Red Sox Blow 16th Save of Season, Fail to Sweep White Sox in Demoralizing 8-7 Loss

After coming from behind in a 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, the Red Sox opened the official second half of the 2019 season by nearly completing the three-game sweep over the South Siders, but instead blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning on Wednesday and fell by a final score of 8-7 in their final contest before heading to London for the weekend.

Making his 17th start of the season for Boston, Chris Sale was not his usual self to begin things in the series finale, but he settled in towards the end.

Tossing six full innings in this one, the left-hander surrendered five runs, all earned, on six hits, two HBPs, and one walk to go along with exactly 10 strikeouts on the afternoon.

All five of those Chicago runs came within Sale’s first three frames of work, with the first four batters of the ballgame all reaching base safely while plating their side’s first two runs.

In the third, a leadoff home run off the bat of backstop James McCann, as well as a two-out RBI infield single from Ryan Cordell to score Jon Jay, who was hit by a pitch, from third made it a 5-2 game. The thing is, that fifth run never would have crossed the plate had Michael Chavis turned his attention towards home instead of focusing on the first base umpire after Cordell beat out that infield single. But, a rookie made a rookie mistake, and Jay took full advantage.

Following that whole sequence, Sale locked in and proceeded to retire the next 10 hitters he faced in order leading into the middle of the sixth inning, the point in which his outing came to a close on a much more positive note than it seemed destined to earlier.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 102 (71 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball more than 43% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing 10 swings and misses and topping out at 97.4 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Hit with another no-decision, Sale’s streak of regular season starts without a win at Fenway Park now stands at 12, with the last one coming on July 11th, 2018 against the Texas Rangers. He’ll look for better overall results and to lower his 3.82 ERA in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays next weekend.

In relief of Sale, Marcus Walden came into the seventh with his side in a two-run hole, and he added on to that deficit by giving up one run on a Jose Abreu one-out RBI single in his lone inning of work.

Steven Wright, making his 2019 season debut after being activated from the restricted list on Tuesday, maneuvered around a one-out, runners on the corners in a two-run game situation by getting the pinch-hitting Yonder Alonso to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

And in the ninth, after the Red Sox had climbed their way back and taken a 7-6 lead in the bottom half of the previous inning, Matt Barnes gave it all away, blowing his sixth save and his team’s 16th by serving up a go-ahead, two-run homer to the slugging Abreu on a 2-2, 97 MPH fastball down the heart of the plate on the 10th pitch of the at-bat.

That put the White Sox up 8-7, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Chicago right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, who just so happened to be opposite Sale the last time these two clubs met up in May.

Trailing by three runs before they even had the chance to take their first at-bats, JD Martinez got the scoring started for Boston by pulling them back to within one run on his 17th big fly of the season, a 400-foot two-run shot in the first inning to plate both Rafael Devers and himself.

Fast forward to the third, and it was Devers getting himself involved yet again, this time leading the inning off with an opposite field double and coming in to score four batters later on a wild pitch from Lopez with Michael Chavis at the dish. 5-3.

In the seventh, Martinez struck once more with a two-out RBI double to right-center off left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer, this one driving in Devers all the way from first to pull Boston back to within two runs at 6-4.

Finally, in the eighth, with new reliever Evan Marshall in for Chicago, Eduardo Nunez reached base safely on a line-drive single up the middle.

Two batters later, after Brock Holt pinch-hit for Sandy Leon and advanced Nunez up to third on a tough, pop fly ground-rule double and was replaced by Brian Johnson, yes, Brian Johnson, as a pinch-runner, Mookie Betts made things interesting against White Sox closer Alex Colome with a single grounder to third.

Going on any sort of contact, Nunez hustled in from third and managed to evade the tag attempt from McCann to score his team’s fifth run and make it a one-run contest.

A soft grounder from Devers moved up both Betts and Johnson into scoring position at second and third for Xander Bogaerts with two outs in the frame.

On the fifth pitch he saw from Colome, the soon to be 2019 All-Star drilled a clutch single right back up the middle, giving Johnson and Betts plenty of time to come in and put the Red Sox up 7-6.

It seemed crucial at the time, but as already mentioned, the White Sox responded with two runs of their own in their half of the ninth, while the Boston bats went down quietly in theirs despite Jackie Bradley Jr. drawing a leadoff walk in what would turn out to be a crushing 8-7 defeat.

Some notes from this loss:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Eagle-Tribune’s Chris Mason:

The Red Sox went 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position Wednesday and left 10 men on base.

Rafael Devers’ last seven games: .538/.556/.846 with one home run, five doubles, and four runs driven in.

So, the Red Sox seem to be making blowing late leads a recurring theme. There was that loss against the Blue Jays this past Saturday, that 17-inning against the Twins on June 18th, and that loss against the Rangers on June 10th, to name a few.

The Red Sox also lead the American League with 16 blown saves on the year. That is far from ideal.

I’ve already written about how president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski needs to go out and acquire a closer, because clearly the current crop of Red Sox relievers are going to burn out pretty soon, if they have not already, a la Matt Barnes.

Wednesday was the last time the Red Sox will play a game at Fenway Park until after the All-Star break on July 12th.

Now, it’s on to London, where Boston will be hosting the New York Yankees in a historic two-game weekend set across the pond, which will mark the first time Major League Baseball has ever been played in Europe.

Right-hander Rick Porcello and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the starting nods for the Red Sox, while New York has only announced one starter, right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, for Saturday’s contest.

Currently sitting nine games back of the Yankees for first in the American League East, this weekend presents a huge opportunity for the Red Sox to jump start the second half of their 2019 season.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:10 PM EDT on FOX. Red Sox looking to make some history in England.

 

 

 

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Red Sox Complete 6-5 Comeback Win over White Sox on Marco Hernandez’s Walk-Off Infield Single

After dropping two out of three to the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend, the Red Sox kicked off the second leg of their homestand with a walk-off 6-5 win over the Chicago White Sox Monday, marking their second straight victory by way of the walk-off.

Making his 16th start of the season for Boston in the series opener was Eduardo Rodriguez, fresh off consecutive outings of seven or more innings for the first time since 2015.

Working his way into the seventh inning of this one but not completing it, the left-hander surrendered five runs, all of which were earned, on six hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

The first four of those Chicago runs came on a pair of homers and an RBI single, all off the bats of Cuban-born players.

Yoan Moncada, a former top prospect of the Red Sox, got the scoring started for his side with a two-out, two-run missile just over the Green Monster in left field for his 13th of 2019 and first ever at Fenway Park.

Rodriguez settled in a bit by retiring 11 of the next 13 White Sox he faced after serving up that bomb, but ran into more two-out trouble in the sixth, when with the bases empty, slugging first baseman Jose Abreu launched his 18th big fly to break up a 2-2 stalemate.

An inning later, with a runner on second and one out, the decision was made for Rodriguez to intentionally put Moncada on base in order to get to Yonder Alonso, who entered the new week sporting a .178 batting average.

Unfortunately for Boston, that decision proved to not work in their favor, as Alonso ripped a single through the right side of the infield, plating the runner, Eloy Jimenez, to make it a 4-3 contest and advance Moncada up to third. That was how Rodriguez’s evening came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (64 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his changeup 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 95.2 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 33 times while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Hit with the no-decision while his ERA on the season inflated to 4.87, Rodriguez will look to end his month of June on a positive note in his next time out, which should come against the New York Yankees in London.

In relief of Rodriguez, Marcus Walden was inserted and officially closed the book on the starter’s outing by allowing Moncada to score on a Yolmer Sanchez RBI single, which put the White Sox up 5-3.

Colten Brewer got the call for the eighth, and he sat down two of the first three he faced before filling the count against veteran outfielder Jon Jay.

There, in that moment, Sox manager Alex Cora made the call for the left-handed Josh Taylor out of the bullpen.

Taylor’s first pitch to Jay was a ball, meaning the walk was charged to Brewer, but the southpaw rallied by getting out of the inning and also recording the first two outs of the ninth.

A two-out walk of Leury Garcia made way for Brandon Workman, who punched out the only hitter he faced in Tim Anderson on a nasty 81 MPH knuckle curve to send this one to the bottom of the ninth and later pick up his seventh win of the year.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito, someone they got to for three runs in five innings the last time these two sides opposed each other back on May 2nd.

This time around, it was Jackie Bradley Jr. who got the scoring started for the Sox on Monday, as the red-hot outfielder mashed his eighth homer of the season, a booming 418-foot, 107.4 MPH off the bat solo shot, off Giolito to make it a one-run contest early on.

Fast forward to the fifth, and Eduardo Nunez came through with his first of two game-tying hits on the night, this one a one-out opposite field RBI single to drive in Michael Chavis from second. 2-2.

An inning later, Giolito ran into some trouble himself by loading the bases on a one-out walk of Rafael Devers, a line drive double from Xander Bogaerts, and an intentional walk of Bradley Jr. to get to Chavis.

Down to his last few pitches, the White Sox ace again lacked control, as he walked the rookie on five pitches, and that allowed Devers to make his way towards home to tie this one up at three runs each.

In the seventh, after falling behind by another two runs, Mookie Betts cut that deficit in half very quickly by taking Chicago reliever Aaron Bummer deep on the very first pitch he saw from the left-hander to lead off the frame. His 13th of the season made it 5-4.

Another inning later, Marco Hernandez came on to pinch-run for Vazquez at first and moved up to second on a wild pitch from right-hander Kelvin Herrera.

With two outs in the inning and the tying run 180 feet away from home, it was Eduardo Nunez’s time to shine once more, and he did just that by sneaking another RBI single past the outstretched Moncada at third, giving Hernandez enough time to score and pull even with the White Sox at 5-5.

And finally, in the ninth, the White Sox and lefty reliever Jace Fry intentionally loaded the bases with two outs for Hernandez, and he made them pay dearly with an infield single grounded just deep enough that Tim Anderson had to rush in order to make a throw over to first.

The throw was not handled cleanly by Abreu, however, while Hernandez was ruled safe and Andrew Benintendi coasted into home to give the Red Sox another walk-off win, this one finishing with a final score of 6-5.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s last 30 games: .303/.415/.606 with six home runs and 17 RBI. He has raised his OPS from .491 to .713 in that span.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle and second of this three-game set on Tuesday night.

Left-hander David Price is set to get the ball for Boston, while right-hander Carson Fulmer will serve as the opener for Chicago. Two Vanderbilt alums going at it.

Only throwing 73 pitches over five innings in his last time out against the Minnesota Twins, it will be interesting to see how Cora manages Price’s workload on Tuesday.

In 16 career starts against the White Sox, the 33-year-old has posted a 3.45 ERA over 109 2/3 total innings of work.

Fulmer, meanwhile, was once drafted by the Sox in the 15th round of the 2012 amateur draft before he honored his commitment to Vanderbilt.

In two prior relief outings against Boston, the 25-year-old has allowed five runs (three earned) on two hits and five walks in a span of just one whole inning. He has never made an appearance at Fenway Park.

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

Christian Vazquez Walks off Blue Jays with Two-Run Shot in 10th Inning as Red Sox Complete Comeback with 7-5 Win

After a series win over the Minnesota Twins and an off day on Thursday, the Red Sox opened their final homestand before heading to London with a 7-5, 10-inning, walk-off victory in the first of three against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday to improve to 42-35 on the season.

Making his 16th start of the season for Boston was Chris Sale, who saw his run of consecutive double-digit strikeout performances end at four in this one.

Tossing just five full innings Friday, the left-hander yielded four runs, three of which were earned, on seven hits, two walks, and one HBP to go along with eight punchouts on the night.

Right from the jump, it looked as though Sale was not going to be at his sharpest. That much was evident in how he lost an 11-pitch matchup to the very first hitter he faced iin Toronto leadoff man Eric Sogard.

Back-to-back walks in the same inning, Sale’s only two of the night, eventually led to the Blue Jays tacking on their first two runs on a two-out, two-run single off the bat of Freddy Galvis.

Another two reached base in the second, but nothing came out of it before more trouble arose in the top half of the third, where a simple grounder from Teoscar Hernandez should have gone for the first out of the frame, but instead was misplayed by Eduardo Nunez over at third.

Two pitches later, Randal Grichuk mashed on a 1-0 87 MPH changeup and sent it 379 feet to left field, making it a 4-0 contest.

If there was any solace, it would be that Sale retired nine of the last 12 Blue Jays he faced leading into the middle of the fifth, which is the point where his outing came to an underwhelming end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (65 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 40% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 95.6 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with the no-decision while raising his ERA up to 3.59, Sale will look for improved results in his next time out, which should come against his former club in the Chicago White Sox next Wednesday.

In relief of Sale, Colten Brewer got the first call to kick off the sixth inning, and he worked a scoreless frame before allowing two of the first three in the seventh to reach.

So, in came the left-hander Josh Taylor, and he, with the help of Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt, escaped the jam thanks to a smoothly-turned 6-4-3 double play.

From there, Taylor also fanned a pair in the eighth before Ryan Brasier came on for him, and he, in a one-run game his team was trailing in, surrendered singles to the first two men he faced but managed to get out of it by getting Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to fly out to right.

Matt Barnes, after the Sox tied things up in their half of the eighth, kept this contest tied with a 1-2-3 ninth, and Brandon Workman did the same while also picking up his sixth winning decision with a scoreless 10th.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against rookie right-hander Trent Thornton, who had never pitched at Fenway Park nor against Boston prior to Friday.

Falling behind by four runs early on is never ideal, but Brock Holt got the scoring started for his side and began to chip away at that deficit by driving in Andrew Benintendi from third with a third inning RBI sacrifice fly hit deep enough to center.

Fast forward all the way to the seventh, after Toronto had regained their initial four-run advantage, and Mookie Betts would wind up being the catalyst for a three-run rally, as his one-out triple off Thornton would mark the Blue Jays starter’s final pitch of the evening.

With left-handed reliever Tim Mayza entered into this contest, Benintendi greeted him by plating Betts and reaching first on an RBI single to the opposite field. 5-2.

Another pitching change that saw right-hander Joe Biagini didn’t make much of a difference, as Xander Bogaerts scored Benintendi all the way from first with a line-drive RBI double that rolled all the way to the wall by the bullpens in right field. 5-3.

A wild pitch from Joe Biagini allowed Bogaerts to advance to third, and JD Martinez capitalized on that mistake by driving in the run on a ground ball single back up the middle. 5-4.

An inning later, and the one-out three-bagger was the Red Sox’ friend yet again, this time with Jackie Bradley Jr. collecting his first of the season against David Phelps.

Rafael Devers, who was out of Friday’s lineup due to tightening his right hamstring in Minnesota on Wednesday, came on to pinch-hit for Eduardo Nunez with the tying run just 90 feet away from home.

Swinging at the fifth pitch he saw from Phelps, an 81 MPH knuckle-curveball, after taking the first four, the budding infielder came through big time, as his RBI single through the left side of the infield gave Bradley Jr. more than enough time to score from third and knot this one up at five runs a piece.

And finally, in the 10th, down to their final out with Marco Hernandez at first and right-hander Jordan Romano on the hill, Christian Vazquez, who first pinch-hit for Sandy Leon in the eighth, activated his clutch gene and sent the Fenway Faithful home happy by blasting his ninth home run of the year on a 3-2, 93 MPH fastball.

Per Statcast, Vazquez’s walk-off bomb traveled approximately 403 feet over everything in right field and had an exit velocity of 102.4 MPH. That won this series opener for the Red Sox by a final score of 7-5.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox started Friday 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and finished 3-for-their-last-3.

From Red Sox Stats:

The Red Sox are 8-1 in their last nine games and have outscored opponents 60-30 in that span.

Quite a way to start a six-game homestand, and the Red Sox will be looking for more in the second of three against the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon.

Left-hander Brian Johnson is set to get the ball for Boston, while Toronto has yet to name a starting pitcher.

Since being activated from the injured list on June 14th, Johnson has surrendered a total of two earned runs over two appearances, one being a start against the Baltimore Orioles last Sunday and the other a relief outing against the Twins this past Wednesday.

In his career against the Blue Jays, the 28-year-old owns a lifetime 7.15 ERA over six games (four starts) and 22 2/3 innings of work.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their third straight win.

 

Red Sox Bounce Back, Break out for Nine Runs to Take Competitive Series from Twins

After dropping a 17-inning marathon game earlier in the morning, the Red Sox bounced right back Wednesday night, topping the Twins 9-4 in nine innings to both take the three-game series from Minnesota and cap off a solid 5-1 six-game road trip.

Making his 14th start of the season for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered Wednesday fresh off seven quality one-run innings in his last time out against the Baltimore Orioles.

This time around, against a much more superior opponent, the left-hander once again worked seven full frames, as he surrendered four runs, all of which were earned, on eight hits and three walks to go along with nine strikeouts on the night.

From the jump, it looked as though Rodriguez was not going to go too deep into this one. That much was evident with how three straight Twins reached in the first and scored their first run on an Eddie Rosario RBI single.

It could have been worse though, had Jackie Bradley Jr. not snuffed out CJ Cron trying to go from first to home on a Nelson Cruz double in the previous at-bat.

Walks became an issue for Rodriguez in the third, when with two outs and Cruz and Sano on base following a pair of free passes, Luis Arraez plated Cruz from second on another RBI single to make it a 3-2 contest.

An inning later, and it was the home run ball that bit the Venezuela native, with both Willians Astudillo and Max Kepler teaming up for two solo shots to put their team ahead 4-3.

Fortunately for Boston, Rodriguez flipped a switch and settled in a bit from the middle of the fifth on, as he sat down nine of the final 10 Twins he faced to end his outing on a much more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 111 (72 strikes), the 26-year-old relied on his two-seam fastball more than 34% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing four swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 95.4 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 31 times with Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Ultimately improving to 8-4 while slightly raising his ERA on the season to 4.71, Rodriguez continues to be the benefactor of run support from his lineup. His next start should come against the Chicago White Sox sometime next week.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was not as heavily taxed as they were on Tuesday, with just two relievers, Matt Barnes and Marcus Walden, combining for two scoreless frames of relief to wrap up this 9-4 victory.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, owner of a career 2.68 ERA in six prior starts against Boston.

Through 13 starts on the season coming into Wednesday, Gibson was averaging just two walks per nine innings, but that was not the case in this particular contest as he gave out a season-high five free passes.

Kicking off the scoring for the Sox was Brock Holt, who came to the plate for the first time in the second inning with Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers at first and second and no outs.

On the third pitch he saw from Gibson, a 95 MPH fastball on the bottom half of the strike zone, Holt grounded an RBI single back up the middle to get his team on the board.

Michael Chavis followed that up with an RBI knock of his own to drive in Bogaerts, and Mookie Betts also came through with a run-scoring single to drive in Holt. Just like that, the Red Sox were up 3-1.

Fast forward to the fifth, after Minnesota responded and took a one-run lead of their own, the Boston bats answered with another three-run rally, which was started by JD Martinez drawing a leadoff walk off Gibson.

Two batters later, Bogaerts stayed hot by plating Martinez from second and advancing Devers to third on an RBI line-drive double to left to knot things up at four runs each.

The stalemate would not last long, however, not with Eduardo Nunez pinch-running for Devers at third and Holt scoring him on an RBI sacrifice fly deep enough to center to make it a 5-4 game.

Another run-scoring single from Chavis, the last hitter Gibson faced, allowed Bogaerts to come in from third after that sac fly, and the Red Sox had themselves a brand new two-run advantage they would not have to look back from.

That being the case because in the top half of the eighth, with Harvard alum Scott Poppen on the mound for Minnesota, back-to-back RBI knocks off the bats of Andrew Benintendi and Martinez allowed the Sox to double up the Twins at 8-4.

And finally, still in the eighth, Holt essentially put this one to bed by drawing a four-pitch, bases loaded walk off Poppen to score Martinez from third and give his team the 9-4 led, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Rafael Devers has been ruled day-to-day with right hamstring tightness. He probably won’t play Friday, per Sox manager Alex Cora.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

The Red Sox with runners in scoring position on Wednesday: 7-for-14

Michael Chavis during his nine-game hitting streak: 13-for-41 (.317) with one double, two home runs, and six RBI.

So, the Red Sox went into enemy territory against the team with the best record in the American League and came out with a series win, with the one loss coming in that 17-inning debacle on Tuesday.

Prior to this series, the negativity towards this Red Sox team was based around the idea that they could not beat other competitive clubs. Given what just went down this week, that narrative may be going by the wayside soon enough.

Next up for the Sox, it’s a well-deserved day off on Thursday before a six-game homestand begins back at Fenway Park on Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Left-hander Chris Sale is set to get the ball for Boston in the opener of that three-game weekend set, while rookie right-hander Trent Thornton will do the same for Toronto.

Since the start of June, Sale has allowed a total of two earned runs in his last 22 innings of work to go along with 32 punchouts in that same span.

In his career against the Jays, the 31-year-old has posted a lifetime 2.67 ERA over 16 appearances (13 starts) and 91 innings pitched.

Thornton, meanwhile, is coming off an impressive outing in his last time out against the high-octane Houston Astros, as he held the class of the American League West scoreless over 6 2/3 impressive innings while also fanning seven in the process.

Making his first Opening Day roster with Toronto back in March, the 25-year-old has never faced the Red Sox nor pitched at Fenway Park.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to start another winning streak.

Red Sox’ Winning Streak Snapped in 17-Inning Marathon Loss to Twins

In their longest game of the season in terms of both innings and time, the Red Sox saw their six-game winning streak come to an end on early Wednesday morning, as they fell to the Minnesota Twins by a final score of 4-3 after 17 marathon innings.

Making his 13th start of the season for Boston in the middle game of this series was David Price, who like Rick Porcello before him, entered Tuesday with a solid history when working at Target Field.

Tossing five full innings this time around, the left-hander yielded just one earned run on four hits and no walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the night.

That one run came out in Minnesota’s half of the fourth, when back-to-back two-out knocks from Eddie Rosario and CJ Cron got the home side on the board immediately after the Red Sox had done so themselves.

Other than that, Price sat down three of the last four hitters he faced in the fifth, and that would be how his outing came to a somewhat abrupt end.

Finishing with a final pitch count of just 73 (49 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball nearly 44% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 93.9 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Hit with the no-decision while his ERA on the season lowered to 3.39, there should be no injury concerns involved with Price going forward. Per Sox manager Alex Cora, “[Tuesday] was one of those that we felt like I was going to take care of him. He threw the ball well but as you guys know, he’s a guy that we really have to take care of.” Price’s next start should come against the Chicago White Sox next week.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen was put to the test similarly enough to the way they were this past Sunday in Baltimore.

Mike Shawaryn got a long night started for the ‘pen by putting men on the corners on the first two hitters he faced, but with the help of Christian Vazqez, did not allow either to score before loading the bases with two outs and again escaping a jam by fanning Miguel Sano on three straight strikes.

Ryan Brasier came on in the seventh moments after Rafael Devers had given Boston a 2-1 lead, and he too received some assistance from his defense, with Jackie Bradley Jr. doing his best Spider-Man impression to rob Jorge Polanco of extra bases and retire the side.

In the eighth, Brandon Workman was charged with his third blown save of the season after walking the leadoff man in Mitch Garver and allowing him to tie things up at two on an RBI single from Max Kepler.

2-2 is where this one stood for quite a while, as Matt Barnes, Josh Taylor, and Colten Brewer combined for four scoreless frames from the ninth until the 12th before making way for Hector Velazquez in the bottom of the 13th.

There, after his side had taken a one-run advantage in the top half of the inning, the right-hander gave that back right away by serving up a leadoff solo shot to Kepler, once again knoting things up at three runs each.

Velazquez did settle in after that mishap though, as he pushed his way through the 16th, but had to be removed after coming out for the 17th after being unable to continue.

And in that 17th, two days after he made his first start of the year in Baltimore, Brian Johnson allowed two of the first three Twins he faced to reach, although before doubling, Eddie Rosario’s right foot very well could have been out of the batter’s box while trying to lay down a bunt.

Image

Nothing came of it, however, and Rosario’s double would prove to be costly, as Johnson intentionally walked CJ Cron to load the bases, and Kepler ended things by ripping the game-winning RBI single down the right field line.

In total, Boston used eight pitchers on Tuesday/Wednesday not named David Price. Marcus Walden was not available.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a fairly familiar opponent in Twins right-hander Michael Pineda, who missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

Like Price, Pineda only limited his opposition to one lone run, and that came courtesy of a Mookie Betts leadoff walk and a Rafael Devers two-out RBI single in the fourth to put the Sox on the board.

Fast forward to the seventh, with Pineda out and new reliever Ryne Harper in for Minnesota, Devers struck again, this time launching his 12th home run of the season, a 374 foot leadoff shot to give his team the 2-1 advantage.

As mentioned before though, that advantage did not last all that long, and this contest headed into extras, where the Sox had plenty of chances to tack on some runs, but could only come away with one.

That one, a 380 foot solo shot off the bat of Mookie Betts to lead off the 13th inning against Mike Morin, probably should have been enough to send Boston home with a win. But, Hector Velazquez buckled in the latter half of the frame, and the Red Sox were unable to score again.

The offensive struggles were especially evident in the 17th, where Andrew Benintendi reached third with no outs on a leadoff single, a stolen base, and Minnesota throwing error.

The middle part of the lineup, JD Martinez, Devers, and Xander Bogaerts, all had their shot to drive Benintendi in, but came up short, and the Twins capitalized on that inability by walking things off a half inning later in a marathon game that ended in a 4-3 final.

Some notes from this loss:

Red Sox with runners in scoring position Tuesday/Wednesday: 1-for-13. They left 14 men on base.

JD Martinez on Tuesday/Wednesday: 0-for-8 with five strikeouts.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

With that, the Red Sox’ six-game winning streak has come to an end.

For the finale of this three-game series, it will be a pitching matchup featuring a left and right-handed pitcher, with Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston and Kyle Gibson doing the same for Minnesota.

Coming off one of his better starts of the year in his last time out against the Orioles where he surrendered just one run over seven quality innings of work, Rodriguez brings with him a lifetime 5.91 ERA over two prior starts and 10 2/3 total innings pitched at Target Field.

Gibson, meanwhile, is also fresh off a dominant outing, as he held the Kansas City Royals scoreless on just two hits in an eight-inning win last Friday.

In his career against the Sox, the 31-year-old is 2-3 with a 2.68 ERA over six starts and 40 1/3 innings of work.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 8:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

 

Rick Porcello Dazzles with Seven Scoreless Innings as Red Sox Take Opener from Twins for Sixth Straight Win

After sweeping the lowly Baltimore Orioles over the weekend, the Red Sox kicked off the second leg of their two-city, six-game road trip on Monday by taking the first of three against the American League Central-leading Minnesota Twins in a tightly-contested 2-0 win, marking their sixth consecutive victory to improve to a season-best six games over .500 at 40-34.

Making his 15th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, who entered Monday fresh off a quality outing in his last time out against the Texas Rangers as well as an impressive track record when working at Target Field.

Tossing seven full innings this time around, the right-hander held one of the top offensive clubs in the American League scoreless, scattering just four hits and one walk to go along with eight strikeouts on the night to tie a season-high.

It wasn’t quite clear that Porcello would wind up putting together the dominant performance he did in this one, with Nelson Cruz ripping a two-out double off of him in the first inning and all, but the New Jersey native did not waver, as he received some help from his defense and never faced more than four hitters in a single frame up until the bottom half of the seventh.

There, following a string of retiring 17 of the last 19 Twins he had faced, a one-out, line-drive double off the bat of CJ Cron that nearly snuck over the wall in right-center field put the tying run in scoring position for Minnesota.

A two-out walk of Miguel Sano two batters later also put the go-ahead run on base, but, fortunately for Boston, Porcello managed to escape the jam and thus preserve the shutout by getting Jason Castro to fly out to left, and that would be how his outing came to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 94 (68 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 45% of the time he was on the mound Monday, inducing six swings and misses and topping out at 92.7 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Eventually earning his fifth winning decision while lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.31, Porcello will look to continue this recent run he has been on in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays this weekend.

In relief of Porcello, Colten Brewer came on in the eighth with a one-run lead to protect, allowed the first two men he faced to reach to put the go-ahead run on for Minnesota yet again.

With no outs and the AL’s top hitter Jorge Polanco (.332 BA) at the plate, the Twins decided to take the bat out of their shortstop’s hands, and instead opted for a sacrifice bunt to advance both Jonathan Schoop and Max Kepler into scoring position for Neslon Cruz.

Having only faced Cruz one time prior to Monday, Brewer got ahead in the count with two straight strikes before getting the Twins slugger to ground into a fielder’s choice that just so happened to catch Schoop in a rundown between third and home.

Devers, on the toss from Sandy Leon, was able to tag Schoop out to eliminate the threat, all while Kepler failed to advance to third himself.

Three pitches later, Brewer miraculously got out of the tight spot he put himself in by getting Eddie Roasario to ground into an inning-ending out at first.

And in the ninth, after his team had provided a little insurance in their half of the frame, Ryan Brasier, just activated from the bereavement list earlier Monday, shut the door on the Twins and notched his seventh save of the year by locking down the 2-0 win for Boston.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Twins ace right-hander Jose Berrios, and he proved to be just as, if not more dominant than Porcello in this one.

It was a good thing the Boston bats got to him right away with one out in the first on an RBI single off the bat of JD Martinez to plate Mookie Betts from third, because the Puerto Rico native was essentially unhittable the rest of the night.

Sitting down 19 in a row at one point and capping off his performance by fanning the final two hitters he faced, it wasn’t until Berrios departed and right-handed reliever Blake Parker entered to begin the ninth.

Down to their last out of the inning with JD Martinez at second following a one-out double off Parker, Xander Bogaerts came through in the clutch and gave his side some much-needed insurance, as he took an 0-2 fastball on the outer half of the plate and slapped an RBI two-bagger to the opposite field, allowing for Martinez to come in and score and put the Red Sox up 2-0.

That extra-base hit, the 300th of Bogaerts’ career, would be all the Sox would need to take the series opener from the Twins and win their sixth straight overall in the process of doing so.

Some notes from this win:

From MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Xander Bogaerts, since this road trip began on June 14th: 5-for-11 with three doubles, six walks, and four RBI in four games.

I don’t want to say that the Red Sox passed their first test since there are still two games remaining in this series, but after all the negativity about being unable to beat quality teams, coming out and blanking arguably the best team in the American League at the moment at home is impressive nonetheless.

For the middle contest of this three-game set, it will be a starting pitching matchup featuring a pair of veteran arms, with left-hander David Price getting the ball for Boston and Michael Pineada doing the same for Minnesota.

Coming off his second-shortest start of the season in a six-run beatdown at the hands of the Rangers on June 13th, Price (4-2, 3.52 ERA), brings with him a lifetime 3.08 ERA over nine career starts and 61.1 total innings pitched at Target Field.

Pineda, meanwhile, missed all of the 2018 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and has posted a 5.04 ERA through 13 starts in his second year with the Twins.

In 12 prior starts against Boston, the 30-year-old is 5-5 to go along with an ERA of 4.23 over 66 innings of work.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 8:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to extend their winning streak to seven.

 

Chris Sale Fans 10 over Six Innings, JD Martinez Homers Again as Red Sox Top Orioles 7-2 for Fourth Straight Win

After mashing six home runs to the tune of a 13-2 victory on Friday, the Red Sox had a bit more difficult time with the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, but still came away with their fourth consecutive victory, topping their divisional foes by a final score of 7-2 to improve to 38-34 on the season.

Making his 15th start of the year for Boston in the middle game of this three-game weekend series was Chris Sale, who already dominated the O’s in his last appearance at Camden Yards back in May.

There was no immaculate inning this time around, but the left-hander still put together a solid effort, yielding two runs, both of which were earned, on six hits and just one walk to go along with exactly 10 strikeouts over six quality frames of work.

Baltimore threatened immediately by reaching base in their first two-at bats of the contest in the first, and it looked like the Red Sox were yet again going to be trailing early on.

Sale did not waiver though, as he retired the side in order from there before sitting down 12 of the next 13 hitters he faced up until the sixth inning.

There, in what was undoubtedly the Florida native’s toughest go of it after his team had just put up three runs, the Orioles started things exactly like they did in the first, with both Hanser Alberto and Trey Mancini reaching on back-to-back singles.

One mound visit and line out later, the O’s finally got on the board thanks to an RBI double from Renato Nunez to plate Alberto and advance Mancini to third.

Sale’s lone walk in this one filled the bases for Jonathan Villar, who cut the Red Sox’ deficit to one with a sacrifice fly to score Mancini.

Fortunately for Boston, that was all the damage Sale would allow, as he escaped the jam by fanning Keon Broxton with an 83 MPH slider to end the sixth as well as his outing.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 103 (68 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler turned to that aforementioned slider more than 47% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing 10 swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 95.6 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 34 times and got six whiffs on with Sandy Leon behind the plate.

Later improving to 3-7 while lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.49, Sale will look to build on what has been a strong month of June in his next time out, which should come against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.

In relief of Sale, Marcus Walden entered the seventh in a two-run game, and he worked his way around a one-out single in an otherwise clean frame.

Matt Barnes, meanwhile, had a tougher time in the eighth, as he allowed the tying run to get into scoring position with two outs on a single and walk before retiring the side by striking out pinch-hitter Chris Davis with an 85 MPH slider on the inside edge.

And in the ninth, after the Sox had tacked on three additional insurance runs, Brandon Workman locked down the 7-2 win in a scoreless final inning with some help from Michael Chavis at first.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy, who came into Saturday with a 3.02 ERA in his last seven starts.

As those recent impressive numbers indicate, Bundy did his part to hold the Boston bats through their first 2 1/2 times through the batting order.

They had a handful of scoring chances early on, but it wasn’t until Rafael Devers led the top of the sixth off with a hard-hit single where things really started to roll.

Immediately following Devers’ single, Xander Bogaerts came through with his team’s first run of the day by driving in the third baseman on a line drive RBI double to left. Brock Holt essentially did the same two pitches later by plating Bogaerts on a run-scoring single to right field.

A single from Michael Chavis to move Holt into scoring position would be how Bundy’s outing came to a close, and Sandy Leon greeted new O’s reliever Richard Bleier by scoirng Holt, who advanced to third on a Jackie Bradley Jr. ground out, by reaching first on a fielding error committed by Alberto over at third. 3-0.

Fast forward to the seventh, and a red-hot JD Martinez continued on with his power surge by blasting his 16th big fly of the season and fourth in his last three games. Per Statcast, Martinez’s opposite field shot had an exit velocity of 109 MPH off the bat and was deposited 427 feet into the right-center field bleachers.

Finally, in the ninth, with right-hander Miguel Castro on the hill, the Sox once again took advantage of sloppy defensive play from the Orioles, but not before loading the bases with one out for Bogaerts.

On the first pitch he saw from Castro, the Red Sox shortstop lifted a fly ball plenty deep enough to center to drive in Mookie Betts from third.

Just a few moments after that, Holt also collected his second RBI with another run-scoring base knock that allowed Andrew Benintendi to come in from third.

With Chavis at the plate, Holt took off for second and a poor throw from Pedro Severino behind the plate as well as a poor attempt to knock the ball down from Alberto covering the bag gave Devers more than enough time to score from third.

That put the Red Sox ahead 7-2, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

Chris Sale has recorded 10 or more strikeouts in eight of his last 10 starts. In that 10-start span, the left-hander is averaging 14.2 punchouts per nine innings.

JD Martinez’s June so far: 16-for-45 with three doubles, one triple, five home runs and eight RBI.

Rafael Devers during his five-game hitting streak: 9-for-22 with one double, one triple, one home run, and four RBI.

Brock Holt in June: .444/.500/.611 with one double, one triple, one homer, and eight RBI.

Michael Chavis during his five-game hitting streak: 7-for-21 with one double, two home runs, and four RBI.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the series finale of this three-game series on Sunday afternoon.

Left-hander Brian Johnson will make his first start since being activated from the 10-day injured list on Friday. The 28-year-old hasn’t appeared in a game for Boston since April 5th after being shelved with inflammation in his left elbow.

In two prior appearances at Camden Yards, neither of which were starts, Johnson did not surrender a run over 1 2/3 total innings of relief.

For Baltimore, it will be another southpaw taking the mound in the form of John Means, who held the Sox to one run in each of the two starts he has made against them in 2019.

On the season as a whole, the 26-year-old owns a 1.57 ERA through eight games (six starts) at home.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the sweep and their fifth straight win.