Brock Holt Comes Through in Clutch with 10th Inning Walk-Off Single as Red Sox Top Royals in Game That Started and Was Suspended on August 7th

It took all of 12 minutes, but the Red Sox picked up where they left off two weeks ago and walked off the Kansas City Royals in a 5-4 extra-innings win on Thursday afternoon.

In a game that initially began on August 7th and went into extras knotted at four runs apiece, weather delayed and eventually suspended play at around 12:40 AM the next morning.

Left-hander Josh Taylor was on the mound for Boston at that time of the delay, down in a 2-1 count against Royals catcher Meibrys Viloria.

Fast forward to Thursday, and Taylor began things the same way, except against the pinch-hitting Nick Dini for Kansas City.

The 26-year-old got the first out of the 10th on a first-pitch lineout off the bat of Dini before punching out the next hitter he faced and getting the last, Bubba Starling, taking the place of current Atlanta Brave Billy Hamilton, on a grounder to short to retire the side.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 13 (seven strikes), Taylor topped out at 94.7 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw five times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Eventually earning his first career winning decision this one, Taylor has proven to be quite the asset out of the Red Sox bullpen this season. In his last 15 appearances, he owns an ERA of 1.76 to go along with 20 strikeouts over 15 1/3 innings of work.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Royals left-handed reliever Richard Lovelady to kick off the bottom half of the 10th.

An Andrew Benintendi strikeout and Christian Vazquez first-pitch double, followed by a change that saw Chris Owings take over for Vazquez at second, brought the pinch-hitting Sam Travis to the plate, who was intentionally put on first with Brock Holt due to hit for Boston.

Holt made the Royals pay dearly for that decision though, as the Jimmy Fund captain took the third pitch he saw from Lovelady, a 1-1, 88 MPH slider on the outer half of the plate, and laced a game-winning RBI single down the left field line to drive in Owings and send everyone home happy with a 5-4 victory.

Some notes from this win:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

It took more than two weeks, but the Red Sox were at last able to take the three-game set from the Royals to improve to 68-61 on the year.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s another three-city west coast road trip, beginning with a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on Friday.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez is set to get the ball in the opener for Boston, while rookie right-hander Chris Paddack will do the same for San Diego.

Rodriguez was borderline brilliant in his last time out against the Baltimore Orioles, tossing 7 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball in a shutout win.

In his career in interleague play, the 26-year-old owns a lifetime 3.61 ERA and .257 batting average against over 13 starts and 77 1/3 innings pitched. He is also a lifetime 0-for-13 hitter with one seven strikeouts and one sacrifice bunt.

Paddack, meanwhile, has had an impressive rookie campaign overall, but has struggled a bit since the All-Star break, posting a 4.96 ERA and .223 batting average against over his last six starts and 32 2/3 innings of work.

Against American League clubs this season, the 23-year-old is 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA in three starts and 17 1/3 total innings pitched against the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, and Baltimore Orioles.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 10:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to snap a two-game losing streak, technically.

Red Sox Select Chris Owings from Triple-A Pawtucket, Option Hector Velazquez in Slew of Roster Moves

Before closing out their four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday afternoon, the Red Sox announced that utility infielder Chris Owings was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

In a pair of corresponding moves, right-hander Hector Velazquez was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Owings on Boston’s 25-man roster, while first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce was transferred to the 60-day injured list to make room for Owings on the 40-man roster. The club made the transactions official earlier Sunday.

Owings, who will turn 28 on Monday, inked a minor-league pact with the Sox back on June 17th after being released by the Kansas City Royals earlier in the month.

The South Carolina native slashed .133/.193/.222 with two home runs and nine RBI over 40 games with Kansas City this season before his release.

Making his debut with the PawSox on June 20th, Owings impressed in a similar sample size, as he put together a .325/.385/.595 slash line to go along with 11 homers and 34 RBI over 44 International League contests. He also had a stretch where he homered in six straight games from July 20th until July 26th.

Known more for his defense and versatility than his offense, Owings will bat leadoff and start at second in his Red Sox debut on Sunday.

On the other side of this transaction, Hector Velazquez was optioned back down to Triple-A Pawtucket just three days after being called up on Thursday.

The 30-year-old allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits over two appearances and two total innings of work in his fourth stint with Boston this season.

As for Pearce, who has been out of commission since June after suffering a setback while on a rehab assignment with the PawSox, his transferal to the 60-day IL was more of a formality than anything.

First pitch against the Angels on Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN.

Series Finale Between Red Sox and Royals Suspended Due to Rain, Game Will Resume on August 22nd

After waiting out a near two-hour rain delay that began late Wednesday night and trickled into early Thursday morning, the series finale between the Red Sox and Royals at Fenway Park has been suspended in the top half of the 10th inning. Per the Red Sox’ official Twitter account, the game will resume on Thursday, August 22nd at 1:05 PM EDT.

As things stood before the weather delay went into effect on Wednesday, left-hander Josh Taylor was on the mound for Boston and Meibrys Viloria was at the plate for Kansas City, up in the count at 2-1 with the bases empty and no outs in the 10th.

The Red Sox were supposed to have the 22nd off after heading out to San Diego to begin an eight-game west coast trip against the Padres, but will now have to make that cross-country flight a day later.

As for the Royals, they begin a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit on Thursday, so they could not stick around in Boston any longer.

Both the Sox and Royals shared off days on the 22nd, so that date obviously works for the two sides. Kansas City will be making a quick pit stop in Boston in between road series’ against the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians.

First(?) pitch on the 22nd is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT.

With that settled, the Sox welcome in the Los Angeles Angels for a four-game weekend set beginning on Thursday night.

Left-hander Chris Sale will get the ball for Boston in the opener of that series, while fellow southpaw Dillon Peters will do the same for Los Angeles.

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

Andrew Cashner Gets Taken Deep Three Times as Red Sox Fall to Lowly Royals

After snapping an eight-game losing streak with a 7-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Monday, the Red Sox were unable to gain any momentum from that win, as they dropped the middle game of this three-game set by a final score of 6-2 to fall back to 60-56 on the season.

Making his fifth start for Boston and 22nd of the season as a whole was Andrew Cashner, who came into the week having only faced off against divisional opponents since being acquired from the Baltimore Orioles last month.

Working into the sixth inning of this one, the right-hander surrendered six runs, all of which were earned, on seven hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

The first two of those Royals runs came across on one swing of the bat in the top half of the fourth, when with two outs and a runner at first, Cashner served up a two-run mammoth shot to Jorge Soler on a first-pitch, 94 MPH four-seam fastball on the inner half of the plate.

The Texas native had been cruising up until that point, retiring nine of the first 11 hitters he faced before walking Hunter Dozier on seven pitches to set up Soler in that spot.

A Cheslor Cuthbert ground out Cashner out of the fourth, but the home run ball came back to bite him an inning later, when Ryan O’Hearn led things off in the fifth by crushing a solo homer to right off a 3-2, 85 MPH changeup at the top of the zone to make it a 3-1 game.

In the sixth, a Whit Merrifield single, followed by a Cashner wild pitch and Alex Gordon groundout to short, set up Dozier in a prime run-scoring spot with a runner at third, and he capitalized with an RBI single to right. 4-1.

With Soler due up next to hit for Kansas City, Cashner remained in the game and proceeded to give up another two-run shot to the Royals slugger, this one coming off a 1-0, 87 MPH slider down the middle of the plate.

That put the lowly Royals up 6-1, and a single off the bat of Cuthbert would signal the end of the line for Cashner.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 83 (58 strikes), the 32-year-old hurler relied on his four-seamer nearly 46% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 96.2 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 10-7 while raising his ERA on the year up to 4.68, Cashner’s first five starts with the Red Sox have been far from memorable.

Since the beginning of play of on July 16th, Cashner has given up six home runs in 28 2/3 innings pitched. Compare that to just the 11 homers he gave up in 96 1/3 innings pitched as an Oriole, and it becomes clear that something isn’t quite right.

Regardless, Cashner’s next start should come against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

In relief of Cashner, Josh Taylor entered the top of the sixth with one runner on and two outs to get, and he got both of those outs with the help of a 4-6-3 double play started by Michael Chavis off a ground ball from O’Hearn.

Taylor also worked his way around a two-out walk in a scoreless seventh before making way for Marcus Walden in the eighth.

There, Walden received some great help from a sprawling Chavis on a pop fly off the bat of Dozier while also walking one in another scoreless frame of relief.

And in the ninth, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez came on for his 11th appearance out of the Red Sox ‘pen, and he punched out the side on 20 pitches to keep the deficit at four runs.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Royals right-hander Jakob Junius, who only had one prior start at Fenway Park under his belt before Tuesday.

Kicking off the scoring in the bottom half of the third, Andrew Benintendi got his side on the board first by knocking in Rafael Devers from second on a two-out bloop of an RBI single to right.

Brock Holt managed to move Benintendi up to third on a single of his own, but Christian Vazquez could not come through, as he flew out to center to strand Benintendi and Holt at the corners.

An inning later, after falling behind by a run in the top half of the fourth, Devers had the chance to take that lead back with two outs and runners at first and second following a Betts walk.

Instead, the 23-year-old flew out to center on the first pitch he saw from Junis, thus extinguishing another threat.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, with reliever Richard Lovelady in for Kansas City and the Red Sox trailing by five runs, and J.D. Martinez broke up a string of 10 straight Boston hitters being retired by lacing a leadoff ground-rule double down the right field line.

Neither Benintendi nor Holt were able to do anything with that, but Vazquez cut the deficit down to four runs with a line-drive RBI single to left-center.

That made it a 6-2 contest in favor of Kansas City, and that would go on to be Tuesday’s final score after Vazquez was stranded at second and Chavis, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Betts were retired in order by Ian Kennedy in the ninth.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday. They left eight men on base as a team.

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

So, the Red Sox are 1-9 in their last 10 games and now stand 6 1/2 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot.

They still have the chance to take this series from the Royals on Wednesday, but you have to beat inferior teams at home. Playing .500 baseball at Fenway Park is simply not a sustainable model of success.

With that, it will be left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston in the series finale, while right-hander Glenn Sparkman will do the same for Kansas City.

Rodriguez took the loss in his last time out against the New York Yankees this past Friday, allowing four earned runs over 6 2/3 innings of work to mark his worst start in terms of runs given up since June 24th.

In his career against the Royals, the 26-year-old owns a lifetime 5.46 ERA and .285 batting average against over six starts and 31 1/3 innings pitched. That includes an outing back on June 4th at Kauffman Stadium, where he held the opposition to two runs over 5 2/3 innings to pick up the win.

Sparkman, meanwhile, has yielded 14 earned runs over his last two starts and 9 2/3 innings to raise his ERA on the season up to 5.58.

The 27-year-old also opposed Rodriguez in that June 4th tilt, and he too put together a solid performance where he allowed just one run over 5 1/3 innings of work.

Sparkman has never pitched at Fenway Park.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez Both in Red Sox Lineup for Second Game Against Royals

After one was a late scratch and the other was an early departure in the opener of a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals on Monday, both J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts are in the Red Sox’ lineup for the middle game on Tuesday.

Martinez was initially slated to start at designated hitter and bat cleanup on Monday, but was later scratched due to back soreness.

Betts, meanwhile, was 0-for-2 with a pair of walks and runs scored before being removed in the eighth inning on Monday after taking a foul ball off his left shin in the bottom half of the seventh.

The 26-year-old was able to stay in to draw his second walk and eventually come in to score his second run, but could not remain in the game defensively.

Later ruled with a left shin contusion, Betts told reporters postgame Monday that everything is perfectly normal and he would be good to go for Tuesday.

That much turned out to be true, as Betts will be leading off against Jakob Junis and the Royals while Martinez will bat third with Xander Bogaerts presumably getting a day off.

In their careers against Kansas City, Betts owns a lifetime .358/.409/.657 slash line to go along with 10 home runs and 22 RBI over 32 games played, while Martinez owns a lifetime .302/.362/.527 slash line to go along with 12 home runs and 38 RBI over 74 games played.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Andrew Cashner gets the ball for the Red Sox.

Rick Porcello Allows One Run over Six Strong Innings as Red Sox Halt Losing Streak at Eight Games with 7-5 Victory over Royals

At long last, the Red Sox have won a baseball game, as they opened a seven-game homestand on Monday with a 7-5 win over the Kansas City Royals to halt their losing streak at eight.

Making his 23rd start of the season for Boston to begin the new week was Rick Porcello, coming off a month of July where he went 4-1 despite allowing 25 earned runs over his last five starts and 28 1/3 innings pitched.

Tossing six full innings in this one, the right-hander surrendered just one earned run on four hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night, marking the first time since Friday that a Sox starter had made it to the sixth.

That lone Kansas City tally came in the top half of the sixth inning, when with two outs and the bases empty, Porcello served up a solo home run to Cheslor Cuthbert off a 1-2, 84 MPH slider on the outer half of the plate.

The New Jersey native had retired nine of the the last 10 hitters he faced before giving up that bomb to make it a 4-1 contest, but Porcello did not falter, as he got Ryan O’Hearn to pop out to first to end the frame and thus end his evening on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (67 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball more than 31% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing three swings and misses and topping out at 93.2 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately improving to 10-8 while lowering his ERA on the year down to 5.54, Porcello now has quality starts in two of his last three outings, both of which have come at Fenway Park. He’ll look to keep that trend going in his next time out, which should come against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday.

In relief of Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi entered the seventh with a three-run lead to protect, and he, in his first action since Friday, saw that lead shrink to two by giving up a one-out solo homer to Meibrys Viloria off an 0-2, 97 MPH heater at the top of the zone.

That made it a 4-2 game, but Eovaldi rebounded well enough to strand another runner at first following a two-out walk and get out of the inning with the two-run lead still intact.

Matt Barnes came in right after his team had gone up 7-2 in the bottom of the seventh only to give all three of those runs back on a three-run homer off the bat of Bubba Starling. Granted, it was a bit of a Fenway Park special, as it only traveled 332 feet and had an expected batting average of .040, but it was good for three runs nonetheless, and that cut Boston’s lead down to 7-5.

Like Eovaldi, Barnes was also able to recover by punching out Viloria on five pitches, making way for Brandon Workman in the ninth.

There, Workman allowed the tying run to come to the plate following a Whit Merrifield one-out double, but ultimately finished things off by getting Alex Gordon to ground out to first before striking Dozier out on six pitches to secure the 7-5 victory and notch his sixth save of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against left-hander Mike Montgomery, someone who had surrendered 10 runs in his first three starts as a Royal since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs last month.

Kicking the scoring off in the bottom half of the third after Xander Bogaerts was called out at home for the final out of the first, Bogaerts made up for his earlier mistake by lacing a hard-hit grounder to Nicky Lopez over at short, one hit so hard that the rookie infielder could not field it cleanly, and that allowed Mookie Betts to score from third for his side’s first run.

Two batters later, with two outs in the frame and Rafael Devers at third, Sam Travis unloaded on a 2-1, 92 MPH sinker from Montgomery and sent it a booming 429 feet over the Green Monster to make it a 3-0 game.

Fast forward to the fifth, Rafael Devers put his opposite field power on display, as he deposited a one-out, 1-0, 77 MPH curveball 364 feet to left for his 23rd big fly of 2019. 4-0.

And in the seventh, Sandy Leon and Betts both greeted new Royals reliever Tim Hill by reaching base on a leadoff walk and single, allowing Devers to move Leon up to third on a fly out to right field.

Another Kansas City pitching change saw right-hander Scott Barlow take over for Hill, and he proved to be pretty wild, as he let Leon coast in from third in the process of walking Bogaerts on four straight pitches.

With runners at first and second now, Andrew Benintendi came to the plate having faced off against Barlow on three separate occasions before Monday, and he came through by dropping to one knee and ripping a two-run double through the right side of the infield.

That two-RBI double put the Red Sox ahead 7-2, and after the Royals made things a bit interesting in the eighth, 7-5 would go on to be Monday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Mookie Betts had to be removed from Monday’s game before the start of the eighth inning after taking a foul ball off his left shin in the bottom of the seventh. He was later diagnosed with a left shin contusion and has been ruled day-to-day, but is expected to be good to go for Tuesday. This comes on the same night that J.D. Martinez was scratched from Boston’s starting lineup due to back soreness.

From Red Sox Notes:

Andrew Benintendi’s last 15 games: .415/.433/.785 with five homers and 17 RBI.

With the Red Sox winning on Monday night and the Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics, and Tampa Bay Rays all losing, the Sox are back to within 5 1/2 games back of the Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Now that that eight-game nightmare is done and over with, the Red Sox should adopt a one-game-at-a-time kind of mentality for the remaining two months of the 2019 season.

As things stand right now, the defending World Series champions are viewed as long shots to make it back to the postseason. That much is evident by how Fangraphs is giving the Sox just a 20.4% chance to get back to October baseball.

With that, Boston needs to take advantage of all the doubt surrounding them.

It starts with this soft spot in their schedule, but picks up next week when they head to Cleveland for a pivotal three-game series against the Indians.

Many have said that the Red Sox are done. I’m saying that they are 1-0 in their last one game.

Anyway, this series against the Royals picks up again on Tuesday night, with right-hander Andrew Cashner getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Jakob Junis doing the same for Kansas City.

This will be Cashner’s first start as a member of the Red Sox where he is not facing off against a division rival.

In his career against the Royals, the 32-year-old owns a lifetime 3.29 ERA and .271 batting average against over five prior starts and 27 1/3 innings pitched.

Junis, meanwhile, has surrendered 11 earned runs over 26 innings in four starts since the All-Star break. That’s good for an ERA of 3.81.

In one prior start at Fenway Park, Junis took the no-decision while allowing two runs on seven hits over six quality innings in a game the Royals eventually won back on May 1st, 2018.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to make it two wins in a row.

 

 

Red Sox Sign Former Royals and Diamondbacks Utility Man Chris Owings to Minor-League Deal

Per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, the Red Sox signed veteran utility man Chris Owings to a minor-league contract Monday.

Owings, 27, signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Kansas City Royals last December and slashed .133/.193/.222 with two home runs and nine RBI over 40 games played before being designated for assignment and eventually released on June 4th.

Initially selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the 2009 amateur draft, Owings spent six big league seasons in the desert, posting a .250/.291/.378 slash line to go along with 31 homers and 196 runs driven in.

A native of South Carolina, Owings is capable of playing all around the field with experience at second base, shortstop, third base, and all three outfield positions.

Despite the poor numbers he has amassed with Kansas City this year, Owings can still provide the Red Sox with solid minor league depth at Triple-A Pawtucket once he gets there from Fort Myers.

Mookie Betts Homers, Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez Drive in a Pair of Runs Each as Red Sox Use Seven Different Pitchers in 7-5 Win to Finish off Sweep of Royals

After utterly dominating the Royals behind Chris Sale’s comeplete game shutout Wednesday night, it was a completely different story for the Red Sox in Kansas City on Thursday, as they had to battle their way to a gritty 7-5 victory in the series finale to complete the three-game sweep.

Making his third start of the season for Boston and first since May 29th was Ryan Weber, who had never pitched against the Royals or inside Kauffman Stadium in his career before Thursday.

Working into just the second inning of this one, the right-hander yielded more hits than he recorded outs, as he surrendered two runs, both earned, on five hits and no walks to go with one lone strikeout on the afternoon.

A scoreless first was not the problem for Weber, but a string of four straight one-out Royals hits was.

It began with a solo home run from Cheslor Cuthbert and was followed up by back-to-back singles before Billy Hamilton ripped an RBI double to left to make it a 2-0 game early on.

Only facing nine hitters in total, Weber’s day would come to a quick close after giving up that run-scoring two-bagger to the speedy Hamilton.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 33 (23 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his sinking fastball nearly 64% of the time he was on the mound Thursday. He also topped out at 88.5 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw twice and got one swing and miss on with Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

Having allowed nine runs to cross the plate in his last 5 1/3 innings of work since that wonderful job he did in Toronto on the 23rd of May, Weber’s time in Boston’s rotation may be done for the time being. With Nathan Eovaldi still out for the foreseeable future though, spot starts are needed, so who knows? If I were to guess, I would say the righty makes an appearance out of the Sox bullpen in their upcoming doubleheader against the Rays this coming Saturday.

Anyway, in relief of Weber, the Red Sox bullpen had their work cut out for them in this one, and Colten Brewer got first dibs at that by coming on with runners in scoring position and two outs to get in the second.

Fortunately for Boston, he got out of the jam just fine, as he stranded said runners at second and third before tossing a 1-2-3 third inning as well.

In the fourth, three of the first four hitters Brewer faced reached off the right-hander, meaning the Royals had the bases loaded with one out in a contest they now trailed by two.

So, in came Marcus Walden looking to put out another fire, and he, like Brewer before him, retired Whit Merrifield and Adelberto Mondesi on a combined five pitches to put an end to the fourth with the bases left full of stranded runners.

Walden continued on by working through the fifth, where he served up a one-out solo shot to Jorge Soler in an otherwise clean frame of relief.

From there, Ryan Brasier scattered two singles in a shutout sixth inning, Josh Taylor worked his way around an Alex Gordon leadoff homer in a one-run seventh for KC while also allowing a leadoff double to Nicky Lopez in the eighth, making way for Heath Hembree.

Hembree, making his 29th appearance of the year, stranded that runner in scoring position by getting Cam Gallagher, Hamilton, and Merrifield out in order to set up Matt Barnes in the ninth.

Coming on in what was initially a 7-4 contest, Barnes did allow the tying run to come to the plate for Kansas City after giving up an RBI double to Soler to make it a two-run game, but ultimately settled in by fanning the last two Royals he faced to pick up his fourth save of the seasn and his side’s fourth straight win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a fairly familiar opponent in the form of Royals left-hander Danny Duffy, who had faced off against the Sox seven times before Thursday.

Like Boston’s starter in this one though, Duffy did not last long, as he took a 110 MPH comebacker from Eduardo Nunez off his left knee for the final out of the second inning.

Still remaining in this one to start the third, it was clear that the left-hander was hampered. That much was evident in how he nailed Jackie Bradley Jr. in the back of the helmet on the very first pitch he threw in the frame.

Fortunately, Bradley Jr. was fine, and his HBP would end up being the catalyst for a four-run inning, with Mookie Betts mashing a two-run shot for his team’s first two runs of the day shortly thereafter. His 10th of the season.

Four hitters later, with Andrew Benintendi and JD Martinez both in scoring position, Rafael Devers stayed hot and untied this contest with a two-run, 112 MPH double to center, plating both runners while simultaneously giving Duffy the hook.

Fast forward to the seventh, the Royals bullpen was keeping things in check up until Xander Bogaerts drew a one-out walk off Scott Barlow.

A three-pitch punchout of Sam Travis, hitting in Martinez’s spot, followed by an intentional walk of Devers, meant that Kansas City was just one out away from getting out still trailing by one, but Christian Vazquez had different plans.

On the third pitch he saw from Barlow, a 96 MPH fastball down the middle, the Sox backstop didn’t hesitate and wound up with a two-run triple that fell between Hamilton and Merrifield in right-center field.

Both Bogaerts and Devers managed to score on the play, and just like that, the Red Sox had themselves with a three-run lead, which quickly inflated to four with Vazquez himself scoring his team’s final run of the afternoon on a wild pitch from Barlow with Michael Chavis at the plate.

That mishap put the Red Sox up 7-3, and after the Royals made things interesting with two runs of their own, 7-5 would go on to be Thursday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

JD Martinez left Thursday’s game in the fifth inning due to back spasms. He has been ruled day-to-day.

Eduardo Nunez in June so far: 6-for-9 with one home run, four RBI, and one stolen base.

No one in Thursday’s Red Sox lineup outside of Nunez had more than one hit, but they still scored seven runs anyway.

Rookie right-hander Mike Shawaryn could have made his major league debut Thursday in relief of Weber, but Sox manager Alex Cora decided not to use him in a close game.

Finishing off a seven-game road trip with a sweep is always nice, and now the Red Sox will head back home winners of their last four for a decently important four-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend.

As things stand now, the Rays sit five games ahead of Boston in the American League East standings, so these next three days present a fine opportunity for the Red Sox to gain some ground in their own division.

Right-hander Rick Porcello will get the start for Boston in the series opener Friday, while fellow righty Yonny Chirinos will do the same for Tampa Bay.

Porcello struggled mightily in his last time out against the Yankees, but that was coming off a nine-start stretch in which the New Jersey native posted a 3.72 ERA over 56 innings of work.

In 29 career starts against the Rays, Porcello owns a lifetime 3.42 ERA in 187 innings pitched.

Opposite Porcello, Chirinos has started six of the 12 games he has appeared in for Tampa Bay this season, putting up an ERA of 3.25 over that stretch.

In four previous meetings against Boston, two of which were starts, the 25-year-old owns a career 4.24 ERA in a 17 inning sample size.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT. Red Sox looking to extend their winning streak to five.

 

 

Chris Sale Tosses Second Immaculate Inning of Season in Complete Game Shutout as Red Sox Top Royals for Third Straight Win

After opening up a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals with a commanding 8-3 win on Tuesday, the Red Sox continued their recent run of success at Kauffman Stadium with another dominating performance in an 8-0 shutout victory Wednesday.

Making his 13th start of the season and 300th for his big league career for Boston was Chris Sale, fresh off an underwhelming four-run, 10-strikeout outing against the Yankees to close his month of May.

This time around though, the left-hander got his June off to a rocking start, as he completely shut the door on the Royals with nine scoreless innings Wednesday, scattering just three hits and zero walks to go along with 12 strikeouts on the night.

Right from the jump, Sale appeared to be locked in. It was a warm, humid night in KC, so perhaps that played into his stellar command of the strike zone, which we’ll touch on a little later.

Never facing more than four hitters in an inning, Sale did receive some assistance from his defense along the way, with Xander Bogaerts making a fantastic cross-body throw to get the speedy Adalberto Mondesi out at first in the first,…

….Sandy Leon ending the third by picking Whit Merrifield off at first as he was retreating towards the bag after reaching on a two-out single,…(right video, wrong caption)

…and Rafael Devers making a fine play over at third to rob Mondesi of yet another infield single in the fourth inning.

Ultimately retiring the last 15 hitters he faced beginning in the bottom half of the sixth, the real highlight showcasing just how dominant Sale was in this one came two innings later.

With the 6-7-8 portion of Kansas City’s lineup due up, the Florida native needed nine pitches, all of which were strikes, to complete his eighth frame of work, marking his second immaculate inning of the season already on June 5th, less than a month after his first against the Orioleson May 8th.

From there, Sale sat down Billy Hamilton, Terrance Gore, and Mondesi in order, and that wrapped up his first complete game shutout of the season and first complete game since last May.

Finishing with a relatively efficient final pitch count of 102 (75 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his slider more than 34% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing five swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 97.7 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 29 times and got six whiffs on with Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Finally able to notch that elusive second win while loweing his ERA below four for the first time this season at 3.84, Sale will go for win number three in his next time out against the Texas Rangers sometime next week.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Royals right-hander Jakob Junis, someone many on the team had only seen once before Wednesday.

Following a contest where they were held in check early on the night before, it was the opposite for Boston in this one, with Rafael Devers driving in his side’s first run on a first inning one-out RBI groundout to plate Mookie Betts from third for the quick 1-0 lead.

Two batters later, the red-hot Brock Holt extended his hitting streak to seven games with yet another RBI base knock, this one driving in Devers from third to make it a 2-0 game beofre the Royals had even taken their first at-bats.

Fast forward to the fifth, and Devers collected his second RBI in what would turn out to be a productive evening on a one-out, run-scoring double allowing Andrew Benintendi, who led the inning off with a two-bagger himself, to come in from second. 3-0.

After Xander Bogaerts drew a five-pitch walk, Brock Holt reached first on an infield single, and Michael Chavis fanned for the second out of the inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. came to the plate for the second time with the chance to blow this one open, and he did just that by unloading on a 1-1 slider from Junis and ripping a bases-clearing, three-run opposite field double to left field, scoring Devers, Bogaerts, and Holt to give the Red Sox a brand new six-run advantage.

And in the seventh, Devers led things off by swinging at the first pitch he saw from Jorge Lopez, and he deposited a 95 MPH fastball on the inner half of the plate and sent it 425 feet out into the center field seats. His ninth home run of the season.

Three of the next four Red Sox hitters reached base to once again fill the bases for Sandy Leon, who took responsibility for his team’s final tally of the night by plating Holt from third on an RBI sacrifice fly hit deep enough to center field. That put Boston ahead 8-0, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score shortly thereafter.

Some notes from this win:

Since the start of May, Chris Sale is averaging 14.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

Chris Sale’s immaculate inning was the 96th in baseball’s history.

Chris Sale is the first pitcher since Lefty Grove in 1928 to throw an immaculate inning twice in the same season.

From MLB Stats:

Brock Holt’s last seven games since returning from the injured list: 11-for-25 with five RBI.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the series finale of this three-game set with an early start Thursday afternoon.

Right-hander Ryan Weber is expected to get the ball for Boston, while lefty Danny Duffy will do the same for Kansas City. Boston’s 12th-ranked prospect Mike Shawaryn, recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket last Thursday, is also expected to make his big league debut in a relief role.

Since joining the Sox’ starting rotation on May 23rd, we have seen the good and the bad from Weber. The 28-year-old shined in his first start against the Blue Jays, but struggled mightily against the Indians in his last time out May 29th.

Duffy, meanwhile, currently sits at 3-2 with a 4.05 ERA through seven starts for the Royals this season, but he has surrendered 10 runs, seven of which were earned, over his last two outings.

In seven career starts against the Red Sox, Duffy has posted a lifetime 6.75 ERA over 37.1 total innings pitched. He is 0-5 in those starts.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 1:15 PM EDT. Red Sox looking to cap off the road trip with a three-game sweep.

 

 

 

Eduardo Nunez’s Eighth Inning Pinch-Hit, Three-Run Home Run Powers Red Sox to 8-3 Win over Royals in Eduardo Rodriguez’s 100th Career Start

After salvaging their series against the New York Yankees on Sunday and enjoying an off day on Monday, the Red Sox headed down to Kansas City, Mo., where they took the first of three from a struggling Royals team by a final score of 8-3 Tuesday.

Making his 12th start of the season, his first since May 26th due to that rainout in the Bronx last week, and 100th of his career for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered Tuesday with just one prior outing at Kauffman Stadium under his belt going back to 2015.

Pitching into the sixth inning of this one, the left-hander yielded just two runs, both of which were earned, on six hits and zero walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

Both of those Kansas City runs came in their half of the second, when with one out and Alex Gordon at second following a leadoff double, Cheslor Cuthbert hammered an 0-1 cutter from Rodriguez and sent it 390 feet to the Red Sox bullpen to give his team the early two-run advantage.

Other than that one blip though, Rodriguez retired five of the next six hitters he faced before a pair of double of double plays helped him get through the fourth and fifth.

In what would turn out to be his final frame of work in the sixth, Rodriguez managed to record the first two outs of the inning on a pair of punchouts while also giving up a one-out single to the speedy Adalberto Mondesi, who swiped second shortly after reaching base.

So, with a runner in scoring position in what was a one-run game at the time, Sox manager Alex Cora decided to turn to his bullpen with the right-handed Jorge Soler due up next for Kansas City.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (60 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball more than 33% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing six swings and misses and topping out at 94.4 MPH with the pitch. He also got eight called strikes on said fastball with Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

Ultimately earning his sixth winning decision while lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.88, Rodriguez, visibly frustrated after getting the hook in this one, will look for win number seven in his next time out, which should come against the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend.

In relief of Rodriguez, as previously mentioned, Heath Hembree came on with one runner on second and one out to get in the sixth, and he did his job by getting Soler to fly out to right-center to retire the side.

From there, Marcus Walden worked his way around a one-out walk in a scoreless seventh, Brandon Workman sat down the only three hitters he faced in a shutout eighth, and Ryan Brasier allowed one seemingly meaningless run on one hit in the ninth to lock down the 8-3 win for his team.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Royals right-hander Glenn Sparkman, who came into Tuesday night with a career 33.75 ERA against Boston, albeit a small sample size.

Facing off against Sparkman for the first time ever as a starter, it took the Sox bats a little while to get going. Sure, the hard contact was certainly there, but the results did not come until the sixth.

There, already in a two-run hole, Mookie Betts would turn out to be the catalyst for a three-run inning with a leadoff double.

Following an Andrew Benintendi fly out and a pitching change that saw right-hander Scott Barlow take over for Sparkman, JD Martinez finally got his team on the board, as he launched what looked to be a two-run home run to the opposite field.

Instead, the ball landed on the inner half of the top part of the wall, and fell back in play, going for an RBI triple that plated Betts from second.

After a six-pitch walk drawn by Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts came through with an RBI sacrifice fly deep enough to right field to score Martinez from third and tie this contest up at two runs a piece.

That stalemate would not last long though, not with Brock Holt extending his hitting streak to six games with an RBI double off of Barlow to drive in Devers all the way from first and give the Red Sox their first lead of the night.

Fast forward to the eighth, with runners on the corners and one out in the inning, Eduardo Nunez came on to pinch-hit for Holt with the left-handed Jake Diekman in for the Royals.

On the fourth pitch he saw from Diekman, in very similar fashion to Game 1 of last year’s World Series, Nunez unloaded on an 85 MPH slider on the outer edge of the plate and deposited it 410 feet into the seats in left field.

That blast, Nunez’s second of the year, opened up a 6-2 lead for Boston, and a two-run double off the bat of Devers that nearly got out of the ballpark in the ninth cushioned that lead even further in what would turn out to be an 8-3 win for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Stats:

Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to seven games Tuesday. Over that span, he  has lifted his batting average from .284 to .304 and his OPS from .870 to .928.

Over his last six games since returning from the injured list, Brock Holt is 8-for-20 with two doubles and four RBI.

Eduardo Nunez is 3-for-6 as a pinch hitter this season.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of this three-game set on Wednesday night. Left-hander Chris Sale will get the ball for Boston, while right-hander Jakob Junis will do the same for Kansas City.

At 1-7 on the season thus far, 2019 has definitely been a bit of an oddity for Sale. In 17 previous appearances (11 starts) at Kauffman Stadium, the Sox ace is 6-5 with a lifetime 3.05 ERA over 88.2 total innings pitched.

Opposite Sale, Junis, 26, currently owns a 5.35 ERA through 12 starts this season. The Royals are 5-7 in those games.

In one previous matchup against the Red Sox back in 2018, Junis allowed two runs over six innings while being hit with the no-decision in a game Kansas City won.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 8:15 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their third consecutive victory.