Red Sox Activate Brian Johnson from Injured List, Option Sam Travis to Triple-A Pawtucket

Before kicking off a three-game weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, the Red Sox returned left-hander Brian Johnson from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket and activated him from the 10-day injured list. In a corresponding move, first baseman/outfielder Sam Travis was optioned to Triple-A. The club made the transaction official earlier Friday.

Last appearing in a game with the Red Sox way back on April 5th, Johnson has been sidelined the past two-plus months due inflammation in his left elbow.

Now in his second full big league season, the 28-year-old owns a 12.71 ERA and .370 batting average against through four relief appearances in 2019.

While rehabbing with both Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket, Johnson allowed a total of 14 runs (11 earned) on 20 hits and eight walks over six outings (four starts) and 14.2 innings of work.

Those numbers may not look all that promising, but the Florida native did hold the Rochester Red Wings to one run on four hits and two walk to go along with six strikeouts in a four-inning start on June 9th.

With Johnson back in the mix, expect him to get the start against Baltimore on Sunday, as the Sox have yet to announce a starter for that contest.

Sam Travis, meanwhile, was up with Boston for nearly two weeks in his second stint with the big league club so far this season.

The 25-year-old utility man went 2-for-17 with one RBI and a few nice defensive plays this time around, and is currently slashing .167/.167/.167 through eight games played in 2019.

The Red Sox are currently rostering 13 pitchers and 12 position players.

First pitch against the O’s on Friday is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on NESN. Here’s how the Sox will be lining up.

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Red Sox Squander Another Fine Start from Chris Sale as Bullpen Falls Apart in 4-3 Extra Innings Loss to Rangers

After dropping three of four to the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, the Red Sox got the second leg of their eight-game homestand off to a less than promising start, as they fell in their first of four against the Texas Rangers in 11 innings Monday by a final score of 4-3.

Making his 14th start and coming off his best outing of the season for Boston Was Chris Sale, who fanned 12 to the tune of a complete game shutout against the Kansas City Royals this past Wednesday.

This time around, the left-hander put together yet another solid performance, limiting the Rangers to just one unearned run while scattering three hits and one walk to go along with 10 strikeouts in seven quality innings of work Monday.

That lone run came in Texas’ half of the sixth, when a leadoff walk to Rougned Odor, followed by back-to-back punchouts and a successful stolen base attempt on a subpar throw from Sandy Leon that allowed Odor to move up to third, came in to score on a Danny Santana RBI single.

The thing is, Sale may have gotten Santana to whiff on the fifth pitch of the at-bat in a 2-2 count, but home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt appealed to Angel Hernandez at first, and he ruled that the batter held up his swing in time.

And on the very next pitch from the Boston starter, an 83 MPH slider down the heart of the plate, Santana capitalized and plated his team’s first run of the night.

Other than that one mishap though, Sale maintained the dominant form we have been accustomed to seeing from him since about the beginning of May.

He took a perfect game into the fourth, retired 14 of the first 16 hitters he faced, got some help from Sandy Leon,…

….and capped off his outing after a rough sixth inning by retiring the side in order in the seventh with that 10th and final strikeout, marking three straight starts with double-digit K’s.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (67 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his slider more than 39% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing seven swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 97.4 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 35 times and got five swings and misses on, with Leon behind the plate.

Hit with another tough luck no-decision while lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.52, Sale will look to build on what’s been a strong start to June in his next time out, which should come against the Baltimore Orioles this weekend.

In relief of Sale, Brandon Workman came on in the eighth with a 2-1 lead to protect, and he did just that by sitting down the only three Rangers hitters he faced in order to make way for Matt Barnes in the ninth.

Going for his fifth save of the season, Barnes got the first out of the inning fairly quickly on one pitch, but melted down from there, as he yielded back-to-back hits to Santana and Andrus before allowing the then go-ahead run to score on a 3-1 two-run single from Nomar Mazara to make it a 3-2 contest.

The UCONN product would strikeout and intentionally walk the next two hitters faced, and in came Heath Hembree attempting to keep the deficit at one.

All the sudden rising to a key component of Alex Cora’s bullpen, Hembree succeeded in punching out the lone hitter he faced in the ninth before also working a 1-2-3 10th after his team tied things up the inning prior to send it to extras in the first place.

In the 11th, still trying to keep this one knotted at three runs a piece, Ryan Brasier, like Barnes, was dealt a less than favorable blow from Santana and Andrus yet again, with the former leading the frame off with a line drive double and the latter driving him in on an RBI single to give the Rangers a 4-3 advantage, which would turn out to be all they would need.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran left-hander Mike Minor, who has quietly put together an impressive campaign in his second season with Texas. That much was evident Monday.

Andrew Benintendi got the scoring started for Boston right away in the first inning, scoring Mookie Betts as well as himself on his seventh home run of the season, this one a two-run, 420 foot shot to put his side on the board first.

That blast came on Minor’s seventh pitch of the contest, and it would wind up being all the damage done against him.

They had additional chances to add on to those two runs, but could not take advantage of those opportunities.

Such was the case when Mookie Betts reached second with one out in the third, Jackie Bradley Jr. singled to leadoff the fifth, and JD Martinez did the same an inning later. All appeared to set Boston up in a prime spot to score, and nothing came out of it.

Once Minor’s night finally came to a close after eight strong innings of work, the Red Sox came to the plate in their half of the ninth down a run with Rangers reliever Shawn Kelley on the hill.

Consecutive base hits from Martinez, who Michael Chavis pinch-ran for, and Xander Bogaerts to leadoff the frame placed the tying-run in scoring position, and a GIDP off the bat of Rafael Devers advanced said tying-run up to third.

Down to their last out, Sox manager Alex Cora turned to his bench with Sam Travis’ spot in the order due up, and Brock Holt came through in the clutch big time by blooping an opposite field RBI single to left on a 1-1 four-seamer from Kelley, plating Chavis from third to pull his team even.

Holt nearly scored the winning run as well four pitches later on a pinch-hit RBI double from Marco Hernandez, but instead ran through a stop sign from interim third base coach and current assistant hitting coach Andy Barkett and was out by a mile at home, thus sending this one into extras.

There, in the 10th, a one-out single and walk from Leon and Betts, followed up by a two-out free pass drawn by Chavis, filled the bases with Red Sox for Xander Bogaerts against Rangers reliever Jesse Chavez.

Having faced Chavez 12 times in his career before Monday, Bogaerts took the first three pitches he saw, with two being hittable-looking pitches down the heart of the plate, and the other being a ball.

On the fourth pitch he saw from the Rangers right-hander, Bogaerts hacked at an 87 MPH slider outside the strike zone and lined out to center, sending this one to the 11th.

In that 11th, after going down by a run in the top half of the frame, Chris Martin discarded Devers, Holt, and Hernandez in order, and another frustrating night for the Red Sox came to a close in a 4-3 loss.

Some notes from this loss: 

JD Martinez went 2-for-3 with a walk in his first start since June 6th after dealing with back spasms.

Rafael Devers is 0-for-his-last-17.

Matt Barnes in June: Five games, 4.2 innings pitched, 11.57 ERA, .300 batting average against.

Heath Hembree in June: Five games, 3.2 innings pitched, 0.00 ERA, .000 batting average against.

Red Sox with Runners in Scoring Position Monday: 1-for-8. Seven men were left on base. Both are not great!

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll look to bounce back in the second of this four-game set Tuesday night.

The club’s top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez is expected to make his first big league start for Boston, while right-hander Ariel Jurado will get the ball for Texas.

This will mark Hernandez’s third stint with the Sox this season. So far, the 22-year-old left-hander has only made one relief appearance while in the majors, although he has made nine starts with Double-A Portland in 2019.

Jurado, meanwhile, currently sports a 2.78 ERA through 13 appearances (four starts) with the Rangers this season. He has never faced the Red Sox nor pitched at Fenway Park before in his young career.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox need to get back on track.

 

 

 

Red Sox Give up Four Home Runs, Go 1-For-13 with Runners in Scoring Position in 6-1 Loss to Rays

After coming away with a split in a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, the Red Sox were not able to split their four-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, as they fell to their divisional foes by a final score of 6-1 for their third defeat in as many days.

Making his 13th start of the season for Boston to close out the weekend was Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered Sunday having never won any of his previous seven outings against the Rays.

Pitching his way into the sixth inning of this one, the left-hander surrendered four runs, all of which were earned, on seven hits and two walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the afternoon.

Right from the jump, it appeared that Tampa Bay had Rodriguez all figured out, with the first four hitters they sent to the plate all reaching safely sans Tommy Pham trying to extend a wall-ball single into a double and getting snuffed out by Sam Travis.

Still, an RBI knock from Brandon Lowe and a sacrifice fly from Travis d’Arnaud two hitters later gave the Rays an early two-run advantage before the Red Sox had even taken their first at-bats.

In the second, more was tacked on to that lead, with Guillermo Heredia mashing a one-out, 433 foot shot off Rodriguez on a 2-1 86 MPH cutter to make it a 3-0 game.

Fortunately for Boston though, the Venezuela native settled in for a bit, retiring 11 of the next 12 Rays he faced up until the beginning of the sixth.

There, the home run ball bit Rodriguez yet again, this time with Brandon Lowe leading things off with his first of two home-runs on the day. This one, coming off a first-pitch 92 MPH fastball, was deposited a whopping 455 feet into the center field bleachers to put Tampa Bay ahead 4-1.

Allowing two of the last four hitters he faced to reach on a pair of free passes, Rodriguez’s outing came to an end with an eight-pich walk of Christian Arroyo.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (62 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler relied on his cut and two-seam fastball a combined 55% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing four total swings and misses with the combination of pitches. He also topped out at 94.3 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 18 times with Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Falling to 6-4 with his ERA on the season jumping up to 5.00 on the dot, Rodriguez’s career struggles against the Rays continue. He’ll look to put this particular outing behind him in his next time out, which should come against the Baltimore Orioles this Friday.

In relief of Rodriguez, Heath Hembree came on with runners at first and second and one out to get in the sixth, and he filled the bases by plunking Heredia with a 94 MPH fastball before fanning pinch-hitter Ji-Man Choi on five pitches to escape the jam and keep it at a three-run game.

From there, Marcus Walden managed to only record one out to start out the seventh, as he served up a pair of solo shots, one being a leadoff piece from Yandy Diaz, and the other being a 435 foot missile off the bat of Lowe, that gave the Rays a 6-1 advantage.

Colten Brewer was able to clean up the mess Walden left behind in that seventh inning while also tossing a scoreless eighth.

Ryan Brasier, meanwhile, did the same by working his way around a one-out double in an otherwise clean ninth to keep his team within the five runs they trailed by.

On the other side of things, the right-handed Red Sox lineup was matched up against ace left-hander Blake Snell for the Rays, who held Boston to a total of three runs over the four starts he made against them during his Cy Young Award-winning campaign in 2018.

And as those numbers from last year indicate, it was more of the same from Snell on Sunday.

The lone run the Sox got off him came in their half of the second, when with one out and Sam Travis and Jackie Bradley Jr. at the corners following back-to-back leadoff singles, Marco Hernandez stayed hot in his second start since returning from the injured list by driving in Travis with a line-drive RBI single to left field.

The opportunities to tack on more than one run were present throughout, but the ability to capitalize on said scoring chances was not. That much is evident by how the team went 1-for-13 (.008) with runners in scoring position and left a total of nine men on base. Not ideal, really.

Key run-scoring chances that came up empty include Mookie Betts and Christian Vazquez being stranded in scoring position in the first after getting there with no outs, Xander Bogaerts leading off the sixth by reaching second on a fielding error and not scoring, Sandy Leon and Hernandez occupying first and second with one out in the seventh and being stranded there, and Bogaerts reaching first on a five-pitch leadoff walk against Oliver Drake in the eighth and not scoring either.

Fittingly enough, when the Red Sox were down to their out in the ninth with Leon 90 feet away from home after he got on with a one-out single, Mookie Betts struck out looking on a 1-2 95 MPH fastball from Rays lefty Adam Kolarek, and that was how this 6-1 loss came to a close.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox’ 7-9 hitters on Sunday (Bradley Jr., Leon, Hernandez): 6-for-12, one double, one RBI, two strikeouts.

The Red Sox’ 1-3 hitters on Sunday (Betts, Vazquez, Bogaerts): 1-for-11, two walks, four strikeouts.

Marco Hernandez’s return to the majors so far: 4-for-9, two doubles, three RBI.

Michael Chavis in June: .182/.229/.273, zero home runs, three RBI, 17 strikeouts.

So, including the five runs they scored in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Red Sox pushed across a total of nine runs against the Rays in four games over the weekend. They lost three out of four of those.

Next up for the Sox, they’ll continue their eight-game homestand by welcoming the 34-30 Texas Rangers into Fenway Park for the first and only time this regular season on Monday.

For the opener in what looks to be a fascinating four-game set, it will be a pitching matchup featuring two of the better left-handers in the American League this year in Texas’ Mike Minor and Boston’s Chris Sale.

In his second of a three-year pact with the Rangers, Minor has surpised many in 2019, as he’ll come into the week with a 2.55 ERA through his first 13 starts this year.

Over five prior outings (three starts) at Fenway Park, the 31-year-old is 0-3 with a lifetime ERA of 4.19 in 19.1 total innings pitched.

Opposite Minor, Sale is coming off his best start of the season in his last time out against the Kansas City Royals, fanning 12 and tossing an immaculate eighth inning in his first complete game shutout as a member of the Red Sox.

In 14 career games (10 starts) against the Rangers, the Florida native is 7-2 with a 2.28 ERA over 73.1 total innings of work.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT. Red Sox looking to start something.

Red Sox Fall Flat Against Ryan Yarbrough in Second Straight Loss to Rays

After seeing their four-game winning streak come to an end on Friday night, the Red Sox dropped their second straight to the Tampa Bay Rays in the first of a day-night doubleheader Saturday, falling back to 33-31 on the year.

Making his second start and fifth overall appearance this season for Boston was Josh Smith, who was recalled from Triple-Pawtucket to serve as the club’s 26th man for Saturday’s twin bill.

Working his way through the fourth inning of this one, the right-hander surrendered four runs, all of which were earned, on seven hits, one walk, one HBP to go along with three strikeouts on the afternoon.

All four of those Tampa Bay runs came in their half of the second, with Travis d’Arnaud blasting a two-out, three-run home run to put his team on the board first, and Brandon Lowe following that up with an RBI single three batters later to make it a 4-0 game.

From there, Smith only faced the minimum six hitters over his final two frames, with Sam Travis making a fantastic diving play in left and Jackie Bradley Jr. snuffing out Yandy Diaz at second to retire the side in the third.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 83 (49 strikes), the 31-year-old turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 35% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 93.5 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Since he was Boston’s 26th man in this one, Smith will be returned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

In relief of Smith, Colten Brewer walked three in a one-run fifth, Mike Shawaryn punched out three and hit two over a scoreless sixth and seventh, and Ryan Brasier sat down the only three hitters he faced in a 1-2-3 eighth to set up Josh Taylor in the ninth.

Only trailing by a reasonable three runs entering the inning, Taylor seemingly let this contest get away from the Sox, as he yielded six singles, allowed four earned runs, and faced all nine Rays hitters before finally escaping the inning with his team now down 9-2.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Rays left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who came into Saturday with a 6.23 ERA through eight outings (three starts) so far this season.

Despite what those numbers may say,  Yarbrough, like Yonny Chirinos the night before, was essentially lights out, limiting the Boston bats two just two runs on the day.

That first run came courtesy of Sam Travis in the bottom half of the second, when with Christian Vazquez at third following a fielding error that allowed Eduardo Nunez to reach base safely, the 25-year-old ripped a 2-0 changeup from Yarbrough through the middle of the infield, plating Vazquez and getting his team on the board.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, after the Rays starter retired 16 of the preceding 18 Red Sox hitters he faced, Jackie Bradley Jr. broke out of a 2-for-20 skid by mashing his fifth home run of the season, a 427 foot shot off Pesky’s Pole that at the time cut the Rays lead down to three runs.

And although they didn’t stage an epic comeback in the ninth in what would turn out to be a 5-2 loss, it was really cool to see Marco Hernandez back on the field and picking up his first base hit in over two years.

Remember, the 26-year-old underwent surgery on his left shoulder in November of that year and just got back to being able to participating in baseball activities this spring.

He was activated from the 10-day injured list Saturday and went ahead and ripped a double in his first big league at-bat since May 3rd, 2017.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the second game of this day-night doubleheader later on Saturday.

Left-hander David Price will be getting the start against his former team for Boston, while right-hander Ryne Stanek will serve as the opener for Tampa Bay.

First pitch of Game 2 is scheduled for 6:10 PM EDT. Red Sox turning to David Price for an important outing yet again.

 

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.

 

 

David Price Steps Up, Limits Yankees to Two Runs as Red Sox Halt Losing Streak and Avoid Sweep with 8-5 Series Finale Win in New York

After coming up empty-handed in their first four tries, the Red Sox have finally taken a game from the New York Yankees with an 8-5 win over their division rivals Sunday night to avoid the three-game sweep and a double-digit game deficit in the American League East standings.

That much was made possible by David Price, who made his 10th start of the season for Boston to cap off the weekend.

Known for his career struggles inside Yankee Stadium, the left-hander put a halt to that narrative for the time being by twirling 6 1/3 solid innings Sunday, limiting the Yankees to just two runs on six hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts of the night.

Both of those New York runs came around to score in the fourth, where after taking a perfect game that far into it, Price buckled a bit by serving up a one-out solo home run to Luke Voit to break up the no-no, and then proceeded to allow the next three hitters he faced to reach base as well to fill the bases with two outs still to get.

So, after a terrific start to his outing, it looked as though things were going to take a turn for the worst for Price, but the southpaw responded well, yielding only one more run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Gio Urshela before getting out of the jam with a failed attempt of stealing home on behalf of Aaron Hicks. Heads up play by Sam Travis there.

From the middle of the fifth on, Price relatively cruised through the fifth and sixth innings before more trouble arose in the seventh.

There, a pair of singles to two of the first three hitters he faced in that frame would ultimately see Price’s night come to an end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (65 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler turned to his cutter 36% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing five swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.5 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 17 times with Christian Vazquez behind the plate.

Later picking up his third winning decision while his ERA on the season remained at 2.83, Price will look for win number four in his next time out, which will come against his old club in the Tampa Bay Rays sometime next weekend.

In relief of Price, Heath Hembree took over in the seventh with inherited runners on first and second and one out in the inning.

Making his 27th appearance of the year already, Hembree needed all but five pitches to fan Austin Romine, but needed double that in an intense matchup against Brett Gardner.

Fortunately for Boston though, Hembree ultimately won the battle, as he got the Yankees veteran to sharply ground out to Michael Chavis at first, who made a great diving play to prevent a hit that would have seen at least one run cross the board.

In the eighth, Matt Barnes worked in less than favorable conditions with thrashing downpours and lightning making its way through the Bronx. It had to have been a quick moving cell though, because there was no real indication that this contest was going to go into a delay besides the effort what went into making field playable.

Still, it was clear to see that Barnes was frustrated having to pitch in such miserable conditions, even more so since he filled the bases on the first three hitters faced in the inning and balked in a run as well.

But, after allowing two more runs to cross the plate on an RBI groundout from Aaron Hicks and sacrifice fly from Gleyber Torres, Barnes did escape the eighth without giving anything else up by striking out Gio Urshela on three straight strikes.

And in the ninth, with an 8-5 lead to protect, Brandon Workman came on to close the door on the Yankees, and he did just that by working his way around a leadoff single and sitting down the last three hitters he faced to notch his second save of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another veteran left-hander in CC Sabathia for the Yankees, making his first start since being activated from the 10-day injured list that same day.

After being held to just seven total runs in their first four meetings against New York, JD Martinez got the scoring started for Boston right away in this one by launching a two-out, 387 foot solo shot to left field to put his team on the board first with his 12th home run of the season.

An inning later, back-to-back one-out singles from Christian Vazquez and Michael Chavis put runners on the corners for Eduardo Nunez, who took full advantage by swinging at the first pitch he saw from Sabathia and grounding an RBI single through the right side of the infield to make it a 2-0 game early.

In the fourth, Xander Bogaerts led things off the same way he did in the fourth inning on Saturday, that being, demolishing a solo home run to left field. This one, good for his 12th of the season. 3-0 Boston.

Fast forward all the way to the seventh, after the Yankees had trimmed their deficit down to one run and Luis Cessa had taken over for Sabathia, it was the bottom of the Red Sox lineup getting things done once again, with Nunez plating Michael Chavis all the way from first while also advancing to third on another one-out RBI single to go along with a fielding error committed by Clint Frazier in right field.

Four pitches later, in came Brock Holt pinch-hitting for Sam Travis out of the nine-hole and the 2018 ALDS hero delivered with a run-scoring base knock that probably would have been a pop out had DJ LeMahieu not been playing in with a runner at third in a tight game. But, baseball’s baseball, and Holt came away with his fourth RBI of the season to give his team a three-run advantage.

Still in the seventh, with two outs now, Andrew Benintendi came through in a big spot, scoring Holt from first on an RBI single just out of the reach of a sprawling Frazier in right field. 6-2.

And in the eighth, a Xander Bogaerts leadoff double would translate into Boston’s seventh run coming around to score on an RBI single off the bat of Rafael Devers, who would wind up being the last batter Cessa faced.

In came reliever David Hale with his team trailing by five runs, and he would see that deficit inflate up to six thanks to Michael Chavis’ first career triple that drove in Devers from second to make it an 8-2 contest.

The Yankees did make things interesting by adding three runs of their own in their half of the eighth, but not enough in an 8-5 victory for the Red Sox.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox entered Sunday having scored seven runs against the Yankees all season. They scored eight runs in their only win against them thus far.

Since his return from the injured list on May 27th, Brock Holt is 6-for-his-last-18 with one double and three RBI.

In his last 15 games, Xander Bogaerts is slashing .406/.441/.750 with five home runs and 13 RBI.

The next time the Red Sox take on the Yankees will be later this month in London, England.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s an off day on Monday before a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals kicks off at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday.

For the opener of that three-game set, it will be left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston, while right-hander Glenn Sparkman does the same for Kansas City.

Last working on May 26th, Rodriguez’s latest turn through the rotation was skipped due to that rainout on Friday.

In one prior start at Kauffman Stadium, the 26-year-old allowed one run over 6 1/3 innings in a winning effort way back on June 19th, 2015.

Sparkman, meanwhile has given up 10 earned runs in just 2.2 career innings against the Red Sox. That’s good for an ERA of 33.75.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 8:15 PM EDT on NESN.

 

 

 

 

Red Sox Place Steve Pearce on 10-Day Injured List, Recall Sam Travis from Triple-A Pawtucket

After departing from Friday night’s loss against the New York Yankees in the middle of the second inning, the Red Sox on Saturday placed first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce on the 10-day injured list due to a lower back strain.

In Pearce’s place, first baseman/outfielder Sam Travis has been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. The club made the roster move offical earlier Saturday.

According to Sox manager Alex Cora, Pearce left Friday’s game early because of back spasms, and less than a full day later, the 36-year-old veteran was shelved for the second time this year.

Initially opening his first full season with Boston on the injured list due to a left calf injury suffered back in March, Pearce is currently slashing .180/.245/.258 with just one home run and nine RBI through 29 games played and 99 plate appearances in 2019.

The reigning World Series MVP may not have missed much time with that injured calf earlier in the season, but this time around, perhaps it would be wise of the Red Sox to send Pearce out on a rehab assignment so that he could maintain his form that was so valuable to the club last year.

On the other side of this transaction, just like it was in March, Sam Travis has been recalled from the PawSox.

The 25-year-old broke camp this year by making his first big league Opening Day roster and went 2-for-7 with a pair of singles before being optioned down on April 4th.

Through 49 games with Pawtucket this season, Travis is slashing .251/.359/.371 with three home runs and 20 runs driven in.

Without both Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce on the 25-man roster for the time being, expect Michael Chavis, Brock Holt, and of course Travis to see the majority of playing time at first base for the Red Sox.