RECAP: Chris Sale Deals Against Former Team but #RedSox Get Shutout in Series Opener.

After taking two out of the three from the Detroit Tigers this past week, the Red Sox welcomed another AL Central opponent in the Chicago White Sox to town for a three game weekend set on Friday. In a pitching matchup between Dylan Covey for the White Sox and Chris Sale for the Red Sox, neither teams lineups could do much last night, as the two sides combined for one total run.

In his 14th start of the season, Sale put together a fantastic performance against his former club. Having surrendered 10 earned runs in his last 10.1 innings pitched in his last two starts, the lefty limited the White Sox to just one run in eight innings pitched last night.

Over those eight innings, Sale scattered seven hits and one walk while fanning 10 on 109 pitches, 79 of which went for strikes.

Fastball velocity has been a topic of conversation for Sale this season, but he was consistently throwing heat. Out of those 109 pitches mentioned above, 11 were clocked in at 99 MPH or higher, with the fastest coming in at 100.3 MPH on the hurler’s 69th pitch of the night in the fifth. I don’t know if the radar gun at Fenway was acting up a bit, but seeing Sale consistently reach 95+ MPH on Friday was certainly impressive stuff.

With all that said, Sale did make some mistakes last night, and the most costly of them came in the seventh. On the first pitch of the inning, White Sox catcher Kevin Smith lined a softly hit ground-rule double just in between Brock Holt and the right field wall to put a runner at second with no outs.

Two batters later, after Smith had advanced to third on a Yoan Moncada groundout, Trayce Thompson drove in the go-ahead run on a line drive single to left that was just out of Xander Bogaerts’ reach. With Smith scoring from third on the play, the only run of the night crossed the plate. Can’t put the blame on Sale for that one, more bad luck than anything.

Other than that though, Sale escaped the seventh thanks to Sandy Leon picking off Thompson at second base.

I found it a bit surprising to see him come back out for the eight, but the Florida native ended his night on a positive note by retiring the side in order in the eighth. A performance worthy of a win, but the Red Sox lineup definitely let Sale down.

Speaking of the Red Sox lineup, they managed to reach base FOUR times against a White Sox with one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball. Credit to starter Dylan Covey though, he, like Sale, was also fantastic last night.

Andrew Benintendi led off things in the first with a double to left field that almost went for a solo homer, but fell just short. Brock Holt followed that up by drawing a seven pitch walk to put runners on first and second with no outs, but nothing came of it.

Later in the fifth, a one out double off the bat of Rafael Devers created another scoring chance for the Red Sox, but nothing came of it with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Blake Swihart both striking out to end the inning.

Two innings later, a similar situation presented itself when the Red Sox chased Covey out of the game and had runners on first and second with one out after Mitch Moreland reached on a force out at second and Eduardo Nunez reached on an E5. Unfortunately, White Sox reliever Jace Fry struck out Rafael Devers and Bradley Jr. back to back and that was that.

Some notes from this one:

The Red Sox were without JD Martinez last night due to back spasms. If you remember, Martinez departed Thursday’s game against the Tigers late because of the same issue. Alex Cora said he was looking to give the Red Sox outfielder a day off anyway, and he should be back in the lineup this afternoon.

Making his second career start against the team he started his career with, Chris Sale now owns a  4.15 ERA in 13 innings pitched against the White Sox.

With the Yankees picking up a win against the New York Mets last night, the Red Sox now trail them by half a game in the American League East standings.

In the middle game of this series, it will be a pitching matchup featuring two southpaws in Carlos Rodon for the White Sox and David Price for the Red Sox. For Rodon, today will mark his first start of the season after he was placed on the 60-day disabled list on April 12th. And for Price, well, the Red Sox are undefeated in his last five starts, so that should leave you feeling pretty confident going into this afternoon’s contest. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM.

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RECAP: Jalen Beeks Struggles in Big League Debut as #RedSox Can’t Complete Sweep of Tigers.

On Tuesday, the Red Sox announced that pitching prospect Jalen Beeks would make his major league debut against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. Beeks, 24, has been in the Red Sox organization since he was drafted in the 12th round of the 2014 draft. In 10 starts this season with Triple A Pawtucket, Beeks owns a 2.56 in 56.1 innings pitched. He was named the organizations minor league pitcher of the year last season and there was plenty of hype going into his first start with the Red Sox last night.

With Blake Swihart catching him, the rookie out of Arkansas introduced himself by striking out the first batter he faced in JaCoby Jones on five pitches. After that, five of the next seven batters Beeks faced reached base. A Nick Castellanos single, a Miguel Cabrera walk, a Jeimer Candelario RBI double, a John Hicks two RBI single, a Leonys Martin two run home run, and all of a sudden, the Tigers were up by five runs early. Not the best way to kick off your MLB career, but Beeks did settle down a bit.

From the second to the fourth, the lefty held the Tigers to just one run on three hits and two walks. The fourth and final inning of Beeks’ night was certainly the most impressive, as he retired Castellanos, Cabrera, and Victor Martinez in order to conclude his debut.

Finishing with four strikeouts and 88 total pitches (57 strikes), the former Razorback’s fastball topped out at 93 MPH in the first inning. Not known for his velocity, command was going to be a key part of Beeks’ night, but he left a few pitches over the plate and that came back to hurt him.

Despite the early struggles, the last three innings of Beeks’ debut were certainly encouraging. He will be sent back down to Pawtucket today, but I would not be surprised if we were to see the 24-year-old hurler make a spot start again this season.

In relief of Beeks, Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez did a decent enough job of keeping the Red Sox within striking distance over the last five innings.

Johnson surrendered just one run on three hits while fanning five in four innings of work and Velazquez struck out two in a scoreless ninth.

On the other side of things, Alex Cora went with a different looking lineup against Matt Boyd and the Detroit Tigers last night. For instance, Sam Travis was starting left, JD Martinez in right, Christian Vazquez at DH, and the most shocking, Blake Swihart starting behind the plate. WOW.

As he has done so often recently, Andrew Benintendi mashed his fourth home run in five games to lead things off in the first. 402 feet, 107 MPH off the bat.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Tigers starter Matt Boyd held the lineup in check last night. They had a golden opportunity to cut into Detroit’s lead after loading the bases with two outs in the second, but Benintendi grounded into an inning ending double play.

From that point on, Boyd surrendered one more run in the fifth on a Xander Bogaerts RBI groundout that scored Blake Swihart from third before departing with one out in the bottom of the seventh.

Against the Tigers bullpen, things did not fare much better for the Red Sox as they did against Boyd. Former Red Sox reliever Alex Wilson got out of the seventh unscathed, Joe Jiminez loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but escaped by striking out Sam Travis and Rafael Devers back to back, and Tigers closer Shane Greene wrapped things up by tossing a scoreless ninth to prevent the sweep.

Some notes from this one:

In this series against Detroit, Andrew Benintendi went 5/15 with 2 HR and 3 RBI in the leadoff spot.

JD Martinez exited this game in the eighth inning with back tightness that has been bothering him since the series in Houston. Despite that discomfort, Martinez expects to be back in the lineup later tonight.

Having taken two out of three from the Tigers, the Red Sox welcome another American League Central foe in the Chicago White Sox for a three game weekend set. At 20-40 on the season, they will be sending righty Dylan Covey (2.82 ERA in 22.1 IP) to the mound for the opener. He will be matched up against Chris Sale (3.00 ERA in 81 IP). Having given up 10 earned runs in his last two starts, Sale will have the opportunity to pick things back up again against one of the worst offensive teams in the American League.

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

RECAP: Christian Vazquez Finishes Triple Shy of Cycle as #RedSox Pick up 7-1 Win over Tigers.

Coming off a night in which they shutout the Detroit Tigers in the series opener on Tuesday, the Red Sox carried that over by holding Detroit to just one run on seven hits last night.

Making his 12th start of the season on Wednesday, the Red Sox improved to 11-1 whenever Rodriguez takes the mound. In 5.2 innings of one run ball, the lefty scattered five hits and one walk while striking out five to pick up his seventh winning decision on the year.

There were not many high stress situations for Rodriguez in this one. Pitch count was a bit of an issue, as it has been in his previous starts, but he was still effective pitching into the sixth inning. The only run he surrendered came in the top of the second on back to back two out hits from the Tigers 7-8 hitters. Other than that, solid night for the 25-year-old hurler, just wish he could pitch deeper into games.

Heading into the sixth, Rodriguez had the chance to complete the inning. A las, with two outs in the inning and a runner at first, the native of Venezuela could not retire Leonys Martin, and that single concluded his night.

Finishing with 107 pitches, Heath Hembree took over for Rodriguez with runners on first and second and one out in the inning. Despite walking the first batter he saw in JaCoby Jones on four pitches to load the bases, Hembree recovered by retiring the only other batter he faced in Jose Iglesias on two pitches to get out of the sixth.

Speaking of bases loaded situations for the Tigers, Matt Barnes did the same thing after recording the first two outs of the seventh. The righty needed 36 pitches in total, but he was able to get out of the jam by retiring Tigers catcher James McCann on seven pitches, thus extending his scoreless inning streak to 12.

From the conclusion of the seventh inning on, the Red Sox bullpen had a much better time of things. Brandon Workman and Bobby Poyner combined to toss two scoreless innings on the way to a convincing 7-1 win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup feasted on Tigers pitching for the second straight night. They put up six runs in the opener and they put up seven on Wednesday.

Facing off against career reliever turned starter in Blaine Hardy for Detroit, the Red Sox were held scoreless in the first two innings.

Going into the bottom of third trailing by one, Rafael Devers led things off by reaching first on an infield single that easily could have been an out if not for a misplay from Miguel Cabrera. That was followed by an RBI double from Christian Vazquez and this thing was tied.

After Jackie Bradley Jr. reached first on a HBP to put runners on first and third, Andrew Benintendi drove both of them in on his 16th double of the season.

Xander Bogaerts then drove Benintendi in on an RBI double of his own and that put the Red Sox up 4-1 after three.

Fast forward to the fifth, with Hardy still on the mound for the Tigers, and Andrew Benintendi built on his great night at the plate by launching his 10th home run of the year. 5-1.

Two innings later, Christian Vazquez greeted new Tigers pitcher Buck Farmer by mashing his second home run in five days on the first pitch he saw in the at bat.

372 feet with a 95 MPH exit velo. on that solo shot that put the Red Sox up 6-1 in the seventh.

And in the ninth, making the most of his opportunities, recently called up Sam Travis knocked in his teams seventh and final run of the night on a one out RBI single. In five at bats since being recalled from Triple A Pawtucket on June 2nd, Travis has driven in three runs.

Some other notes from this win:

In his last three starts now, Eduardo Rodriguez has pitched at least into the sixth inning while giving up two or fewer runs. His ERA on the season now sits at 3.88.

Andrew Benintendi has hit three home runs this month. In April, he only hit one. Benintendi now ranks 7th in the American League with a .922 OPS.

After going 3-for-4 at the plate last night, Xander Bogaerts owns a .476 OBP in the month of June.

With two hits last night, Rafael Devers recorded his first multi-hit game since May 28th against the Blue Jays.

Christian Vazquez needed just a triple to complete the cycle last night. He is 4/10 over his last three games and owns a 1.100 OPS this month.

Jackie Bradley Jr. was hit by a pitch twice last night, once in the third and once in the eighth, with two different pitchers on the mound for the Tigers.

Having already picked up the series win, the Red Sox will look to rookie hurler Jalen Beeks for the sweep later tonight. Beeks, a lefty, will be making his Major League debut, and he will be matched up against Tigers lefty Matthew Boyd. Bobby Poyner will be optioned to Pawtucket in a corresponding roster move. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM. Should be an entertaining one. Happy Jalen Beeks Day.

RECAP: Steven Wright Tosses Seven Scoreless Innings in First Start of Season as #RedSox Shutout Tigers.

Since he was activated from the restricted list on May 14th, Steven Wright has shined out of the Red Sox bullpen. In six appearances, he pitched his way to a 2.25 ERA while holding opponents to a .167 batting average in 16 innings, the last nine of those all being scoreless.

With those numbers in mind and wanting to get his other starters an extra day of rest, Alex Cora named Wright the starting pitcher for last night’s game against the Tigers last week.

Before the game even started on Tuesday, Drew Pomeranz was placed on the 10-day disabled list with left bicep tendonitis. Since the lefty has struggled as of late and Wright has mostly succeeded, there has been much debate amongst Red Sox fans revolving around the opinion that Wright should take Pomeranz’s spot in the rotation. Well, the knucleballer got his chance to prove himself last night and that he did.

In seven full innings, Wright held the Tigers scoreless while scattering two hits and three walks with six strikeouts along the way. On a rainy and overcast night at Fenway, Wright did a solid job controlling his number one pitch. The first inning was a bit rocky with the first three batters in the Tigers order reaching base and all, but with some help from a great relay throw from Xander Bogaerts to Christian Vazquez to get Leonys Martin out at home, the righty was able to get out of the inning unscathed.

 


From the end of the first on, Wright limited the Tigers to two base runners in six innings on a walk in the second and a single in the third.

I get that it was just the 29-33 Detroit Tigers Wright was facing, but regardless of opponent, he has not given up a single run in his last 16 innings pitched. That is impressive and certainly worthy of another start with Drew Pomeranz hitting the disabled list.

Finishing with an efficient 96 pitches (57 strikes) on the night, I would hope Wright will start again against the Baltimore Orioles next week.

In relief of the knuckleballer, the Red Sox bullpen finished the shutout he started. Hector Velazquez, another converted reliever many feel deserves a shot in the rotation, and Brandon Workman, who had been the corresponding roster move for Pomeranz yesterday, both tossed scoreless innings to wrap this thing up.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup feasted on an inferior Tigers pitching staff last night.

Facing off against another righty in Artie Lewicki, a rookie, JD Martinez got the scoring started for the Red Sox right away in the bottom of the first. On a 3-2 count, Martinez launched a 91 MPH fastball from Lewicki and sent it 431 feet off a light tower in left field. Two-run moon shot.

Speaking of 3-2 counts, the Red Sox had to have loaded the bases at least five times last night. In fact, they sent eight batters to the plate in the fourth, loaded the bases twice, and came away with two runs. The first coming on an Eduardo Nunez RBI single and the second coming after Mitch Moreland scored on a Rafael Devers double play with the bases loaded.

The fourth ended up being Lewicki’s last frame of work after he walked Jackie Bradley Jr. to reload the bases again. He was replaced by Tigers reliever Warwick Saupold, an Australian, who has a great name for baseball, in my opinion.

Unfortunately for Saupold, he was not much better than Lewicki, and he led the fifth inning off by serving up a 401 foot opposite field solo shot to Xander Bogaerts. His ninth big fly of the season.

Three batters later, after the bases were reloaded for the Red Sox again, Brock Holt drove in his teams final run of the night on an RBI groundout to second that allowed JD Martinez to score from third. All and all, a pretty stress free night.

Some notes from this win:

JD Martinez became the first player in baseball to reach 20 home runs this season. In total, he was responsible for three of the six hardest hit balls last night, all of which had an exit velocity north of 104 MPH.

With two hits last night, Eduardo Nunez has extended his hitting streak to six games now. In the month of June, the infielder is slashing .438/.471/.438 over his last 16 at bats.

In 44 games and 174 at bats this season, Xander Bogaerts has hit nine home runs. In 148 games and 571 at bats last season, the shortstop hit 10 home runs.

With the series opening win picked up, the Red Sox will be sending Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound tonight looking to notch the series win. He will be matched up against Tigers lefty Blaine Hardy. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM.

Also, because of that Drew Pomeranz injury, the Red Sox will be calling up pitching prospect Jalen Beeks, a lefty, from Triple A Pawtucket to make a spot start on Thursday. Beeks, who was scratched from his scheduled start with the PawSox on Tuesday, owns a 2.56 ERA in 10 starts this season. He’s ranked as the #5 prospect on SoxProspects.com and was drafted by the Red Sox in the 12th round back in 2014.

#RedSox Select 1B/3B Triston Casas with the 26th Pick in the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

In his first two amateur drafts as President of Baseball Operations for the Red Sox, Dave Dombrowski, aided by his scouting department, has gone with a starting pitcher with the teams first selection. LHP Jay Groome was selected out of  high school with the 12th overall pick back in 2016 and Tanner Houck, a righty, was selected out of The University of Missouri with the 27th overall pick in last years draft.

With that in mind, I would not have found it shocking if the Red Sox went that route again by drafting another pitcher. Instead, they went with an infielder out of Pembroke Pines, FL named Triston Casas.

Casas, 18, spent three years at American Heritage High School in Plantation, FL, which just so happens to be the same high school both Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer and Patriots first round pick Sony Michel attended.

Listed at 6’4” and 238 lbs. on Perfect Game USA, Casas has all the potential to be a power hitting first baseman capable of hitting 30-35 home runs a season against big league pitching. He may not be the best hitter for average, but he can definitely mash.

According to Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel, who called this pick about a half hour before it was announced, Casas, “May have the most power of all guys taken today, long track record of hitting.”

Despite not knowing much about this kid, I certainly am not disappointed by the pick. It will be interesting to see how he develops once he makes the transition to being a full-time first baseman. Hopefully, Casas will be playing up in Lowell by the time their season starts in June. For now though, here’s his mixtape and a great quote from tonight.

Big things coming.

RECAP: #RedSox Head Home with a Series Split as Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland Homer Against Astros Again.

Not gonna lie, after the Red Sox lost their second straight game to the Houston Astros on Friday night, I was not feeling too confident about the rest of the series. With Justin Verlander and Charlie Morton taking th mound for the Astros, I honestly thought the Red Sox were going to head back home on Sunday night having gotten swept by arguably the best team in the American League. Instead of that though, they battled back, and thanks to great performances from David Price and Rick Porcello, they left Houston last night with a series split. Not too shabby.

Yup, Porcello made his 13th start of the season in this one, and he found himself working around a solid amount of baserunners all night.

Things did not get off to the best of starts for the righty, as Astros leadoff hitter George Springer greeted Porcello with a solo home run on the third pitch he saw. After that though, the Astros were held to just two runs in the seven innings Porcello appeared in.

As I previously mentioned, Porcello was dealing with runners on base throughout the night. In fact, the Astros led off every inning other than the fourth by reaching base at least once before the first out was recorded. Despite that fact, the Red Sox starter manevured his way around five hits, two walks, and two HBPs in total to earn his eighth winning decision of the season.

When he made his way to the mound for his seventh inning of work with a pitch count of around 75, I thought Porcello had a chance to toss a complete game. Instead, similar to his last time out against the Blue Jays, the New Jersey native sort of let things fall apart in his final frame of work. In neither of those outings did things get away from the Red Sox, but I just find it interesting how in his last two starts, Porcello has surrendered two runs in the seventh inning, and he was not able to finish the seventh in both of those outings.

Anyway, having gotten himself in a bit of a jam with only one out in the seventh, Matt Barnes came on to replace Porcello in a high-leverage situation. Facing Jose Altuve with runners on first and second, the UCONN product retired the side in a big way by striking out Altuve and getting Carlos Correa to ground into an inning-ending force play at second base.

Coming back out for his second inning of work in the eighth, Barnes needed just 15 pitches to retire the side in order and earn his 14th hold of the season. Definitely a great night for him.

With this game out of reach going into the bottom of the ninth, Heath Hembree worked his way around two walks in a scoreless inning of work to wrap this game and series up while also providing us with this epic shot from ESPN.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup struck first for the second night in a row. Andrew Benintendi got things started with a leadoff double off of Astros righty Charlie Morton, and Mitch Moreland brought him home three batters later on his 10th home run of the season.

441 feet with an exit velocity of 107.3 MPH on that shot.

Fast forward to the fifth, and Andrew Benintendi came through with a one out home run on the first pitch he saw from Morton, which just so happened to be an 88 MPH cutter on the inner half of the plate.

406 feet on that home run from Benintendi, with an exit velo. of 103.3 MPH as well on his ninth big fly of the season.

An inning later, back to back hits from Brock Holt and Blake Swihart with runners on base tacked on another three runs to the Red Sox lead and that would be the end of the night for Charlie Morton. Giving up a whopping six runs, this was his worst start of the season.

Things did not fare better for the Astros when they turned to their bullpen though, as Brock Holt struck once again in the eighth inning off of Collin McHugh on an RBI single.

And finally, pinch-hitting for JD Martinez in the ninth, the recently called up Sam Travis came out of nowhere and lined a two-run single off of Ken Giles to put his team up 9-3, which ended up being the final score.

Some notes from this win:

In the ten games he has appeared in since giving up two runs to the Yankees on May 9th, opponents are hitting .135 off of Matt Barnes in 11 shutout innings.

As of May 11th, Andrew Benintendi’s slash line was sitting at .243/.335/.404. In 21 games since then, he is slashing .388/.457/.763 with 7 HR and 23 RBI.

The Red Sox got beat up a little bit on Sunday night. JD Martinez had to exit with back spasms in the ninth inning, Xander Bogaerts appeared to be limping after scoring from second in the ninth, and Eduardo Nunez took a hard groundball off his face at third. Luckily for them, Monday is an off day for the Red Sox, as they will kick off a three game series against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday.

For that opening game, it will be righty Artie Lewicki on the mound for Detroit, while Steven Wright gets the start for Boston. This doesn’t mean that anyone has lost their spot in the rotation, it just means that all the other starters are getting an additional day of rest. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM on Tuesday back at Fenway Park.

 

 

 

RECAP: Christian Vazquez and Andrew Benintendi Deliver Clutch Home Runs as #RedSox Squeeze by Astros in 5-4 Win.

In a game that took just under four hours to complete, the Red Sox came away with a surprising 5-4 win in a comeback effort against the Houston Astros. Thanks in part to both David Price and Andrew Benintendi, the Red Sox go into the series finale on Sunday night with the chance to head home with a four-game split. With that in mind, let’s get to how we got here…

Making his 12th start of the season on Saturday night, Price put together the best performance a Red Sox starter has had in Houston so far. In six full innings, the lefty scattered three runs on five hits and one walk while fanning seven.

The first three innings of this one were a bit tough for Price, as the Astros tacked on all three runs they scored off the Tennessee native, including a two-run home run off the bat of Alex Bregman, over that stretch. From the fourth inning on though, Price was nails. He held Houston hitless while facing the minimum nine batters to notch his third quality start in his last four starts overall.

Departing with a pitch count of 109 (63 strikes) and his team trailing by one run after six innings, it seemed as if Price would be heading towards his fifth losing decision of the season. Instead, a three run rally in the top of the seventh changed that, and the 32-year-old hurler ended up with the winning decision, his sixth on the year.

In relief of Price, with a two run lead to work with all of a sudden, the Red Sox bullpen held a solid Astros lineup in check over three innings pitched. Heath Hembree was first up and he worked his way around a walk in a scoreless seventh. Joe Kelly was next, and despite getting scored on for the second straight night, did his job by giving Craig Kimbrel a one run lead to protect in the ninth.

The Red Sox closer came on with the 7-8-9 hitters due up for the Astros, and he got pinch hitter JD Davis swinging for the third and final out in this one. Picking up his 19th save of the season, Kimbrel has pulled even with Mariners closer Edwin Diaz for the most saves in the American League.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was faced with a daunting task in going up against Justin Verlander, arguably the best pitcher in the American League right now. In 12 starts prior to the one he made last night, the former Detroit Tiger owned a 1.11 ERA in 81.1 innings pitched, lowest among qualified starters in the American League.

Luckily for the Red Sox, Verlander would be without his usual catcher, Brian McCann, who has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 29th. Instead, Max Stassi was behind the plate for Houston, and despite having caught Verlander before this season, it was clear to see that the two were having some communication issues throughout the night.

Speaking of former Detroit Tigers mentioned earlier, Verlander’s former teammate in JD Martinez put the Red Sox on the board in the first. In his first career at bat against the Astros starter, Martinez saw a 96 MPH fastball he liked and lined it into the opposite field for an RBI single that scored Andrew Benintendi from second.

Fast forward to the sixth, and Martinez struck again with his second RBI knock of the game and his 50th of the season. This one came on a 97 MPH fastball from Verlander, and it was lined to center field for another RBI single that scored Xander Bogaerts from second. Here are both of those hits in one convenient, although shortened, GIF:

That second one drew the Red Sox within one run in what would be Verlander’s final frame of work.

The seventh inning is where things got really crazy.

With Astros reliever Will Harris entering this contest and nonchalantly recording the first two outs on eight pitches, Christian Vazquez came through with his first home run of the season, and it could not have come at a better time.

383 on that shot to left field for Vazquez to tie this thing up at three runs a piece. He knew it was gone the second that ball made contact with his bat. If you thought that home run was impressive, just wait until you see the one hit by Andrew Benintendi later in the inning.

After Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a six pitch walk, Andrew Benintendi stayed hot by mashing his eighth home run of the season to put the Red Sox on top.

417 feet and 105 MPH off the bat of Benintendi on that missile, and it caught Harris and even Benintendi a bit off guard.

Animated GIF

That big fly put the Red Sox up by two runs late, and as I mentioned earlier, they would not have to look back en route to their 40th win of the season, the first team to accomplish the feat so far.

Some notes from this win:

Over his last four starts, David Price owns a 2.77 ERA in 26 innings pitched. He has struck out 28 batters over that stretch as well.

JD Martinez became the first player to reach 50 RBIs this season with two of them last night.

Also, I wanted to include this little nugget about Christian Vazquez, courtesy of @RedSoxStats on Twitter.

Now with the chance to head home with a split, Rick Porcello will man the rubber for the Red Sox in the series finale of this four game set, as he will be matches up against Astros righty Charlie Morton. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 PM ET on ESPN. A bit of an odd time for Sunday Night Baseball, but I’m not complaining.