RECAP: Rick Porcello Serves up Five Runs on Three Homers as #RedSox Drop Opener to Indians.

After taking two out of three from the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, the Red Sox welcomed the American League Central leading Cleveland Indians into town for a four-game series between two teams vying for an AL pennant.

In the series opener, it was a starting pitching matchup that featured two decorated right-handers in Corey Kluber, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, for Cleveland and Rick Porcello, who received the same honor in 2016, for Boston.

Porcello, coming off a fine effort in his last time out against the Phillies and making the 300th start of this career, took the mound for the 26th time this season, and he was struck hard by the home run ball.

Tossing seven full innings in this one, all five runs surrendered by the righty came on three separate Indians home runs, all of which came after the fourth.

Through the first four frames, Porcello was nearly untouchable, as he sat down 12 of the first 14 batters he faced while his team jumped out to an early three-run advantage.

The fifth inning though, is where things started to go awry for the New Jersey native and it began with a leadoff home run off the bat of veteran outfielder Melky Cabrera, who is in his second stint with the Indians this season.

After retiring the next three batters he faced, a Francisco Lindor single to begin the sixth would later turn into another pair of runs for Cleveland two pitches later when Michael Brantley, another outfielder, punished a 1-0 slider for his 14th homer of the season. And just like that, this game was momentarily tied.

Momentarily, because an inning later, with his pitch count inching closer and closer to 100, Porcello gave up another two-run shot, but not before taking a Yan Gomes comebacker that had an exit velocity of 95.2 MPH off his chest.

I’m not going to sit here and say that Porcello should have come out after that, because he was able to recover and get an out at second, but what transpired after he was left in was not all that encouraging.

Yes, that two-run home run off the bat of Indians rookie Greg Allen put Cleveland up 5-3, which is all they would need to pick up the win. Porcello did stay in to finish the seventh, which is how his night would come to an end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 107 (74 strikes), the New Jersey native ended up with six strikeouts on the night to go along with one walk and a season-high three home runs given up in this one.

Out of those 107 pitches, Porcello turned to his fastball, two-seam and four-seam, a combined 49% of the time on Monday and topped out at 94 MPH with that four-seamer in the second inning.

In four starts this month, we have truly seen the highs and the lows of what is Rick Porcello.

8/3 vs. NYY: 9 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 9 K
8/9 @ TOR: 4 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 2 HR, 0 BB, 5 K
8/14 @PHI: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 10 K
8/20 vs. CLE: 7 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 1 BB, 6 K

He’ll look to return to that same form he had against the Yankees and Phillies in his next time out, which should come against the Tampa Bay Rays sometime next weekend.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the eighth and ninth innings of last night’s contest, and Tyler Thornburg and Drew Pomeranz did their jobs by holding the Indians scoreless with two combined strikeouts in that span.

On the other side of things, matched up against one of the best pitchers in all of baseball in Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and all, the Red Sox lineup pounced early but did not have much to show for the remainder of the evening.

Entering Monday with a 3.96 ERA in four career at starts at Fenway Park, Kluber certainly had his fair share of struggles early, but like the ace he is, settled down eventually.

Starting the scoring right away in the first, three straight hits from Mitch Moreland, JD Martinez, and a two RBI double off the bat of Xander Bogaerts plated Boston’s first two runs.

An inning later, another round of three straight hits, this time from Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, and an Andrew Benintendi RBI single, his 71st of the season, tacked on another run to that Red Sox lead to make it a 3-0 game, but that is all they would end up with off of Kluber going into the seventh.

Fast forward to the ninth, trailing by two runs with Indians closer Cody Allen on the mound, a Mookie Betts leadoff double followed by a seven pitch walk of Andrew Benintendi put the Red Sox in a prime spot for a comeback win.

After Mitch Moreland grounded into a force out and JD Martinez popped out to first, it all came down to Xander Bogaerts, who scored Betts from third on an infield single to make it a one-run contest.

With the tying run at second and the go-ahead run at first, Ian Kinsler came to the plate with the opportunity to have his first big moment in a Red Sox uniform, but he could only drop his bat in disgust after flying out to left on the eighth pitch of a tough at bat for the final out of the night.

Some notes from this one:

The Red Sox have lost consecutive games for the first time since July 24-26. They have scored five runs in their last 26 innings.

In the month of August, Xander Bogaerts is slashing .326/.458/.543 with one home run and 12 RBI over 15 games played.

Looking to even things up later tonight, it will be Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston. He owns a career 2.70 ERA in 16.2 career innings pitched against the Indians.

Matched up against Eovaldi will be rookie hurler RHP Shane Bieber for Cleveland. Bieber, 23, as you may have guessed, has never faced the Red Sox in his short career, but does own a 4.37 ERA in 12 games started in his first big league season.

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

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RECAP: Brock Holt’s Eighth Inning Pinch-Hit Home Run Lifts #RedSox to Tight 2-1 Win over Phillies.

Fresh off a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend, the Red Sox headed north for some tougher competition in the form of the 65-52 Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.

Coming off an outing in which he surrendered seven earned runs on six hits in four innings pitched in his last time out against the Toronto Blue Jays last Thursday, Rick Porcello looked much more like the Rick Porcello we saw two starts ago when he threw a complete game against the New York Yankees.

Making his 25th start of the season in this one, Porcello ended up tossing seven innings of one run ball after taking a perfect game into the fifth.

The only real costly mistake the right-hander made last night was the hit that broke up the perfecto and no-no simultaneously, a leadoff solo shot off the bat of Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins to leadoff the fifth.

A 1-1 72 MPH hanging curveball located towards the bottom of the strike zone, Hoskins did not miss in what turned out to be his 23rd homer of the season and lone run of the evening for Philadelphia.

Other than a two out single he gave up in the same inning, Porcello was perfect en route to his 15th winning decision of the season, as he set a new-season high in strikeouts with 10 on the night.

Like the typical quick worker he is, the 2016 Cy Young Award winner found himself in one three-ball count all night and never dealt with the same one batter for too long a time.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 90 (61 strikes), Porcello was pinch-hit for in the top half of the seventh inning, which would go down as the correct decision to make in that spot.

Before that happened though, the 29-year-old added on to his fine day on the mound with a second inning double off of Phillies starter Nick Pivetta for his second two-bagger of the year.

Out of those 91 pitches thrown, Porcello relied on both of his fastballs a combined 51% of the time on Tuesday while topping out at 92.5 MPH with his four-seamer in the first inning.

Improving to 15-5 and lowering his ERA on the year to 4.04, Porcello will look to build on what has thus far been an inconsistent month in his next time out against the Cleveland Indains on Monday.

In relief of Porcello, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for closing out the final two frames on Tuesday night, and Heath Hembree did his part with a 1-2-3 eighth inning, which ended with this Odubel Herrera whiff.

Craig Kimbrel, on the other hand, was a different story.

Entering the ninth with a 1.071 OPS against over his last seven appearances, the flame throwing closer got his night started in a one-run game by walking the first batter he faced on six pitches.

With the help of Sandy Leon though, Kimbrel was able to secure his 36th save of the season by retiring the final three Phillies he faced to wrap up a 2-1 win for the Red Sox.

All and all, in nine total innings, Boston pitching held the Phillies to one run on two hits and one walk to go along with 13 punch outs. Not bad.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Phillies starter Nick Pivetta, who owned a 4.51 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) this season.

A right-hander in his second year in the majors, Pivetta held Boston scoreless in seven innings pitched in his only other career start against them at Citizens Bank Park last season.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, it was more of the same from Pivetta on Tuesday night, as they could only tack on one run in the six innings he appeared in.

That run, a 384 foot solo shot off the bat of Sandy Leon with one out in the third, put Boston on the board first in this one.

Although they had another opportunity to score in the inning, nothing came of it after Andrew Benintendi grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, with Pivetta out and reliever Tommy Hunter in for Philadelphia, Brock Holt came through with the biggest hit of the night.

Batting in the pitcher’s spot with one out in the inning, Holt swung away at the first pitch he saw from Hunter, a 94 MPH cutter located on the inner half of the plate, and sent it 424 feet to right field to score what ended up being the winning run.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 86-35, 10 games up in the American League East, and have won five games in a row.

From @SoxNotes: This is the first time Red Sox starting pitchers have ever recorded 10+ strikeouts and 0 walks in consecutive team games (source: ). Rick Porcello had 10 K and 0 BB tonight, after Chris Sale had 12 K and 0 BB on Sunday.

That home run from Brock Holt was his second career pinch-hit homer. The last time he did that came nearly two seasons ago against the Padres in San Diego.

Over the span of his six-game hitting streak, Holt is slashing .364/.440/.636 with two long balls and six RBI in 22 at bats.

Rick Porcello owns a 1.200 OPS this season.

Going for the quick two-game sweep later tonight, it will be Nathan Eovaldi looking for redemption in his first interleague start with the Red Sox.

In case you have forgotten, Eovaldi got his bell rung for eight runs on 10 hits in two innings last Friday against the Orioles.

In four career outings at Citizens Bank Park, the newest Red Sox hurler owns a 4.57 ERA in 21.2 innings pitched.

Opposite Eovaldi will be Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez, who, like Pivetta, has only made one start against the Red Sox in his four-year career.

That start, which came back when Velazquez pitched for the Astros during part of the 2015 season, was an outing in which the California native gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings pitched in an eventual 8-3 win for Houston.

That was a long time ago though, and things have definitely changed in the last three years.

First pitch of the series finale in Philly is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECAP: Mookie Betts Amazes with Cycle as #RedSox Drop Series Finale to Blue Jays.

Believe it or not, the Red Sox are not a perfect team. They are capable of losing games and that is exactly what happened Thursday night for the first time this month.

Coming off the game of his life in his last time out against the New York Yankees this past Friday, Rick Porcello made his 24th start of the season yesterday, and he found himself struggling against Toronto’s team yet again.

If you recall the last time Porcello faced the Blue Jays in the series before the All-Star break, then you’ll remember that he got absolutely lit up for eight runs in two innings pitched back on July 13th in an eventual loss.

Last night, it was more of the same for the right-hander. Not only was he matched up against the same pitcher as before in Toronto’s Ryan Borucki, Porcello surrendered SEVEN runs in only four-plus innings pitched in another losing effort.

Things went awry right away for the New Jersey native in this one, as he walked the very first two batters he faced, which later resulted in two Blue Jays runs crossing the plate in the first.

An inning later, another leadoff walk and a single off the bat of Aledmys Diaz put runners at first and third for the Jays with no outs and Kevin Pillar at the plate.

On the first pitch of his at bat, Pillar grounded into what looked to have the potential of a force out at second. The run was scoring no matter what, but an E5 from Eduardo Nunez prevented a single out from being recorded and runners were safe at first and second with still no outs.

Nothing more came of that in the second, but Teoscar Hernandez, as he is known to do, blasted a solo homer off of Porcello in the third to pull his team ahead by two runs. He now has hit eight home runs in 20 career games against the Red Sox.

After what was without a doubt his best inning of the night in the fourth, a 1-2-3 effort, Porcello got hit hard again in his final frame, a frame that was capped off by a go-ahead three-run home run from Randal Grichuk, the last batter Porcello faced before getting the rather quick hook.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (54 strikes) and his team trailing by three runs at the time of his departure, Porcello relied on his curveball nearly one-third of the time he was on the mound Thursday. He also topped out at 92.6 MPH with his four-seam fastball on his 13th pitch of the game.

How one goes from pitching a complete game in one outing to struggling mightily in the next is something I don’t think I will ever understand. If you’re frustrated by Porcello’s lack of consistency though, just keep these numbers in mind.

The 29-year-old will look to rebound from one of his worst performances of the season in his next time out against the Phillies in Philadelphia on either Tuesday or Wednesday, probably Tuesday.

In relief of Porcello, Brandon Workman got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he retired three of the only four batters he faced to clean up the mess made in the fifth.

Hector Velazquez was next up for both the sixth and seventh innings, and he allowed a lone Blue Jays run to score on back-to-back hits from Curtis Granderson and Devon Travis in the sixth while tossing a scoreless seventh.

And in the eighth, Tyler Thornburg worked his away around a pair of two out singles to strike out the side and give his team one last chance in the ninth trailing by four runs.

On the other side of things, as I had mentioned above, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a pitcher they had already familiarized themselves with in Toronto’s Ryan Borucki.

Similar to Porcello, Borucki, 24, in his rookie season, has been solid as a starter for the Blue Jays against teams not named the Red Sox.

He gave up seven runs, four of which were earned, in three innings pitched on July 13th at Fenway Park, and despite picking up the win on Thursday, Borucki was not much better.

Like Porcello, Borucki too allowed the first two batters he faced to reach base on back-to-back singles from Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi.

Four batters and one Xander Bogaerts walk later, Eduardo Nunez came through in a bases loades situation by ripping a two-run single to right field to drive in Betts and Benintendi. Just like that, the Red Sox had themselves a quick two run lead and it looked like it was going to be another one of this high scoring nights.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it turned out to be, because the Blue Jays answered right back with two runs of their own in their half of the first, and jumped out to a 4-2 lead by the time Boston tacked on their next run in the fifth.

That run, a one out solo home run off the bat of JD Martinez, was good for his 35th of the season and had an exit velocity of 108 MPH. 4-3 game.

A Brock Holt RBI single later in the inning that scored Eduardo Nunez from second knotted this thing up at four runs a piece, but a three-run rally from the Blue Jays in the bottom half of the fifth essentially put this contest out of reach for the Red Sox.

Thanks to Mookie Betts though, headlines would still be made in Boston’s favor despite their first loss in over a week.

Going into the ninth with a single, a double, and a triple already under his belt, Betts had one last chance to go for history with Ken Giles on the mound for Toronto.

As I wrote yesterday, Betts got ahead in the count at 3-1, fouled off a 96.5 MPH fastball that was right down broadway, and capitalized on the very next pitch, a 85.6 MPH slider from Giles located at the top of the strike zone, by sending it 379 feet into the left field seats. First career cycle completed.

That homer, Betts’ 27th, put Boston’s fifth and final run of the night on the board, but it really meant so much more.

The 21st cycle in Red Sox history and first since Brock Holt did it back during the 2015 season, Mookie Betts should 100% be the favorite to win American League MVP right now. Not Mike Trout, not Jose Ramirez, Mookie Betts.

Some notes from this one:

With a 1/4 night at the plate on Thursday, JD Martinez is currently riding an eight-game hittins streak. Over that span, Martinez is slashing .438/.514/.906 with three home runs and 10 RBI.

In seven games and 28 at bats this month, Mookie Betts owns a 1.500 OPS to go along with seven extra base hits.

Wrapping up the first leg of their road trip with a series win, the Red Sox head to Baltimore to take on a lowly Orioles team in a four-game weekend series.

Getting the start in the opener will be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who has yet to surrender a run in two starts and 15 innings pitched with his new club.

Opposite Eovaldi will be Baltimore’s ace Dylan Bundy, who has pitched well against the Red Sox in three starts this season. Last time Bundy faced them on June 11th, he held Boston scoreless in eight innings of work in a game the Red Sox eventually won in extras.

The Orioles have traded off most of their assets in Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Zach Britton, Brad Brach, and Kevin Gausman, so I totally expect the Red Sox to have full control of this series. Chris Sale will also make his return to the rotation on Sunday.

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

BREAKING: Mookie Betts Hits for Cycle in Toronto.

Although they may have lost their first game in over a week on Thursday night, the Red Sox certainly made headlines in Toronto thanks to Mookie Betts.

Entering the night with the highest batting average in baseball at .340, it looked as though Boston’s leadoff man was on a mission against Ryan Borucki and the rest of the Blue Jays pitching staff.

Leading off the contest with a simple single, Betts would go on to get the hardest hit out of the way with a hard hit triple just out of Kevin Pillar’s reach in center field an inning later.

After doubling in the fourth and drawing a walk in the sixth, it would all come down to the final frame for the Tennessee native to get the job done.

Facing off against Toronto closer Ken Giles with one out in the ninth, Betts got ahead in the count at 3-1, fouled off a 96.5 MPH fastball right down the middle, which clearly ticked him off and pulled the count to 3-2.

Fortunately, Mookie made an adjustment and made Giles pay for the next pitch he threw, an 86 MPH slider at the top of the zone that the three-time All-Star sent 379 feet to left field to secure the cycle.

The 21st and first cycle from a Red Sox player since Brock Holt accomplished the feat on June 16th, 2015 against the Atlanta Braves, more than three years ago.

On the season now, Betts owns a .347 batting average to go along with 27 home runs and a 1.102 OPS and is pulling closer and closer to becoming the clear cut favorite to win American League MVP.

Full recap of Thursday night’s 8-5 loss is coming tomorrow.

RECAP: Alex Cora Gets Ejected, Steve Pearce Homers Again, and Rick Porcello Tosses Complete Game as #RedSox Take Game Two from Yankees.

One night after taking the opening game of this series against the New York Yankees in blowout fashion on Thursday, the Red Sox were back at it again with another convincing win on Friday.

Rocking the red tops, as is tradition for Friday home games to kickoff the weekend, Rick Porcello had himself a night to remember in one of the biggest games of the season.

Making his 23rd start of the season, Porcello was the only Red Sox hurler to take the mound tonight. He made sure to see this win through to its completion.

Pitching nine full innings, the righty hit the very first batter he saw in Brett Gardner, which led to some drama a few moments later.

After Alex Cora got ejected in the bottom half of the first, which I’ll talk about more down below, Porcello went on to give up just one run on one hit in the final eight frames he appeared in.

That one run, a solo shot off the bat of Yankees’ DH Miguel Andujar on a 0-1 89 MPH changeup in the third, was just about the only mistake the New Jersey native made all evening.

To go along with the lone run, Porcello tied his season-high in strikeouts with nine and sat down the final 21 Yankees he faced to notch his 14th winning decision of the year.

Finishing with an efficient 86 pitches, 79% of which went for strikes, the 10-year veteran relied on his fastball, both two and four-seam, 46 times on the night and topped out at 93.3 MPH with his four-seamer in the second inning.

In two starts against New York at Fenway Park in 2018, the former Cy Young Award winner is 2-0 with zero earned runs in 16 total innings pitched.

He’ll look to build on this success in his next time out, which should come against the Blue Jays up north in Toronto sometime next week.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup may not have put up as many runs as they did on Thursday evening, but they took an early lead and would not have to look back in this win.

Facing off against one of the better pitchers in the American League in Luis Severino, who entered Friday with a 8.84 ERA in his last four starts, Mookie Betts set the tone right away even though he did not reach base.

After Brett Gardner was hit by a pitch in the Yankees half of the first, Severino more than likely retaliated by airing a 96 MPH fastball right by Betts’ head on his first pitch of the night.

Obviously, Mookie, along with the Red Sox dugout, did not take too kindly to that gesture, and Alex Cora ended up getting tossed as a result.

Once the dust settled from that incident and Andrew Benintendi ripped a one out ground-rule double, Steve Pearce, fresh off a three homer game on Thursday, continued to mash by launching ANOTHER home run, this one good for two to put his team’s first runs of the contest on the board.

Three batters later, after Ian Kinsler had singled and swiped second, Eduardo Nunez came through with his second RBI knock in as many days by hitting a bloop single to shallow center to drive in Kinsler from second.

Unfortunately, the newest member of the Red Sox would have to depart from this game with tightness in his left hamstring after he came up gimpy while crossing the plate.

Because of that injury, we did get to see Mookie Betts patrolling a second base, his “natural position”, for the first time since 2014 and made a nice play on the very first ball hit to him in the second.

Anyway, Mitch Moreland, who did not start this game but came in because of the Kinsler injury, wrapped up the scoring for the Red Sox in the fifth, as he drove in JD Martinez from second while collecting his 49th RBI of the season. That made it a 4-1 game and that would be the final score in a game that took two hours and 15 minutes to complete.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 77-34. They are 7.5 games up on the Yankees in the AL East. Talk about damage.

From @SoxNotes: Rick Porcello is the first Red Sox pitcher to allow 1 or 0 hits in a 9.0-inning complete game against the Yankees since Pedro Martinez did so on September 10, 1999.

Having already guaranteed a series split, Nathan Eovaldi gets the start tomorrow afternoon going for the series victory.

A former Yankee, Eovaldi spent two seasons (2015-16) rocking the pinstripes and has only started against New York once in his seven-year career.

He’ll be matched up against rookie Chance Adams for New York, who will be making his big league debut on the biggest stage possible on Saturday.

First pitch of the third game is scheduled for 4:05 PM ET.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some notes from this win:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some notes from this win:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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