Mitch Moreland and Rafael Devers’ Late-Inning Heroics Lift #RedSox to First Home Win of 2019

After dropping their first home game of the 2019 season on Tuesday, the Red Sox bounced back in dramatic fashion on Thursday, as they walked off the Toronto Blue Jays to capture their first victory at Fenway Park this year.

In a contest that took nearly three-and-a-half hours to complete, it was Nathan Eovaldi who got the ball to start things out in this one.

Making his third start of the season, the right-hander managed to work through five full innings despite surrendering five earned runs on six hits, two of which were home runs, and four walks to go along with four strike outs as well.

One thing that helped Eovaldi make it through five innings was the double-play ball, as he only retired four of the first seven Blue Jays hitters he faced with the help of his infield turning a pair of DP’s behind him.

The top half of the third is where things started to take a turn for the worst, however, with Toronto plating all five runs they scored off Eovaldi in a span of a few minutes thanks to a three-run home run from Justin Smoak and a two-run homer from Rowdy Tellez.

After fanning Danny Jansen to end that disaster of an inning though, the 29-year-old hurler induced two more twin killings before his evening came to an end following a scoreless fifth frame.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (51 strikes), Eovaldi threw his four-seam fastball 36 times, topping out at 99.8 MPH while inducing eight swings and misses with the heater.

His next start should come against the Yankees in New York next week.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final four innings of this one, and they relatively held their own.

Heath Hembree and Colten Brewer each struck out a pair in back-to-back shutout innings in the sixth and seventh before Ryan Brasier yielded a solo home run to Freddy Galvis in an otherwise clean eighth frame.

From there, Marcus Walden worked his way around a tight situation where the Blue Jays had runners on second and third with just one out to close the door on them and keep this contest at a one-run game going into Boston’s half of the ninth. He improved to 2-0 on the season thanks to the solid effort.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez, who entered Thursday with a lifetime 3.79 in nine career outings (six starts) at Fenway Park.

Getting the scoring started for Boston in this one was JD Martinez, whose one out RBI double in the second to plate Mookie Betts would wind up being the catalyst for a three-run inning, with both Rafael Devers and Dustin Pedroia collecting their first RBI of the season as well.

That cut Toronto’s lead to two runs after they had just scored five of their own.

Fast forward to the fifth, and the Red Sox would cut that deficit down to one run thanks to a wild pitch from Sanchez that allowed Xander Bogaerts to easily score from third with Dustin Pedroia at the plate.

Two innings later, Mitch Moreland, who is without a doubt the team’s clutchest player at the moment, came through in the big time again, as his fifth home run of the season, this one coming off Blue Jays reliever Joe Biagini, knotted this contest up at five runs a piece.

After Toronto scored what appeared to be a vital go-ahead run on that aforementioned dinger from Freddy Galvis in the eighth, the Red Sox entered their half of the ninth with three outs to work with and a 3-10 start staring them dead in the face.

With closer Ken Giles, who entered the night 34-for-34 in his last 34 save opportunities, on the mound for Toronto, Mookie Betts put the tying run on base by drawing a one out, six-pitch walk.

Just a few moments after that, Moreland was at it yet again, ripping a 389 foot double to dead center to drive in Betts all the way from first and tie this game up for the second time on the night.

Eduardo Nunez would come on to pinch-run for Moreland, and all of a sudden, the winning run was only 180 feet away.

In a bit of a tough spot, the Blue Jays decided to put JD Martinez on intentionally in hopes of turning a double play, but after Giles fell behind on Xander Bogaerts and walked him, the bases were loaded for Rafael Devers.

Entering the ninth inning with an RBI double under his belt already, Devers had the chance to send his team home with their first win since Sunday, and he did just that by bouncing the game-sealing, run-scoring single over the head of any Blue Jays infielder into shallow right field.

That allowed Nunez to calmly score from third to make it 7-6, which would go on to be the final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

In the Red Sox’ four wins this season, Mitch Moreland is 5-for-14 with two doubles, three home runs, and eight RBI. He is directly responsible for all four of those victories.

Dustin Pedroia has two hits in two games since his return from the injured list on Tuesday. He’s also looked pretty solid at second base.

Next up for the Red Sox, they welcome the 5-8 Baltimore Orioles into town for the first time this season.

Eduardo Rodriguez, who hasn’t pitched since last Thursday in Oakland, will get the ball for Boston, while right-hander David Hess will do the same for Baltimore.

Rodriguez, 26, has walked six batters in a total of eight innings of work in 2019.

Hess, meanwhile, has only made one prior start at Fenway Park in his two-year career, an outing in which he surrendered five earned runs in less than five innings pitched last May.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN.

 

 

 

 

 

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Blake Swihart Celebrates Birthday with Home Run, Three Hits as #RedSox Snap Four-Game Skid in Oakland

After going the first two nights of April without a win or even a run scored, the Red Sox broke out in style in Oakland Wednesday night, putting an end to their four-game losing streak with a clutch 6-3 victory over the Athletics.

Making his second start of the season and second consecutive start against an American League West foe in this one was Nathan Eovaldi, who entered Wednesday with three previous career starts at the Oakland Coliseum under his belt.

Tossing five full innings, the right-hander was essentially in damage control all night, limiting the A’s to three runs on four hits, four walks, and one HBP to go along with three strikeouts on the evening.

Similar to his last outing against the Mariners, Eovaldi was a bit erratic yet again, but he was able to keep the ball in the ballpark for the most part, yielding just one two-run home run to Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano in the fourth inning.

After giving up that homer to Laureano though, which made it a 3-0 game in favor of Oakland at the time, the 29-year-old settled in a bit by retiring the final six hitters he faced through the fifth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 96 (51 strikes) Eovaldi topped out at 98.8 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he turned to 35 times. His next start should come next Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen turned in yet another solid performance, as Colten Brewer, Matt Barnes, and Ryan Brasier combined to hold the A’s scoreless over the final four frames of this one.

Brewer, in his third appearance for Boston, fanned a pair over the sixth and parts of the seventh before making way for Matt Barnes with one out to get in the inning.

Barnes, who we last saw close out the Red Sox’ first win of the season last Friday, punched out the only batter he faced in the seventh before stranding a runner at third in the eighth with the help of Brock Holt.

Holt, filling in for Xander Bogaerts at shortstop, dazzled with a cross-body throw as his momentum was taking him towards third to get Laureano out at first. That kept Marcus Semien from scoring from third and thus kept this contest tied at three runs a piece headed into the ninth.

It officially goes down as a 6-3 ground out, but it was really much more than that from Holt, who did not start at shortstop during the spring.

After Boston jumped out to a three-run lead of their own in their half of the ninth, in came Ryan Brasier to shut the door on the A’s in the bottom half of the frame.

Making his third appearance out of the bullpen this season, the 31-year-old hurler worked his way around a leadoff HBP to sit down the final three hitters of the night, notching his first career save in the process.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Athletics right-hander Marco Estrada to start things out.

An old friend from his days with the Toronto Blue Jays, the seasoned Estrada held the Boston bats in check up until the fifth.

With their scoreless-innings streak reaching 22, Blake Swihart broke the club’s offensive slump by launching his first home run of the season with two outs in the fifth.

A 415 foot shot to center field to put his team on the board for the first time this month, that is quite a way to celebrate a 27th birthday.

An inning later, a Mookie Betts leadoff walk would ultimately spell the end for Estrada, who was pulled after surrendering another free pass to JD Martinez to load the bases for Boston with just one out in the sixth.

With A’s reliever Ryan Buchter now in, Mitch Moreland did not waste any time with a pitcher he had only faced off against once before Wednesday, as he squared up on a first pitch fastball and ripped a double down the right field line.

That allowed Betts and Rafael Devers to score from second and third, and just like that, the Red Sox were back in it.

Fast forward all the way to the ninth, with things still tied and another old friend in Fernando Rodney now on the mound for Oakland, Swihart came to the plate having already collected two hits.

With just one out to work with, the Red Sox backstop singled on a ground ball to right, and Jackie Bradley Jr. followed that up by doing the same.

A wild pitch from Rodney allowed the pair of runners to advance to second and third, meaning the go-ahead run was only 90 feet away from scoring.

Mookie Betts, who was at the plate for that wild pitch, made the A’s pay for their mistake by turning a grounder that just so happened to deflect off the third base bag into a game-winning two-run double.

If that ball was hit to Matt Chapman, the inning presumably ends without a Red Sox crossing the plate.

Instead, the 2018 AL MVP came through big time, and Andrew Benintendi showed some signs of life by driving in Betts from second on an RBI triple to make it a 6-3 contest, which would go on to be the final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

Happy belated 27th birthday to Blake Swihart!

JD Martinez has started his second season in Boston with a seven-game hitting streak. He is 10/28 with two home runs and seven RBI to kick off the 2019 campaign.

According to ESPN, the Red Sox bullpen has posted a 2.42 ERA over their first 26 innings of work. That is the fifth-best mark in all of baseball.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to depart from the Bay Area with a series-split against the A’s in hand.

It will be a pitching matchup featuring a pair of left-handers for the series finale, as Eduardo Rodriguez and Brett Anderson are slated to start for their respective sides.

Rodriguez (0-1, 10.38 ERA), owns a 1.69 ERA in two career starts and 16 total innings of work at the Oakland Coliseum.

Anderson (1-0, 0.00 ERA), meanwhile, owns a lifetime 3.48 ERA over 11 career starts against the Red Sox.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 3:37 PM EDT on this getaway day.

Mitch Moreland Comes Through with Go-Ahead, Pinch-Hit Three-Run Home Run as #RedSox Rally to Top Mariners

After dropping their first game of the season on Thursday night, the Red Sox, like they did last year, bounced back with a come from behind 7-6 victory over the Seattle Mariners, marking their first win of 2019.

Making his first start of the 2019 season in this one was Nathan Eovaldi, who had only ever pitched at T-Mobile Field once before in his career.

Following up a performance in which Chris Sale surrendered seven runs and three home runs to Seattle on Opening Day, Eovaldi himself struggled on Friday.

Working the first five innings, the right-hander allowed six runs, all earned, on eight hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts. Similarly to Sale, three of those Seattle hits were home runs, courtesy of Mallex Smith and Domingo Santana in the first, and Omar Narvaez in the second.

It wasn’t just the home runs that were concerning though, it was the fact that Mariners hitters were making really solid contact off of Eovaldi’s pitches.

According to Statcast, the 29-year-old hurler gave up hits that had a registered exit velocity of 108.4 MPH, 107.7 MPH, 106 MPH, and 105.9 MPH.

If there is a positive to be taken away from this outing, it’s that Eovaldi’s arsenal is still as nasty as ever, he retired the final three hitters he faced in order in the fifth, and Jackie Bradley Jr. defensive highlights are back.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (63 strikes) and a top velocity of 99.5 MPH with his four-seamer, Eovaldi’s next start should come against the Oakland Athletics next Thursday.

In relief of Eovaldi, the Red Sox bullpen was actually nearly perfect, with Colten Brewer, Brandon Workman, Brian Johnson, and Matt Barnes combining to hold the Mariners scoreless on just two walks over the final four innings on Friday.

Brewer, in his official Red Sox debut, worked his way around those two walks by getting Jay Bruce to ground out to second to end the sixth.

Workman retired the side in order in the seventh, while Johnson, appearing in a game for the second consecutive night, struck out the side in the eighth. He was also credited with Boston’s first winning decision of the 2019 season.

And finally in the ninth, after his team had just gone up by one run, in came Matt Barnes, Red Sox closer.

Barnes, in his fourth full big league season now, did not need to over-exert himself in his first relief appearance of 2019, as he sat down the Mariners in 1-2-3 fashion to earn his first save since 2017.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Mariners left-hander Yusei Kikuchi to start things out on Friday.

In his first season in the majors after coming over from Japan last offseason, Kikuchi did a solid job of holding the Boston bats in check in his first start in Seattle.

Beginning in the second inning, Xander Bogaerts provided the Red Sox with their first run of the evening by mashing his first home run of the year. He’s coming off a 2018 season in which he belted a career-best 23 of those.

Fast forward to the fifth, after the Mariners had jumped out to a 6-1 lead, and it looked like a promising start to the inning with both Rafael Devers and Sam Travis reaching base with no outs, but just one run would manage to score on a GIDP off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. with Devers coming in from third. 6-2 Seattle.

That deficit for the Red Sox would shrink a bit an inning later though, as JD Martinez, like Bogaerts, also delivered with his first homer of the season, a two out 428 foot shot to dead center to make it a 6-3 contest.

In the eighth, with reliever Zac Rosscup now in the game for Seattle, a Christian Vazquez leadoff home run probably should have been the catalyst of a mult-run Red Sox rally.

Instead, after Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and Xander Bogaerts all reached base to load the bases and the Mariners swapped out Rosscup for Cory Gearrin, Eduardo Nunez fell short by hitting into an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play.

A bizarre play to say the least, given the fact that Nunez just stopped and watch the play transpire rather than run to first base after avoiding the tag from Gearrin.

It looked as if it was going to be all gloom and doom from there, and the Red Sox were about to start a season 0-2 for the first time since 2012

But, in similar fashion to what they did in 2018, they rallied back in a tremendous way in their half of the ninth.

With new Mariners closer Hunter Strickland, a former Red Sox draft pick, in to protect a two-run lead, Rafael Devers got the late rally started with a line drive double to the opposite field.

Blake Swihart, who came on to pinch-hit for Sam Travis, unintentionally advanced Devers to third thanks to a passed ball and was awarded first after taking a slider from Strickland off his left toe.

Coming to the plate with the opportunity to make it a one-run game at the very least, Bradley Jr. was unable to score Devers, as the young third baseman was thrown out trying to score on a soft grounder to first.

Down to their final two outs with runners at first and second, in came another key substitution in Mitch Moreland, pinch-hitting for Christian Vazquez.

Similarly enough to what he did for the Red Sox coming off the bench in last year’s World Series, Moreland came through in the clutch yet again, delivering big time with the go-ahead three-run bomb to right field.

It was pretty evident that Strickland wasn’t exactly himself in this one, and that home run, which registered an exit velocity of 114 MPH, was quite evident of that.

Moreland’s first long ball of 2019 put the Red Sox up 7-6, and that would go on to be the final score in Boston’s first win of the season.

Some notes from this win:

As I mentioned earlier, the Red Sox hadn’t started a season 0-2 since 2012, and some guys seemed to be aware of that following Friday’s win.

Including the postseason, the Red Sox are 12-0 in games when Christian Vazquez hits a home run.

The Brock Holt/JD Martinez bromance is back in our lives.

More from Holt:

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to improve to 2-1 on the young season later Saturday night.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will be getting the ball for the first time in 2019 for Boston, while right-hander Mike Leake will do the same for Seattle.

Rodriguez, 25, owns a 3.57 ERA over 17.2 innings pitched in three career starts at T-Mobile Field.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 9:10 PM EDT on NESN.

Chris Sale Gets Lit up for Seven Runs as #RedSox Get Blown out by Mariners on Opening Day

Exactly five months after clinching their ninth World Series title in franchise history, the Red Sox set out on the journey to defend that crown, starting with an Opening Day showdown against the Seattle Mariners at the newly-minted T-Mobile Park out in the Pacific Northwest.

Getting the start for Boston in this one, as announced last week, was none other than ace left-hander Chris Sale.

The new $145 million man, who also recorded the last out of that 2018 World Series against the Dodgers, did not have himself an Opening Day to remember in this one.

Working just the first three innings on Thursday, Sale surrendered seven earned runs on six hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with four strikeouts on the night. Three of those Mariners hits were home runs, with a pair coming from infielder Tim Beckham and the other coming from Edwin Encarnacion.

Control was clearly an issue for Sale in his first meaningful start of 2019, and according to Statcast, the 29-year-old failed to induce one swing and miss when throwing his four-seam fastball, which he went to 25 times.

Also using Statcast, Sale’s fastball topped out at 94.5 MPH in the first inning. His average fastball velocity on the night was 92.3 MPH, which incrementally decreased from inning to inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 76 (45 strikes), Sale’s next start should come against the Oakland Athletics next Wednesday. Perhaps with some more innings under his belt after a fairly light spring, we’ll see a more improved Sale in his next time out.

In relief of Sale, Hector Velazquez. Heath Hembree, Tyler Thornburg, and Brian Johnson combined to give up five more runs, four of which were earned, on six hits, two walks, one HBP, and five strikeouts over the final five frames on Thursday.

Velazquez, who figures to take on a long-relief/spot start role this season, was responsible for three of those runs, with one of them coming on a Ryon Healy fifth inning solo homer.

After loading the bases with one out in the sixth, Heath Hembree would enter his first contest of 2019 to try and escape the jam, but would give up an additional pair of runs on a bases-loaded walk and Eduardo Nunez fielding error. Both runs (one earned) were charged to Velazquez.

From there, Tyler Thornburg’s 2019 debut didn’t go quite as planned, as the ex-Brewer allowed two more Mariners runs to score while serving up Seattle’s fifth home run of the evening courtesy of Domingo Santana.

And finally, Brian Johnson, who should be starting Tuesday in Oakland if the Red Sox remain committed to a six-man rotation, had the best outing of any Boston reliever, limiting Seattle to just one base runner in a scoreless eighth inning of work.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales to start things out in Seattle’s home opener.

Entering Thursday having already made an official start last week in Tokyo, Gonzales looked fairly shaky early against the defending World Series champions.

In fact, three straight one out first inning hits from Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, and JD Martinez resulted in Boston’s first run of the season to cross the plate on an RBI single from Martinez.

Just an inning later, a Mariners E3 that allowed Eduardo Nunez to reach first to leadoff the second allowed another Red Sox run to score, this one coming after Nunez had advanced to third and Andrew Benintendi had driven him in with an RBI sacrifice fly to shallow left field.

So, with an early 2-0 lead, things were looking pretty good for the Red Sox, until they weren’t, because Gonzales got into a bit of a groove from the beginning of the third inning up until the sixth.

There, Nunez was at it again, this time leading the inning off with a line drive double.

After a Jackie Bradley Jr. strikeout and an apparent balk committed by Gonzales, Christian Vazquez came through with his first RBI of 2019 by pulling a double to left field, allowing Nunez to score.

That run-scoring two-bagger would mark the end of the night for Gonzales, who was replaced in favor of fellow southpaw and ex-Red Sox hurler Roenis Elias.

Matched up against Benintendi in his first action of the game, Benintendi won the lefty-on-lefty matchup, pulling an RBI single to right to drive in Vazquez.

At the time, that cut Seattle’s lead to four runs, but as the final score of 12-4 indicates, the Mariners would go on a little run of their own to put this one out of reach for the Red Sox in their first loss of the 2019 season.

Some notes from this loss:

The seven runs given up by Chris Sale are tied for the most he has given up in a Red Sox uniform.

Per WEEI’s Evan Drellich, “the 2018 Red Sox allowed 12 runs or more only three times. The season high for runs allowed was 13.”

From the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, when speaking with Red Sox manager Alex Cora:

An ugly loss to be sure, but let’s not forget how Opening Day last year went with that blown lead in Tampa Bay.

Compared to other teams, this Red Sox club had an atypical spring coming off a 2018 in which they played deep into October. It could take some time until we see this team at their full capacity. That’s what I’m trying to say.

Anyway, next up for the Red Sox, it will be a starting pitching matchup featuring right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and rookie left-hander Yusei Kikuchi on Friday

Eovaldi, entering his first full season with Boston, has only pitched at T-Mobile Field once before in his seven-year career.

For Seattle, Kikuchi allowed two runs (one earned) over 4 2/3 innings in his first career start against the Oakland Athletics last week in Tokyo.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 10:10 PM EDT on NESN. Time to put that first win on the board.

#RedSox Manager Alex Cora Announces Opening Day Starting Lineup, Featuring Andrew Benintendi Leading off and Christian Vazquez Catching Chris Sale

With Opening Day just mere hours away, Red Sox manager Alex Cora on Wednesday announced the starting lineup for his team’s first game of the 2019 season against the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.

  1. Benintendi, LF
  2. Betts, RF
  3. Devers, 3B
  4. Martinez, DH
  5. Bogaerts, SS
  6. Moreland, 1B
  7. Nunez, 2B
  8. Bradley Jr., CF
  9. Vazquez, C
    Sale, SP

To nobody’s surprise, Andrew Benintendi will be serving as Boston’s leadoff man for the majority of the season, as announced by Cora himself last December.

In 97 career plate appearances batting leadoff for Boston, the 24-year-old outfielder, who is entering his third full big league season, is slashing .322/.381/.598 with seven doubles, one triple, five home runs, and 15 RBI.

After Benintendi, Mookie Betts will be sliding into the two-hole, which was also expected.

What may not have been expected is what comes next, with third baseman Rafael Devers getting the chance to bat in between Betts and JD Martinez.

According to Cora, the third spot in Boston’s lineup will not be reserved for one specific hitter over the course of the season, with Devers, Mitch Moreland, and Steve Pearce also in the mix depending on pitching matchups. But, with Pearce currently on the injured list back in Fort Myers, it will go to the young corner infielder for Opening Day.

“Steve is not here and (Devers) did a good job,” Cora said to reporters on Wednesday afternoon. “So go get ‘em, kid.”

Devers, 22, made his major league debut in Seattle back in July of 2017.

From there, as it reads above, we have Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Mitch Moreland making up a pretty solid 4-5-6 portion of the lineup

And to round it off, it will go Eduardo Nunez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Christian Vazquez, who of course will be catching Chris Sale in Game 1 of 162 on Thursday.

Per Baseball Reference, Sale owns a 3.40 ERA and .643 OPS against in 53 total innings pitched over 11 outings with Vazquez behind the plate.

He had been mostly working with Sandy Leon in his first three seasons with the Red Sox, but with Leon now off Boston’s 40-man roster, it will be interesting to see how the left-hander performs with Vazquez, or even Blake Swihart, serving as his catcher.

Whether or not Vazquez will be Sale’s personal catcher has yet to be revealed, but I doubt that.

Anyway, it looks like I’m going to run out of time to post a huge 2019 preview blog, but first pitch against the Mariners is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT Thursday on ESPN. Get excited.

 

Four Home Runs Power #RedSox to 10-6 Victory over Twins

The Red Sox improved to 11-15-1 in Grapefruit League play on Friday evening following a 10-6 triumph over the Minnesota Twins down the road at Hammond Stadium. This victory marked the  team’s third in a row as well as the final installment of the 2019 Chairman’s Cup.

Initially slated to start for Boston Friday was Chris Sale, but with him agreeing to a five-year, $145 million contract extension in the afternoon and all, the left-hander was scratched in favor of another southpaw in Dan Runzler.

Runzler, 33, recorded the first five outs of this one, surrendering two runs on zero hits and a pair of walks to go along with three strikeouts in his brief outing.

It looked as though Runzler was going to be able to escape the second by following up two consecutive walks with two consecutive strikeouts, but was pulled for Trevor Kelley, who allowed Minnesota’s first two runs of the night to score on a Max Kepler RBI single.

From the middle of the third inning on, Ryan Brasier, Brandon Workman, Colten Brewer, Jenryy Mejia, Andrew Schwaab, Adam Lau, Hunter Smith, and Daniel McGrath combined to give up four Twins runs on 10 hits, three walks, and eight strikeouts over the final seven frames of this one.

Brasier, Workman, and Brewer all appear to be locks to make Boston’s Opening Day roster at this point. Together, they scattered just two hits and fanned five from the third until the conclusion of the fifth.

Mejia, meanwhile, did not do a great job of convincing anyone he deserves a spot in the Red Sox bullpen to start the season, as he allowed two more Minnesota runs to cross the plate on three hits in a rough sixth inning.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, who figures to serve as the club’s number two starter behind Jose Berrios to start the season.

Despite that reputation, the Boston Bats jumped on Gibson right from the get go, as Andrew Benintendi led things off with a laser of a first inning solo home on the very first pitch he saw.

Three at-bats without an out later, Xander Bogaerts unloaded the bases on a fly ball RBI single to right field to score Eduardo Nunez from third.

After Mitch Moreland struck out swinging, Jackie Bradley Jr. got his hot night at the plate started right with another run-scoring single to plate Rafael Devers from third and give his team an early 3-0 advantage.

Two innings later, following a two-run bottom half of the second for Minnesota, JD Martinez and Bogaerts would wind up being the catalysts for a five-run inning for the Red Sox with back-to-back singles to lead things off.

Following a GIDP off the bat of Moreland, Bradley Jr. would give Boston some breathing room by launching his third home run of the spring to make it a 5-2 contest.

That homer would lead to a Twins pitching change and be followed up by two more long balls from Christian Vazquez (1) and Gorkys Hernandez (2) in consecutive order.

But the third inning rally was not yet done. Not before Rafael Devers drove in Aneury Tavarez from third on an RBI single to give the Red Sox a commanding 8-2 lead.

In total, the Red Sox tallied eight runs on 13 hits before even reaching the midway point of the third inning. Not too shabby.

Going back to the game, Eduardo Nunez and Mike Miller were responsible for the final two runs of Boston’s eventful night, with Nunez collecting his RBI in the fifth and Miller doing the same in the eighth to make it a 10-4 game at that point.

The Twins would try their best to make things interesting in their half of the ninth by pushing across another pair of runs, but the Red Sox would hold on to take this one by a final score of 10-6.

Some notes from this win:

Xander Bogaerts had a scary collision with Twins outfielder Byron Buxton in between third and home during a rundown in the second inning, with his left shoulder taking the brunt of the hit.

“I didn’t want to look down. I don’t know how it looks,” Bogaerts said Friday. “It just didn’t feel right. I didn’t want to look. As I went down, I let one of the trainers take a look. It looked fine. So, I was, ‘All right, lets keep going.”

Bogaerts remained in the game until the fifth inning. Saturday morning will more than likely provide a better indication on how the 26-year-old is feeling with Opening Day looming.

Rafael Devers update: now slashing .404/.417/.596 with one home run and seven RBI through 47 spring at-bats.

According to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Brandon Workman will pitch once again on Saturday.

Speaking of Saturday, next up for the Red Sox, they’ll wrap up their 2019 Grapefruit League campaign by hosting a split Pittsburgh Pirates squad at JetBlue Park.

Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to start for Pittsburgh, while fellow righty Nathan Eovaldi will be doing the same in his final start before his first full season with Boston begins.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Last game before heading out to Arizona to play the Chicago Cubs in a pair of exhibition games.

Dustin Pedroia Collects Two Hits, One RBI as #RedSox Cruise past Rays in Shutout Fashion

The Red Sox improved to 10-15-1 in Grapefruit League play on Thursday evening following an 8-0 shutout victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in their first and only contest under the lights at JetBlue Park this spring.

Making his fifth appearance (fourth start) of the spring in this one was Hector Velazquez.

Working the first two innings, the hybrid right-hander held Tampa Bay scoreless while scattering just two hits and zero walks to go along with zero strikeouts.

In total, Velazquez faced eight Rays hitters and retired six of them to lower his Grapefruit League ERA to 7.84.

From the top of the third inning on, Darwinzon Hernandez, Matt Barnes, Tyler Thornburg, Colten Brewer, Marcus Walden, and Durbin Feltman combined to toss seven frames of shutout ball on a pair of hits, six walks, and 12 punch outs on the night.

Hernandez, responsible for the third, tip-toed his way around three free passes and avoided any damage by getting Kevin Kiermaier to ground out to Dustin Pedroia to retire the side.

Matt Barnes, meanwhile, picked up where he left off against the Twins on Monday by fanning three straight Rays in order in a sharp fourth inning of work.

And to wrap this win up, Feltman struck out one in a fairly simple 1-2-3 top of the ninth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against right-hander Hunter Wood to start things off.

Rafael Devers, batting third, was the offensive catalyst in this one, as his GIDP with Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts on the corners in the first plated Boston’s first run of the night.

Fast forward to the third, and Devers was at it again, driving in Jackie Bradley Jr. and Blake Swihart on a hard-hit two-run triple to right field off Rays reliever Adam Kolarek.

One pitching change that saw ex-Athletics hurler Emilio Pagan take over later, JD Martinez made it a 4-0 game with a scorcher of an RBI double off the Fenway South Green Monster.

The two-time 2018 Silver Slugger Award winner would come around to score on a Joey Wendle fielding error off a ground ball from Brock Holt, who would score himself on a Dustin Pedroia RBI base knock. And just like that, it was 6-0 Boston.

Three innings later, back-to-back singles from Pedroia and Bradley Jr. in the sixth would result in Boston’s final two runs of the evening crossing the plate on a two-run double off the bat of prospect Ryan Fitzgerald to make it an 8-0 game, which would go on to be the final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

In his first game since it was revealed that he would not be ready for Opening Day, Pedroia went 2/3 with his first RBI of the spring on Thursday.

Through 43 plate appearances this spring, Devers is slashing .395/.409/.605 with one home run, two doubles, and six RBI.

Brewer, who was responsible for the sixth, also struck out the side in order in his lone frame of relief.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll head down the road to face the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium in the final installment of the 2019 Chairman’s Cup.

2019 Opening Day starter Chris Sale is set to toe the rubber for Boston, while right-hander Kyle Gibson will do the same for Minnesota.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 6:05 PM EDT on NESN.

Last Friday without meaningful baseball for the next seven months. That’s what I like to see.