Andrew Benintendi Launches First Career Grand Slam as #RedSox Top Rays for First Series Win of 2019

It took nearly four weeks, but for the first time this season, the Red Sox have won a series following a narrow 6-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday night. This is also the first time this season that the team has won two consecutive road games.

Making his fourth start of the season at a place he usually finds success in for this one was Rick Porcello.

Entering the day with a lifetime 2.86 ERA at Tropicana Field, the right-hander took the first steps in turning around what has been an ugly start to his walk year, as he held Tampa Bay to just two runs on six hits, one walk, and one HBP to go along with five strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work.

That lone free pass, as well as two double plays being turned, may serve as a few important indicators that Porcello is on the road to improvement.

Working with a lead from the second inning on, one of the six hits given up by the 30-year-old hurler traveled 413 feet off the bat of Avisail Garcia in the bottom half of the second to plate the Rays’ first run of the evening on a solo home run.

Later in the fourth, a pair of triples from Ji-Man Choi and Brandon Lowe in that order gave Tampa Bay their second run and make it a 5-2 game.

Retiring six of the next nine hitters he faced after that, Porcello’s night would come to a close following a two out single from Lowe in the sixth. With Avisail Garcia, with one home run under his best already, due up next for the Rays, Alex Cora made the switch for Heath Hembree out of the Red Sox bullpen.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (60 strikes), Porcello turned to his two-seam fastball nearly 40% of the time he was on the mound on Saturday while also topping out at 93.6 MPH with his four-seamer.

Still without a winning decision on the season despite better results, Porcello’s next start should come against the Detroit Tigers, his former club, sometime next week.

In relief of Porcello, Hembree entered with one out to get in the sixth and did just that before surrendering a leadoff triple to the speedy Kevin Kiermaier in the seventh.

After recording the first out of the inning, Hembree made way for the recently called up Bobby Poyner, who walked the first man he faced in Rays pinch-hitter Guillermo Heredia and gave up a two-run triple to the next hitter he faced in Austin Meadows.

That cut Boston’s lead down to one run and in came Marcus Walden.

Recently called up himself, Walden had himself another impressive showing, fanning the only two Rays hitters he faced to send this contest to the eighth with his team still in the lead.

In that eighth inning, Matt Barnes, working two days in a row, allowed Tampa Bay to come all the way back from an initial five run deficit by serving up a leadoff, then game-tying homer to Yandy Diaz.

Presumably upset at himself, Barnes retired the next three hitters faced all via the punch out.

Thanks to a mini rally from the Red Sox bats in their half of the ninth, Ryan Brasier had the opportunity to come on for the save with a one run lead to protect and Christian Vazquez now behind the dish after Sandy Leon was pinch hit for.

Like Barnes, Brasier was also in his second straight game, and it showed, as he allowed the go-ahead run to reach base on a leadoff single from Robertson and a two out knock from Tommy Pham.

With Willy Adames at the plate for Tampa Bay with the chance to be a hero, Christian Vazquez made the play of the game, picking off Pham with a rocket of a throw to Steve Pearce covering first. And that’s how this 6-5 win came to a close.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against ex-Astros right-hander Charlie Morton for Tampa Bay, who had only made four career starts against Boston prior to Saturday.

Able to get the scoring started right away in the second, a JD Martinez leadoff single and a pair of walks drawn by Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. filled the bases for the Red Sox with just one out in the inning.

Following a mound visit and a Tzu-Wei Lin strikeout, Sandy Leon, in his second game back with the big league club, was able to drive in the Red Sox’ first run of the night by taking a 86 MPH cutter from Morton off his foot. That made it a 1-0 game and reloaded the bases for the top of the order.

Capitalizing on that miscue from Morton right away, Andrew Benintendi swung at the very first pitch he saw in his second at bat against the Rays hurler and wound up blasting his first career grand slam to unload the bases.

That put the Red Sox up 5-0 early on, but they were kept quiet over the next few hours, unable to score again until the ninth.

Going into that final frame having given away that aforementioned five-run advantage, Jackie Bradley Jr. of all people would begin things by ripping a leadoff single to right field off Rays reliever Jose Alvarado and representing the go-ahead run.

After another Tzu-Wei Lin punch out, the nine spot was due up next for the Red Sox, and instead of Sandy Leon, in came top prospect Michael Chavis to make his major league debut in a decently crucial spot against the left-handed Alvarado.

Called up by the Red Sox on Friday, Chavis took advantage of the unfamiliar matchup and laced a 1-2 double over the head of Kevin Kiermaier in center field, advancing Bradley Jr. to third in the process of picking up the first hit of his young career.

According to Statcast, that two-bagger from Chavis had an exit velocity of 109 MPH and traveled a distance of 401 feet. Not bad for your first AB in the bigs.

chavis.jpg

With the lineup turning over and the go-ahead run now just 90 feet away, Benintendi came through with another huge plate appearance, this time driving in Bradley Jr. on a sacrifice fly to left to collect his fifth and final RBI of the night. That put the Red Sox up 6-5, which would go on to be the final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

Mitch Moreland, who started at first, departed from this game in the third inning due to back spasms. According to Moreland himself though, he should be able to play Sunday.

From @SoxNotes, regarding JD Martinez’s 10-game hitting streak:

From the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato, regarding Chavis’ ninth inning double:

From the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, quoting Alex Cora talking about Chavis:

Already with their first series win of 2019 in hand, the Red Sox will for the sweep over the Rays on Easter Sunday.

Left-hander David Price will get the start against his former club, while former Pirates hurler Tyler Glasnow is slated to take the mound on the opposite side.

Michael Chavis is also due to make his first career big league start in this series finale, although it is not clear where he will be playing.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 2:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the sweep.

 

Advertisements

Orioles’ Chris Davis Ends Hitless Streak with First Inning Two-Run Single off Rick Porcello

At long last, Chris Davis’ hitless streak for the Baltimore Orioles has come to an end after 54 consecutive at-bats without a base knock dating back to September of last season.

Davis, 33, entered Saturday with four career hits off Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, and capitalized on his first plate appearance of the afternoon, ripping a first inning two-RBI single to drive in Baltimore’s first two runs.

After reaching first base safely, Davis was able to get the ball back for his own keeping.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Davis’ 54 straight hitless at-bats are the most for a position player in the history of Major League Baseball.

Blake Swihart Homers and Sam Travis Blasts Grand Slam as #RedSox Fall to Cubs in Spring Finale

The Red Sox wrapped up their spring on Tuesday afternoon with a 14-7 loss at the hands of the Chicago Cubs, meaning they failed to pick up a win in their brief two-game exhibition series in Mesa, Az. before heading north to Seattle for the real thing.

David Price, who we have not seen much of in the past few weeks, made just his second start of the spring in this one.

Pitching into the fourth inning, the left-hander surrendered five runs on six hits and two walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the day.

Retiring seven of the first eight hitters he faced, it looked as though things were going swimmingly for Price up until the bottom half of the third, when four straight Cubs hitters reached base, which in turn resulted in their first two runs crossing the plate.

An inning later, a two out solo home run off the bat of Kyle Schwarber would ultimately spell the end to Price’s day, as he would depart from this one following another run of three straight Cubs hits, capped off by an Addison Russell RBI double.

Facing 18 batters in total, Price’s next and first start of the regular season will come against the Oakland Athletics on Monday, April 1st.

From the middle of the bottom half of the fourth on, Trevor Kelley, Heath Hembree, Brandon Workman, Adam Lau, Tyler Thornburg, Colten Brewer, Ryan Weber, and Durbin Feltman combined to give up a whopping 11 runs (10 earned) on nine hits, four walks, two HBPs, and seven punch outs over the final 4.1 frames.

Not great numbers, obviously. Hembree, Workman, and Lau were responsible for eight of those runs in a monster fifth inning for Chicago.

On a more positive note, Weber tossed a scoreless seventh inning, so there’s that.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Cubs right-hander Carl Edwards Jr., who typically pitches in a relief role, to start things off on Tuesday.

After failing to put anything on the board in their first two trips to the plate, Blake Swihart kicked off the scoring for Boston with a one out solo home run in the third inning off Massachusetts native Tim Collins, his first of the spring.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, and Sam Travis got his impressive day at the plate started by belting a line drive RBI double to left that allowed Eduardo Nunez to score all the way from first.

And later on in the eighth, after the first four Red Sox hitters had reached base to lead the inning off, including a Tate Matheny RBI single, Travis capped off his spring in exciting fashion, mashing a bases-clearing grand slam off Cubs reliever Ian Clarkin.

Granted, it ended up not making that huge a difference in the final score, but what a way for the 25-year-old Travis to head into his first ever big league Opening Day. Hard not to be excited for him.

Anyway, the Red Sox would go on to drop this one by a final score of 14-7 to put the finishing touches on what turned out to be a 12-17-1 spring.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s Opening Day as well as opening weekend in Seattle. Here are the starting pitchers Alex Cora is going with for the first series of the 2019 season.

Game 1: LHP Chris Sale vs. LHP Marco Gonzales (1-0, 4.50 ERA)
Game 2: RHP Nathan Eovaldi vs. LHP Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 1.93 ERA)
Game 3: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez vs. RHP Mike Leake
Game 4: RHP Rick Porcello vs. LHP Wade LeBlanc

First pitch Opening Day (March 28th) is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on ESPN.

It’s almost that time.

Rick Porcello Avoids Major Scare as #RedSox Fall to Cubs in Mesa

After wrapping up the Grapefruit League portion of their spring on Saturday, the Red Sox made the trek out to Arizona to take on the Chicago Cubs in a pair of exhibition games before kicking off the regular season up in Seattle later this week.

Facing the Cubs for the first time since 2017, Rick Porcello got the start for Boston on Monday.

Working the first four innings, the right-hander surrendered two runs on four hits, zero walks, and one HBP to go along with three strikeouts on the evening.

More importantly, Porcello avoided a serious scare in the second, when Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras ripped a comebacker that wound up glancing off the hurler’s head and landing all the way in shallow right field.

Fortunately and maybe even surprisingly, Porcello was all smiles afterwards and remained in the game to finish his outing. According to the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, “all concussion tests were negative.”

Back to the game, one of the two runs given up by Porcello came on a third inning leadoff home run off the bat of Cubs starter Cole Hamels.

The other came later in the third on an Anthony Rizzo RBI double.

After fanning the final two hitters he faced in the fourth with a pitch count of 53, the New Jersey native headed out to the Red Sox bullpen to get some additional work in and officially cap off his spring.

If I were to guess, I would say we see Porcello make his 2019 regular season debut in Seattle this Saturday.

From the top of the fifth inning on, Eduardo Rodrigez, Hector Velazquez, Matt Barnes, and Ryan Brasier combined to allow one run on two hits, three walks, one HBP, and six strikeouts over the final four in this one.

Rodriguez impressed in a rare relief appearance Monday, punching out the dangerous Cubs trio of Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Kyle Schwarber while feauturing a nasty changeup in two scoreless frames.

Barnes and Brasier, meanwhile, together tossed a perfect eighth inning, with each recording one strikeout.

On the other side of things, as I had previously mentioned, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Cubs left-hander Cole Hamels to start things out.

Kicking off the scoring for Boston was Andrew Benintendi, who carried over the success he had in Florida spring training with a one out solo shot off Hamels in the top half of the third.

That would put the Red Sox on the board and give them an early lead, but they were not able to do much offensively for the rest of night.

One golden scoring opportunity came in the seventh, after Xander Bogaerts had already plated a run on an Eduardo Nunez RBI single to tie things up at two runs a piece.

With the bases full following a one out Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI single, Blake Swihart, fresh off making Boston’s Opening Day roster, came to the plate with the chance to put his team ahead with some clutch hitting.

A las, the 26-year-old backstop got on top of one from Cubs reliever Randy Rosario and grounded into an inning-ending 5-3 double play, thus killing the rally.

After the Cubs re-took the lead with a run of their own in the seventh, the Red Sox would go on to drop this one by a final score of 3-2 in Arizona.

One note from this loss:

Unrelated to the game, but it was just announced that first baseman Steve Pearce will be opening up the 2019 season on the injured list, presumably due to issues with his left calf. More on that Tuesday.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll face the Cubs once again in the last game before they all start to matter on March 28th.

Left-hander David Price will be getting the ball for Boston, while right-hander Kyle Hendricks will be doing the same for Chicago.

First pitch at Sloan Park is scheduled for 3:05 PM EDT Tuesday.

Rick Porcello Makes 2019 Spring Debut as #RedSox Serve up Six Home Runs in 8-1 Loss to Rays

The Red Sox fell to 6-10 in Grapefruit League on Sunday afternoon following a 8-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte, marking their fifth consecutive defeat.

Making his 2019 debut in this one for Boston was Rick Porcello. The right-hander, who is entering the final season of his original four-year contract extension he signed in 2015, surrendered two runs on four hits, two of which were home runs, and no walks to go along with one strikeout in three innings of work.

As that line indicates, the only runs given up by Porcello came on a pair of Tampa Bay solo homers in the second and third innings off the bats of Joey Wendle and Mike Zunino.

In total, the 30-year-old hurler faced 15 hitters in his first action of the spring.

From the middle of the fourth inning on, Hector Velazquez, Brandon Workman, Colten Brewer, and Brian Ellington combined to allow six runs to cross the plate on 11 hits, four of which were homers, two walks, and six strikeouts over the final five frames of this one.

Like Porcello, Velazquez and Workman each gave up a pair of long balls, as Guillermo Heredia and Avisail Garcia went yard in the fourth and fifth innings, while Heredia and Nate Lowe did the same for the Rays in their half of the sixth.

If anything, both Brewer and Ellington held Tampa Bay scoreless in their individual innings of relief, but the Red Sox bullpen has been a rough spot thus far through 16 Grapefruit League games.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup could not muster more than two runs for the FIFTH straight day. And guess what? They haven’t won any of their last five games!

The lone Boston managed to tally in this one came in the seventh inning, when with one out and Diego Castillo on the hill for Tampa Bay, Steve Pearce grounded into a run-scoring out at first while Aneury Tavarez came around to score from third to make it a 8-1 game at the time. That would go on to be the final score in this Sunday afternoon contest.

Some notes from this loss:

Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Steve Pearce, and Eduardo Nunez went a combined 2/12 at the plate with one walk and one RBI.

Brock Holt was slated to start at second, but was scratched at the last-minute due to back spasms. He is considered day-to-day.

I get that it’s just spring training, I really do, but can I at least say the last week has been frustrating to watch? Because it has.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s an off day on Monday before hosting the Detroit Tigers for at JetBlue Park the first time this spring

Monday will not be a typical day off though, as Chris Sale is set to pitch in a minor league game beginning at approximately 11:40 AM on one of the Fenway South backfields.

On Tuesday, we’ll see a starting pitching matchup featuring two left-handers who were once part of the same trade.

For Detroit, it will be Daniel Norris getting the starting nod, while 2018 postseason hero David Price will make his 2019 debut and do the same.

Go back to July of 2015, and these two southpaws were part of the same deal that sent Price from Detroit to the Toronto Blue Jays and Norris from Toronto to Detroit.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT at JetBlue. Unfortunately, it does not look like this game will be televised. Monday should be fun, though.

 

RECAP: Max Muncy Walks It off for Dodgers in 18th as #RedSox Drop Longest World Series Game in MLB Hisory.

History was made on Friday night/early Saturday morning when the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers played in the longest postseason and World Series game in MLB history.

It took 18 innings and over seven hours to complete, and the contest was decided by a Max Muncy walk-off solo home run off of Nathan Eovaldi in the bottom half of that 18th inning.

Before the game got to that point though, let’s break down how we got there.

Getting the start for the Red Sox in this one was Rick Porcello, who entered Friday with a 4.22 ERA over 10.1 innings pitched this October.

Pitching into the fifth inning, the right-hander surrendered just one earned run on three hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

It really was a solid performance from Porcello, with the only mistake being made coming in the bottom of the third, when he hung a two out, 0-0 changeup to Joc Pederson, who sent the ball 380 feet to the right field seats to give the Dodgers an early lead.

Other than that, the New Jersey native battled his way into the fifth, and his night ultimately came to an end with two outs in the frame and Pederson due up next for Los Angeles.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 61 (43 strikes) and caught by Christian Vazquez, Porcello topped out at 93.5 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 34 times, en route to picking up the no-decision.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen ended up being responsible for the final 12-plus innings on Friday, which eventually carried over into the wee hours of the morning in California.

Eduardo Rodriguez, Joe Kelly, Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, David Price, Craig Kimbrel, and Heath Hembree combined to toss 6.1 innings of scoreless baseball before Nathan Eovaldi came on for the 12th.

Let me tell you about Nathan Eovaldi. To do what he did on one full day’s rest was absolutely incredible.

After being used as the set up man for the first two games of the World Series, the right-hander came in and essentially put together a quality start out of the bullpen.

Six innings pitched, three hits, two runs (one earned), one walk, and five strikeouts. Certainly not worthy of a loss.

This game should have been over in the 13th, after Eduardo Nunez drove in the then go-ahead run in Boston’s half of the inning.

Having recorded the first two outs of the inning after walking the first batter he faced, Eovaldi was one out away from notching a six out save.

Instead, on what appeared to be a hard hit ground ball to second, Ian Kinsler could not come through with the put out to first.

That allowed Max Muncy to score all the way from second, and just like that, this game was tied again.

Fast forward to the 18th now, after Muncy nearly ended things in the 15th home run with a fly ball that just went foul, and this contest finally came to a conclusion when Muncy redeemed himself to lead off the inning with a walk-off home run.

It only took seven hours and 20 minutes.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was initially matched up against Dodgers rookie right-hander Walker Buehler, and he held them to just two hits over seven shutout innings of work.

It wasn’t until Buehler was out and Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen entered this game in the eighth when Boston finally got on the board.

Trailing by one run and down to their final four ourts, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through in the clutch once again, as he blasted his third home run of the postseason to knot things up at one run a piece.

Fast forward to the 13th, and a Brock Holt leadoff walk, followed by a steal of second base, would set Eduardo Nunez up in an ideal scoring spot.

With lefty Scott Alexander on the mound for Los Angeles, Nunez tapped a ball between the mound and first base, and wound up reaching base on a sliding single thanks to a wild throw from Alexander.

Because of that throw, Holt was able to score from second to give his team a very late one-run lead that ultimately should have been the final nail in the coffin.

But, as I explained earlier, that is not how things worked out, and instead of finding themselves up three games in this series, the Red Sox now find themselves with the Dodgers right behind them with the chance to pull even later tonight.

One note from this 3-2 loss:

The top four hitters in the Red Sox lineup, pinch hitters included, went a combined 0/28 with two walks on Friday. Not the best of efforts from Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts.

I know I missed some things, but here’s to hoping the Red Sox bounce back with a win tonight. Starting pitchers have yet to be announced. First pitch is scheduled for 8:09 PM ET.

RECAP: Andrew Benintendi Makes Game-Saving Catch in Ninth Inning as #RedSox Jump up 3-1 on Astros in ALCS.

In a game that took over four and a half hours to complete, the Red Sox found themselves just one win away from clinching the American League pennant following an enthralling 8-6 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.

Making his second start (fourth appearance) of the postseason in this one was Rick Porcello, and he did not have it going on early.

Tossing four innings seemingly out of necessity, the right-hander got hit hard, as he surrendered a postseason-high four earned runs on seven hits, one walk, and one HBP to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

Right from the get go, it was clear to see Porcello was struggling to find any sort of rhythm. The Astros were making hard contact and getting on base, which could have led to two runs crossing the plate in their half of the first, right after the Red Sox scored a pair of their own, had it not been for Joe West ruling this ball off the bat of Jose Altuve as fan interference.

I don’t want to get into this too much, since like Tuesday’s controversy, it really did not make a difference in the end, but I do believe it’s pretty obvious that Mookie Betts would have made that spectacular catch had that fan not shut his glove closed.

Any who, Porcello got out of the first unscathed. Great, maybe he’ll start to settle in a bit after getting that out of the way, I thought.

Nope, instead Josh Reddick and Carlos Correa greeted the New Jersey native in their half of the second by consecutively reaching base, and that led to Houston’s first run of the night coming around to score on a Correa RBI single.

An inning later, George Springer, who seemingly hits a home run in almost every postseason game he plays in, was at it agin with a leadoff solo shot to right field that cut Boston’s lead to one momentarily.

After a Jose Altuve double to follow that up and two straight outs, Josh Reddick continued his revenge tour against the team he came up with by ripping a line drive RBI single to left to drive in Altuve. Tie game.

In his final frame of work, Porcello failed once again to retire the side in order, as he served up a one out, solo home run to Astros left fielder Tony Kemp, who put his club up by a run with his first homer of the series.

Finishing his night by getting Jose Altuve to pop out to first for the final out of the fourth, Porcello would finish with a final pitch count of 68 (46 strikes).

Out of those 68 pitches, the 29-year-old hurler, who was caught by Christian Vazquez, relied on his slider the most at 31% of the time and topped out at 92.9 MPH with his four-seam fastball in the first inning. He only induced seven total swings and misses as well.

chart (10)

Whether we see Porcello again in this series will probably be indicative on whether or not it goes back to Boston.

If the Red Sox clinch the pennant tonight, then there’s obviously no need for him until the World Series. But, it would not shock me to see Alex Cora turn to Porcello in a late, close game at Fenway either.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for locking down the final five innings of Wednesday night’s contest.

Joe Kelly (1-1) got the first call in the fifth with the game tied at four runs each, but surrendered the then go-ahead run on another Carlos Correa RBI single in the lone inning he appeared in.

Eduardo Rodriguez was next up with left-handed bat Tony Kemp set to leadoff the sixth, and he walked him on seven pitches, the last three of which were all balls. Not ideal.

That made way for Ryan Brasier to clean up that small mess, and he did just that by sitting down the 1-2-3 hitters in the Astros lineup in consecutive fashion.

With his team up 7-5 by the time he took the mound again for the seventh, Brasier would be unable to do his job this time, as he gave up a leadoff single to Marwin Gonzalez and a two out double to the pesky Carlos Correa to put runners at second and third.

Matt Barnes got the next call from Alex Cora in this crucial spot with the pinch-hitting Tyler White at the plate for Houston, and he managed to strikeout White while his bat never left his shoulder. Inning over.

Finally, Craig Kimbrel came on in an extremely rare SIX out save situation with a three-run lead to protect, and somehow, someway he did it.

It was far from easy and certainly very stressful with the Astros cutting their deficit down to two in the eighth and then loading the bases with two outs in the ninth, but Kimbrel was bailed out twice by his stellar outfield.

The first came in eighth, when the aforementioned Tony Kemp tried to stretch a leadoff single into a leadoff double, but his childhood friend, Mookie Betts, had other ideas.

And in the ninth, with two outs and an Astro on every base, Andrew Benintendi made the catch of his life on a screaming line drive off the bat of Alex Bregman that was falling rapidly.

Absolutely unreal. That’s how this ballgame would end only four and a half hours after it started.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Astros veteran right-hander Charlie Morton, who hadn’t seen any in-game action since the end of September.

Like they did off of Gerrit Cole on Tuesday, the top of the lineup got things started right away in the first, as Mookie Betts and JD Martinez drew a pair of walks to put runners on first and second with one out.

A wild pitch with Xander Bogaerts at the plate would allow both runners to advance into scoring position, but Bogaerts was unable to bring them home.

Fortunately, Rafael Devers, who has seemingly turned into an elite hitter in the postseason, came through with a two out, two RBI single to left field that saw his club take an early 2-0 lead.

Over the next four innings, not only was Morton knocked out of this contest, but a pair of Xander Bogaerts RBI base knocks, one in the third and one in the fifth, gave the Red Sox a two-run lead and then pulled them even with Houston at four runs each.

In the sixth, a red-hot Jackie Bradley Jr. came up looking for his first hit of the evening with two outs and Christian Vazquez at second following a double, and he did just that by smoking a 89 MPH changeup from Astros reliever Josh James 385 feet down the right field line.

That put Boston up 6-5, and they would not have to look back on that lead despite some late inning concerns.

To add on what would become much needed insurance, a Brock Holt bases loaded walk in the seventh, followed by a JD Martinez RBI single in the ninth, would eventually be all the Red Sox would need to go up 3-1 in this American League Championship Series.

Some notes from this 8-6 win:

From @SoxNotes:Β Most multi-RBI games in an ALCS, Red Sox history: David Ortiz – 4 (2004) Jason Varitek – 3 (2004) Jackie Bradley Jr. – 3 (2018)

Most RBI in an ALCS, Red Sox history: David Ortiz – 11 (2004) Manny Ramirez – 10 (2007) Jackie Bradley Jr. – 9 (2018) Mike Lowell – 8 (2007)

Including the Postseason, the Red Sox are 14-0 in 2018 when Jackie Bradley Jr. hits a home run.

The Red Sox are 4-0 on the road this postseason.

With the opportunity to clinch a spot in the World Series with a win tonight, it will be David Price, not Chris Sale, on the mound for Boston.

Pitching on only four days rest, it appeared as though Price was available to come out of the bullpen if needed on Wednesday, but that did not happen.

In his only other appearance of this series, the southpaw nearly earned the winning decision in 4.2 innings of four-run ball in Game Two at Fenway Park last Sunday.

Opposite Price will be Astros ace Justin Verlander, who allowed just two runs to score over six quality innings of work in a Game One win for Houston.

A lot is on the line Thursday, and first pitch of Game Five is scheduled for 8:09 PM ET on TBS.