnesota’s closer Fernando Rodney, crushes a 2-1 94 MPH fastball into the Red Sox bullpen to send this game into extras. 112.1 MPH off the bat on his 15th big fly of the season.

First Star: Mookie Betts

Who else? First at bat of the bottom of the tenth. Second pitch of the at bat. Launches a 89 MPH fastball off of Twins reliever Matt Belisle to send everyone at Fenway home happy with the 4-3 win.

Honorable Mentions: Jackie Bradley Jr. & Steve Pearce

Jackie Bradley Jr. put the Red Sox on the board in the fifth with his eighth home run of the season, good for two runs.

Steve Pearce, after a defensive miscue in the seventh, redeemed himself a few minutes later by starting and finishing an inning ending 3-6-3 double play.

All and all, with the 4-3 win on Friday, the Red Sox avoided their first three game losing streak since the end of April. The bullpen certainly was not great for the second night in a row, but the team was able to come through regardless.

At 72-33 on the year now, Boston now holds a five game lead over the New York Yankees in the AL East thanks to their game against the Royals getting rained out yesterday.

Looking to even up the season series at three games a piece, Rick Porcello takes the hill for the Red Sox later tonight. He’ll be matched up against another righty in the Twins’ Jake Odorizzi, a pitcher Boston should be familiar with given the five seasons he spent with the Tampa Bay Rays.

First pitch of the third game of the series is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET on Saturday.

RECAP: Rick Porcello Bounces Back with Six Scoreless Innings as #RedSox Improve to 40 Games over .500 on the Season.

Following a three-game series win over the Detroit Tigers this past weekend, the Red Sox headed east to take on a Baltimore Orioles team with the worst record in all of baseball.

Weather was an issue for the second straight day, as this game saw two separate rain delays, but that did not stop Monday night’s starter from having a solid night on the mound.

Rick Porcello, coming off his worst outing in his last time out against the Blue Jays prior to the All-Star break, looked much more like himself last night. Granted, his opponent was a team with the second worst offense in the American League in terms of run production, but still, Porcello looked like the pitcher we have grown to become familiar with.

In six full innings pitched, the righty scattered six hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts while holding the O’s scoreless.

Despite not having one 1-2-3 frame in his 21st start of the season, Porcello worked around the minimal traffic he had created for himself and escaped any potential damage.

In the third, Baltimore nearly struck for their first run of the night, but an Andrew Benintendi to Xander Bogaerts to Sandy Leon relay to get Jace Peterson out at home for the final out prevented that from happening.

The second closest the Orioles came to scoring a run off the New Jersey native came in the bottom half of the fourth, when with one out in the inning, Adam Jones, who had led things off with single and advanced to second on a ground out, was awarded third base because of a balk.

Although it was not entirely clear and the umpires did gather to discuss what had taken place, Jones remained at third base with a golden scoring opportunity for Baltimore on the horizon.

Thankfully, Porcello bounced back by fanning the next two batters he faced to get out of the jam and keep his team in front by one run.

Finishing with 90 pitches (55 strikes) on the night and improving to 12-4 on the season, the weather more than likely played a role in how deep Porcello went into this game. A las, six scoreless innings is six scoreless innings.

Out of those 90 pitches, the 29 year-old hurler relied on his two-seam and four-seam fastballs a combined 53% of the time on Monday while topping out at 92.4 MPH with his four-seamer on his eighth pitch of the game.

Lowering his ERA below four at 3.93, Porcello will look to build off this successful start in his next time out, which will more than likely come against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.

From the middle of the seventh inning on, the Red Sox bullpen initially have a five run lead to protect, but the Orioles made things a bit interesting towards the end of this one.

With the help of Jackie Bradley Jr., Ryan Brasier went on to toss a scoreless frame in that seventh inning.

Brandon Workman got the call for the eighth, and he put an end to the Red Sox shut out by surrendering a two-run home run to Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop to make it a 5-2 game. Second straight appearance in which he has served up a home run.

In a rain-filled ninth inning, Craig Kimbrel, despite getting hit fairly hard, gave up one run en route to notching his 32nd save of the year, ensuring his teams 71st win in the process.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a pitcher they have already beaten up on this season in the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman.

Gausman, 27, started against Boston back on May 17th and got walloped for six runs on eight hits, including two home runs, in a losing effort at Fenway Park.

Last night, the righty out of LSU was not much better against a team he has routinely struggled against in his six-year career.

Starting in the second inning, Mitch Moreland kicked off the scoring for the Red Sox by mashing his 12th long ball of the season, a 412 foot shot to make it a 1-0 game early.

Fast forward to the fifth inning, and a leadoff double off the bat of Xander Bogaerts got a four-run rally started for Boston.

After Brock Holt advanced Bogaerts to third by grounding out to second, a chain of three straight walks drawn by the Red Sox 7-8-9 hitters allowed Bogaerts to easily stroll in from third and out his team on the board for the second time.

Two batters later, Andrew Benintendi went to the opposite field and drove in a pair of runs for the second day in a row on a ground-rule double to make it a 4-0 game. That was how Gausman’s night came to an end as he eventually got hit with his eighth loss of the season.

Following a pitching change that saw Miguel Castro, another righty, take over for Gausman, JD Martinez wrapped up the scoring for the Red Sox by collecting his 82nd RBI of the year on a hard hit infield single that plated Jackie Bradley Jr. from third to put his team up 5-0.

Despite getting out hit to go along with a valiant comeback effort from the Orioles to cut the Red Sox lead from five runs down to two, they did hold on to win, as I have previously mentioned, their 71st game in 102 tries.

Some notes from this win:

With a seventh inning single, Mookie Betts extended his on-base streak to 23 games.

Mitch Moreland hit his first home run last night since June 24th when he hit one against the Seattle Mariners.

Andrew Benintendi owns a 1.110 OPS with eight RBI in the month of July.

Finally, from @SoxNotes: The Red Sox’ 71 wins are their most ever through the first 102 games of a season.

Boston is 40 games above .500 (71-31) for the first time since the 1949 club was a season-best 96-56.

The Sox are a season-best 6.0 games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East.

Going for the series win later tonight, it will be Drew Pomeranz making his return to the Red Sox rotation for his first appearance in a Boston uniform since May 31st.

With a 6.81 ERA and 1.84 WHIP in eight games started this season, Pomeranz will be matched up against Orioles rookie Yefry Ramirez, who gave up three runs in 4.1 innings pitched in his first ever start against the Red Sox back on June 13th.

First pitch of the middle game is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET Tuesday, if the weather holds up.

RECAP: Another Stellar Outing from Chris Sale Leads #RedSox to 70th Win.

Originally scheduled for 1:10 PM ET, the Sunday series finale between the Red Sox and Tigers did not get underway until about 2:45 in the afternoon. Luckily for us, Chris Sale still put on a show against an opponent he is seen plenty of times over his nine-year career.

In his 21st start of the season on Sunday, Sale, as he has done so often recently, dominated.

Tossing six full innings, the lefty held Detroit scoreless while scattering two hits, hitting one batter, and punching out nine, which is actually his lowest strikeout total since June 13th. Regardless, he still tossed a gem and was rarely put in any stressful situations.

Finishing with 99 pitches (73 strikes), Sale retired the first eight batters he faced in order. It was not until, with two outs in the third, Tigers left fielder Victor Reyes lined a single to left field for his teams first hit of the day.

The only other hit Detroit could come across with the Florida native on the mound came an inning later, when with one out, Nick Castellanos ripped a double to right center field, nearly got tagged out by Xander Bogaerts while heading to second base, but made it just in time to put a runner in scoring position.

Thankfully, Sale recovered by retiring the next two hitters he faced to strand the runner at second, although he did need 17 pitches to do so.

Out of those aforementioned 99 pitches, Sale relied on his four-seam fastball/slider combination approximately 85% of the time in the six innings he appeared in, which resulted in 17 total swinging strikes. The fastest Sale’s four-seamer was clocked in at was 98.6 MPH on his 58th pitch of the game.

Improving to 11-4 on the season now, Sale will look to build on yet another successful outing and win in his next time out, which should come against the Minnesota Twins back at home on Friday.

In relief of Sale, the Red Sox bullpen had a comfortable nine run lead to work with going into the bottom half of the seventh inning.

Making his first appearance since the All-Star break, Brandon Workman ended the shutout by serving up a solo homer to Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario in the lone frame he appeared in.

Joe Kelly got the call for the eighth inning with the chance to get some of his confidence back. Despite loading the bases, the Tigers failed to score a run off the hard throwing righty, as Jackie Bradley Jr. ran down a deep fly ball off the bat of Candelario for the third and final out to retire the side. Not the prettiest outing from Kelly, as he only threw strikes 48% of the time, but a scoreless one nonetheless.

The bottom half of the ninth was a completely different story for the Red Sox. With Tyler Thornburg pitching less than 24 hours after getting shelled, the righty reliever needed just seven pitches, all of which were strikes, to retire the only three batters he faced to close out the 9-0 win. They mentioned on the broadcast that Thornburg had said he is feeling more and more like himself on the mound, and what he did today certainly helped that cause.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against the second lefty they had seen in three days. Blaine Hardy, 31, has seen time as both a starter and a reliever with the Tigers this season, and had already made a start against Boston back on June 6th, a start in which he gave up five runs in six innings pitched.

That would not be the case on Sunday though, as the Tigers starter only pitched into the fourth inning before getting that hook.

Over those 3+ frames, the Red Sox tacked on their first two runs of the day on back-to-back RBI groundouts from Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez in the second.

Two innings later, leadoff hits from Steve Pearce and Xander Bogaerts, followed by Rafael Devers reaching first on a fielder’s choice meant that the bases were loaded for Eduardo Nunez.

After Hardy was replaced by Tigers reliever Drew VerHagen, Nunez grounded an RBI single that scored Steve Pearce from third. As the ball deflected off the third baseman’s glove however, some confusion was created and Rafael Devers ended up getting tagged out in between second and third.

With one out in the fourth now and runners on the corners, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through with his second hit of the day, a 390 foot three-run opposite field blast hit to left field for his seventh of the season. 6-0 game.

Fast forward to the seventh, and Andrew Benintendi picked up his only hit of the day on a one out, two RBI triple off of Tigers pitcher Daniel Stumpf to score both Sandy Leon and Mookie Betts to make it a 8-0 game.

One pitching change later, JD Martinez drove in Benintendi from third in the process of picking up his 81st RBI of the season on a sac fly to right field. Ninth and final run on the board, and that turned out to be more than enough for the Red Sox to pick up their league leading 70th win of the year.

Some notes from this win:

Over his last five starts, Chris Sale is 5-0 with a 0.23 ERA and 0.55 WHIP in 40 innings pitched. Also important to note:

In 13 games with the Red Sox, Steve Pearce owns an OPS of 1.099.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is slashing .265/.327/.469 with one home run and 12 RBI in 14 games this month.

Improving to 26-6 in series finales on the season, the Red Sox will head to Baltimore to wrap up this quick six-game road trip. Going up against a dismal 28-72 Orioles team, Rick Porcello will get the start for the series opener on Monday.

He’ll be matched up against fellow righty Kevin Gausman for Baltimore, who surrendered six runs on eight hits in his only other start against Boston this season back on May 17th.

First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET on Monday.