Rafael Devers Homers, Surpasses 100-RBI Mark as Red Sox Complete Sweep of Orioles in 13-7 Comeback Win

After shutting out the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, the Red Sox fell behind by six runs early against the O’s on Sunday, but battled their way back to both complete the three-game weekend sweep and extend their winning streak to five games with a 13-7 victory.

Making his fifth start and 16th overall appearance for Boston was Nathan Eovaldi, who, before Sunday, hadn’t started a game in over four months.

Tossing just two full innings in this one, the right-hander yielded five runs, all of which were earned, on three hits and three walks to go along with one strikeout on the afternoon.

The first three of those Baltimore runs came on one swing of the bat right away in the top half of the first, when with one out and runners at the corners following a Jonathan Villar leadoff double and Trey Mancini walk, Renato Nunez unloaded on a 3-2, 79 MPH curveball from Eovaldi and sent it 415 feet over the Green Monster.

An inning later, ball four came back to bite Eovaldi once more, with Chris Davis drawing a walk to lead things off and Villar drawing another with two outs, which allowed Mancini to make it a 5-0 contest on a two-run single that also ended the top of the frame as he was thrown out at second.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 43 (23 strikes), the 29-year-old hurler relied on his cut fastball nearly 35% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing one swing and miss with the pitch. He also topped out at 97.7 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 13 times while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately getting hit with the no-decision while inflating his ERA on the year up to a not-so-nice 6.69 ERA, command, or lack thereof, played a major role for Eovaldi in his first start since April 17th. He’ll look for improved results, as well as an increased workload, in his next time out, which should come against the San Diego Padres next weekend.

In relief of Eovaldi, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez entered the top of the third with his side trailing by five runs, and he bumped that deficit up to six by serving up a two-out RBI double to Hanser Alberto in his lone inning of work.

From there, Ryan Brasier worked his way around a one-out walk in a scoreless fourth, Josh Taylor allowed back-to-back two-out singles in an otherwise clean fifth, Marcus Walden tossed a scoreless sixth, which eventually led to him picking up his eighth winning decision of the season, and Andrew Cashner put together his third straight scoreless appearance since moving to the bullpen with the help of an inning-ending 1-4-3 double play in the seventh.

And finally, with this one already well in hand, Travis Lakins surrendered one run on one hit over two frames of relief to secure the 13-7 win for his club.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Orioles left-hander Ty Blach, who was claimed off waivers by Baltimore from the San Francisco Giants earlier in the month.

Already trailing by three runs before they took their first at-bats, five runs before taking their second, and six before taking their third, back-to-back RBI groundouts from Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts following a walk and double from Chris Owings and Mookie Betts to lead off the bottom half of the third netted the Sox their first two runs of the day.

In the fourth, Sam Travis continued to trim the deficit, as he took Blach deep to dead center off a one-out, first-pitch, 90 MPH sinker down the middle of the plate for his sixth home run of the season.

Fast forward to the sixth, and a leadoff double off the bat of J.D. Martinez and one-out walk drawn by Travis knocked Blach out of this contest and brought right-hander Gabriel Ynoa in for Baltimore.

That move would wind up favoring Boston more though, as Christian Vazquez greeted the new O’s reliever by knocking in Martinez from third on a line-drive RBI double down the left field line.

The emergence of Mitch Moreland hitting in the place of Sandy Leon led to another Orioles pitching change, this time with lefty Paul Fry taking over.

Again, the run that Red Sox pinch-hitters have been on this season continued, with Moreland being the beneficiary of sloppy defensive play from Baltimore on a routine pop fly to shallow left field.

What should have been the second out of the sixth instead went for an RBI single while both Travis and Vazquez scored to knot things up at six runs apiece.

An Owings strikeout and Betts walk brought Devers to the plate with the chance to give his side their first lead of the afternoon, and he came through with the go-ahead, run-scoring double off the Green Monster to do just that and drive in Moreland from second.

Bogaerts and Martinez followed suit with back-to-back RBI singles in between another Orioles pitching change, with Bogaerts’ knock coming off Fry and Martinez’s off of Shawn Armstrong.

All in all, the Sox entered their half of the sixth down 6-3. By the time the third out was recorded on a Travis punchout, 12 hitters had come to the plate and the score was now 9-6 in favor of Boston. Talk about turning a game on it’s head.

The offensive outpour did not stop there though, not with Vazquez and Moreland leading off the seventh with back-to-back singles and Betts plating Vazquez on a sacrifice fly to center.

Devers followed that by absolutely punishing a 1-1, 94 MPH four-seamer on the outer half of the strike zone from Armstrong and depositing it 399 feet to right for his 27th big fly of the season.

That two-run shot had an exit velocity of over 111 MPH, per Statcast, and it also marked the 100th and 101st RBI of the year for Devers, as he became the first player in baseball this season to reach the century mark in runs driven in.

A Bogaerts double and Martinez run-scoring single put the Red Sox up 13-6, and after the Orioles tacked on another run in their half of the ninth, 13-7 would go on to be Sunday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

Josh Taylor’s last 15 appearances: 14 1/3 innings pitched, nine hits, three earned runs, five walks, 18 strikeouts, 1.88 ERA.

Rafael Devers’ last seven games: .563/.600/1.094 with three home runs and 11 RBI.

J.D. Martinez’s last 15 games: .414/.485/.707 with four homers and 10 RBI.

Mitch Moreland’s last seven games: .409/.458/.682 with one homer and six RBI.

With the Tampa Bay Rays topping the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, the Red Sox still stand 6 1/2 games off the pace for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s another off day on Monday before welcoming the 64-60 Philadelphia Phillies into town for a two-game interleague series beginning on Tuesday.

Left-hander Chris Sale was supposed to start in the opener, but has since been placed on the 10-day injured list due to left elbow inflammation. Sox manager Alex Cora has yet to name a replacement.

Right-hander Aaron Nola will get the start for Philadelphia.

Since the beginning of August, the Phillies ace owns an ERA of 2.07 and batting average against of .194 over his last three outings and 19 innings pitched.

In one prior start at Fenway Park back on July 30th of last year, Nola hurled eight masterful innings of one-run ball in a contest the Phillies lost by a final score of 2-1.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their sixth straight win.

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Rick Porcello Gives up Two Home Runs, One of Which Being Mike Trout’s First at Fenway Park, as Red Sox Get Blown out by Angels

After blowing out the Los Angeles Angels in a 16-4 victory on Friday night, the Red Sox saw their two-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday, as they fell to the Halos by a final score of 12-4 to drop back down to 62-57 on the season.

Making his 24th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, who came into the weekend fresh off his best outing in weeks in his last time out against the Kansas City Royals.

Working into the sixth inning this time around, the right-hander surrendered five runs, all of which were earned, on five hits and zero walks to go along with three strikeouts on the afternoon.

The first three of of those Angels runs came right away in the top half of the first inning, when for the second game in a row, a three-run home run got Los Angeles on the board first.

This one came courtesy of Justin Upton following a leadoff single from Kole Calhoun and one-out double from Shohei Ohtani.

On the fourth pitch he saw from Porcello, Ohtani unloaded on a 1-2, 93 MPH heater and wrapped it around Pesky’s Pole for his seventh home run of the season.

All was not looking well for Porcello early on, but the New Jersey native settled in nicely after serving up that bomb by stringing together 14 consecutive outs from the top of the first until the middle of the fifth.

Unfortunately for Boston though, Calhoun broke up that string with a leadoff single in the sixth, and Mike Trout followed that up by doing something he had yet to do in his career before Saturday, that being hit a home run at Fenway Park.

Yes, it took 22 games at Fenway to do so, but Trout clearly liked the first pitch he saw from his fellow statesman, a 90 MPH fastball down the heart of the plate, in his third at-bat of the day, and he deposited it 428 feet over the Green Monster.

Trout’s 39th homer of the year put the Angels up 5-1, and Porcello’s evening quickly came to a close as the two-time American League MVP was making the jog back to his dugout after rounding the bases.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 75 (54 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his two-seam fastball nearly 35% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing three swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.8 MPH with his four-seamer, a pitch he threw 21 times while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 10-9 while inflating his ERA on the season up to 5.67, Porcello did not pitch poorly on Saturday. It’s just that the two biggest mistakes he made went for long home runs with men already on base. He’ll look to re-gain that Kansas City form in his next time out, which should come against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.

In relief of Porcello, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez entered the sixth with the bases empty and three outs to get, and he got those three outs while working his way around a walk as well.

The seventh inning is where this contest fell apart for the Red Sox. Hernandez came back out for his second frame of work with his team in a three-run hole.

Despite the decently positive results in the sixth, the 22-year-old lost control in the seventh, as he allowed the Luis Rengifo, Kevan Smith, Wilfredo Tovar, and Calhoun to all reach base without recording an out.

Tovar drove in Rengifo on third with an RBI single, and Calhoun drew a walk on five pitches to fill the bases, which ended up being the point where Hernandez could no longer continue.

Instead, Hector Velazquez was inserted into this particular jam, and he proceeded to bean the first man he faced in Trout, digging the hole even deeper at 7-2.

A two-run single from Ohtani and sacrifice fly off the bat of Upton increased the Angels’ lead to eight runs, and David Fletcher plated a pair despite not recording an RBI on a single that got past Sam Travis in left field, which in turn allowed Ohtani and Matt Thaiss to score and make it a 12-2 game.

From that point, Velazquez got the final two outs of the seventh without allowing another run to score, while Ryan Weber retired six of the eight hitters he faced over two scoreless frames of relief in the eighth and ninth to hold the Angels at 12 runs.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney, another former Miami Marlins prospect who had been out since July 16th due to inflammation in his throwing elbow.

Starting the scoring in the bottom half of the third inning, a Jackie Bradley Jr. HBP and Mookie Betts single that Upton misplayed in left field put runners in scoring position with no outs for the middle-part of Boston’s order.

Xander Bogaerts was unable to do anything, as he flew out to shallow right field, but J.D. Martinez was able to load the bases by taking a 1-2, 80 MPH curveball off his left foot.

That HBP brought Sam Travis to the plate in a prime run-scoring spot, and he managed to bring Bradley Jr. in from third on a sacrifice fly to left to cut the early deficit down to two runs at 3-1.

Still with runners at first and second, Christian Vazquez killed any shot of extending the rally by flying out to Upton in left to end the inning.

In the fourth, back-to-back two-out singles from Sandy Leon and Bradley Jr. set up Mookie Betts nicely against new Angels reliever Taylor Cole, but all the reigning American League MVP could do was fly out to right for the third and final out.

Fast forward to the sixth, with Brock Holt at second following a one-out double, Bradley Jr. at first following a two-out walk and former Red Sox prospect Ty Buttrey on the mound for Los Angeles, Betts came through this time with a line-drive RBI double to score Holt from second and trim the Halos’ lead to three runs at 5-2.

5-2 was the closest the Sox got though, as the Angels exploded for seven runs of their own in their half of the seventh.

Travis and Michael Chavis responded in the bottom half of the frame with a solo homer and run-scoring groundout off of JC Ramirez to make it a 12-4 contest, but that would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Saturday. They left 11 men on base as a team.

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

So, the mini two-game winning streak for the Red Sox has come to an end. They’ll look to close out this six-game homestand with a series win over the Angels on Sunday afternoon before heading to Cleveland.

Right-hander Andrew Cashner is set to get the ball for Boston, while left-hander Patrick Sandoval will do the same for Los Angeles.

Since coming over from the Baltimore Orioles last month, Cashner has taken the loss in four of his first five starts with the Red Sox. He has posted a 7.53 ERA over 28 2/3 innings of work in that span.

In his career against the Angels, the 32-year-old owns a lifetime 3.27 ERA and .259 batting average against over six total appearances (three starts) and 22 innings pitched.

Sandoval, meanwhile, will be making his firs career big league start in his second appearance after yielding two runs over five innings of relief in his big league debut against the Cincinnati Reds this past Monday.

Ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the Angels’ farm system, Sandoval, 22, posted a 5.71 ERA and .290 batting average against over 19 starts between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Salt Lake before getting called up on August 5th.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for the series win.

J.D. Martinez Crushes Two of Red Sox’ Five Homers in 16-4 Blowout Win over Angels

After shutting out the Los Angeles Angels behind eight dominant innings from Chris Sale on Thursday, the Red Sox picked up their second straight win over the Halos on Friday, as they took the second of the four-game set by a final score of 16-4 to improve to 62-56 on the season.

Making his fourth start of the season for Boston and second since being activated off the injured list this past Saturday was Brian Johnson, now taking the spot of the recently shelved David Price in Boston’s rotation.

Working into the third inning on Friday, the left-hander surrendered three runs, all of which were earned, on two hits and two walks to go along with one strikeout on the night.

All three of those Angels runs came around to score right away in the top half of the first, when with two outs and runners on first and second following a one-out double from Mike Trout and two-out walk drawn by Justin Upton, Albert Pujols unloaded on a 1-2, 77 MPH slider from Johnson and deposited it well over the Green Monster.

That three-run blast put Los Angeles up 3-0, but Johnson should have been out of the first before all that went down. Why? Because ball four on that walk to Upton should have gone for strike three for the final out of the frame. Instead, it wasn’t called a strike by home plate umpire Mark Ripperger, Upton was granted first, and that set up Pujols.

Other than that one major blip though, Johnson recovered nicely enough to sit down six of the next seven hitters he faced after serving up that bomb before getting the hook with Shohei Ohtani on first, two outs in the third, and Upton due up next to hit for the Angels.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 50 (28 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball 42% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing zero swings and misses and topping out at 90.8 MPH with the pitch while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Ultimately hit with the no-decision while bumping his ERA on the season up to 7.32, Johnson’s next start should come against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.

In relief of Johnson, Marcus Walden entered the top half of the third with one out still to get and one runner on, and he got that out thanks to Vazquez, who nabbed Ohtani at second on an unsuccessful stolen base attempt.

Walden also came back out for the fourth and fifth innings, where he faced the minimum of six Angeles hitters over two scoreless to eventually earn his seventh winning decision of the year before making way for Nathan Eovaldi in the sixth.

There, the right-hander began his evening by sitting down David Fletcher, Trout, and Ohtani in order on 20 pitches. Not too shabby.

Eovaldi’s second inning of work in the seventh though? Well, it could have gone better, as a leadoff double off the bat of Upton, a one-out HBP of Kole Calhoun, and two straight walks of Luis Rengifo and Brian Johnson brought Los Angeles’ fourth run of the night.

The Texas native did manage to escape any further damage in the seventh by getting Matt Thaiss to ground into an inning-ending, 4-6-3 double play, but it certainly wasn’t pretty.

Regardless of that, Hector Velazquez and Josh Taylor wrapped things up in a contest the Sox ended up running away with by combining for two perfect innings of relief in the top halves of the eighth and ninth to secure the 16-4 win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Angels right-hander Jaime Barria, who came into the weekend having yielded 17 runs in his last four starts since the All-Star break.

Kicking off the scoring started right away in the bottom half of the first, J.D. Martinez responded to an early three-run deficit by driving in Mookie Betts from second on a two-out, line-drive RBI double. 3-1.

Fast forward all the way to the fourth, and Martinez struck again, this time plating Xander Bogaerts, as well as himself, on a 402-foot, two-run shot off a 3-1, 93 MPH heater down the heart of the plate from Barria to knot things up at three runs apiece.

An inning later, a one-out single off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr. would turn out to be the catalyst for another two-run rally in the fifth, as Betts followed suit with his 20th big fly of the year off a 3-2, 87 MPH slider on the inner half of the plate to give the Sox their first lead of the night at 5-3.

In the sixth, Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, and Vazquez all reached to fill the bases with one out for the pinch-hitting Sam Travis, who greeted new Angels reliever Adalberto Mejia by drawing a five-pitch walk, which brought Martinez in from third and made it a 6-3 contest.

Bradley Jr. collected an RBI despite driving in a pair with a grounder that got under the glove of Rengifo. 8-3.

A six-pitch walk of Betts re-loaded the bases for Rafael Devers, and the 23-year-old took full advantage by lacing another two-run single through the right side of the infield, putting his side up 10-3 in the process of going so.

A red-hot Martinez stayed hot in the seventh, mashing his second homer of the night and 27th of the season to lead the inning off against Angels right-hander Trevor Cahill. 11-4.

Benintendi and Vazquez followed that up by both reaching base on a HBP and walk, and Mitch Moreland came through with an RBI double of his own to drive in Benintendi and make it an eight-run game at 12-4.

In the eighth, after taking over for Bogaerts defensively in the top of the inning, Devers took the first pitch he saw from Cahill and led off with not only his 24th dinger of 2019, but also his first career homer as a shortstop.

Four batters later, a wild pitch allowed Martinez to go from second to third after he reached on a throwing error, and Vazquez proved once more that mistakes can be costly, as he plated Martinez with an RBI single to left. 14-4.

And finally, Moreland put the exclamation point on this blowout with his first home run in nearly three months. This particular one, his 14th of the year, was good for two runs as it soared over the Green Monster.

That opposite field blast gave the Red Sox a 16-4 edge, which would go on to be Friday’s final score.

Some notes from this win:

J.D. Martinez’s August thus far: .469/.553/.938 with four homers and eight RBI.

The Red Sox are 14-1 this season when scoring 10-plus runs in a game.

The Red Sox are 3-1 in their last four completed games.

With the win on Friday, the Red Sox now sit five games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up for the Sox, it’s the third of this four-game weekend series on Saturday afternoon.

Right-hander Rick Porcello will get the ball for Boston, while left-hander Andrew Heaney will do the same for Los Angeles.

Porcello is coming off his best outing in weeks in his last time out against the Kansas City Royals, as he held the opposition to just one run on four hits over six strong innings of work.

In his career against the Angels, the 30-year-old owns a lifetime 5.56 ERA and .291 batting average against over 18 starts and 103 2/3 total innings pitched.

Heaney, meanwhile, will be making his first start in over three weeks after being sidelined due to inflammation in his left elbow.

In one prior start at Fenway Park back on June 27th of last season, the 28-year-old allowed six runs in less than four innings in an eventual losing effort.

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

 

Chris Sale Dominates with 13 Strikeouts over Eight Shutout Innings as Red Sox Blank Angels 3-0

After their series finale against the Kansas City Royals was suspended earlier in the morning, the Red Sox opened up a four-game weekend set against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday with a 3-0 shutout victory to improve to 61-56 on the season.

Making his 24th start of the season for Boston and first against the Angels at Fenway Park was Chris Sale, who came into the week fresh off a frustrating performance in his last time out against the New York Yankees.

Flipping the switch this time around, the left-hander put together a dominating showing, as he yielded just two hits and zero walks to go along with 13 strikeouts over eight scoreless innings.

A two-out double from Shohei Ohtani in the first got the Angels in the hit column early, but Sale stranded the Japanese phenom at second with a four-pitch punchout of Justin Upton before stringing together 15 consecutive outs from the beginning of the second up until the middle of the sixth.

A leadoff single off the bat of Mike Trout in the seventh broke that dominating stretch up, but Sale retaliated yet again by fanning the side in order from there, and that included a 1-2, 98.4 MPH four-seam fastball blown past Albert Pujols to end the top half of the frame.

And in the eighth, the Florida native capped his night off with his 13th and final strikeout, this one coming on two-out, 2-2, 97 MPH heater to fan Wilfredo Tovar and retire the side in order.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 99 (67 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler turned to his four-seamer more than 45% of the time he was on the mound Thursday night, inducing nine swings and misses and topping out at 98.4 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately improving to 6-11 while lowering his ERA on the season down to 4.41, this was vintage Chris Sale in his first start of seven or more innings pitched since June 10th. He’ll look to ride this momentum in his next time out, which should come against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.

In relief of Sale, Brandon Workman entered the ninth with a three-run lead to protect, and he did just that by sitting down Brian Goodwin, David Fletcher, and Trout in order on 16 pitches to notch his seventh save of the year and secure the 3-0 win.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Angels left-hander Dillon Peters, a former Miami Marlins prospect who had never faced off against Boston in his young career prior to Thursday.

Starting the scoring in the bottom half of the second, J.D. Martinez led things off with an opposite field single, and that would turn out to be the catalyst for a two-run inning, as Sam Travis followed that up by taking Peters deep to dead center off a first-pitch, 93 MPH heater right down the heart of the plate.

Travis’ fourth homer of the season, this one good for two runs, had an exit velocity of 107.7 MPH and traveled a projected 443 feet, per Statcast.

Fast forward all the way to the fifth, and Sandy Leon added on to his side’s two-run lead by unloading on a 1-1, 90 MPH four-seamer above the zone from Peters and sending it 389 feet over the Green Monster for his fifth big fly of the year.

That solo shot to lead off the bottom of the fifth put the Red Sox ahead 3-0, which would go on to be Thursday’s final score mostly thanks to the efforts of one Chris Sale.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From Red Sox Stats:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

Thursday’s game took two hours and 16 minutes to complete.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the second of this four-game weekend series on Friday night.

Left-hander Brian Johnson gets the start for Boston in the place of the now-shelved David Price, while right-hander Jaime Barria will do the same for Los Angeles.

In his first action since being activated off the injured list on August 3rd Johnson allowed three runs over three innings while starting Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Yankees.

In his career against the Angels, the 28-year-old has allowed one run over two appearances (one start) and seven innings pitched. That’s good for an ERA of 1.29.

Barria, meanwhile, has posted an 8.31 ERA and .288 batting average against in four outings (three starts) since the All-Star break.

The 23-year-old out of Panama has made one career start against the Red Sox, one in which he took the loss despite only yielding two runs over 5 1/3 innings of work back on June 28th of last season at Fenway Park.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for their second straight win.

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.

 

 

Chris Sale Gets Lit up for Eight Runs in Shortest Start Since Opening Day as Red Sox Fall to Yankees in First Game of Doubleheader

After being limited to two runs on three hits on Friday, the Red Sox were held in check by the New York Yankees yet again on Saturday, as they dropped the first of a day-night doubleheader to extend their losing streak to six.

Making his 23rd start of the season and fourth against New York for Boston was Chris Sale, who came into the weekend fresh off surrendering five runs in less than six innings in his last time out against this same Yankees squad this past Sunday.

The losing streak for the Sox began that night, and it increased to six in this one, as the left-hander got lit up for a season-high eight runs, all of which were earned, on nine hits and zero walks to go along with four strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings of work.

The first of those eight Yankees tallies came right away in the bottom half of the first, with D.J. LeMahieu leading things off by blasting his 16th home run of the season, a 389-foot solo shot that got his side on the board first.

Sale did settle in a bit from there, retiring eight of the next 10 hitters he faced following that homer before running in to a great deal of trouble in the bottom of the fourth.

There, an Edwin Encarnacion leadoff single, as well as one-out and two-out singles from Gio Urshela and Kyle Higashioka, filled the bases for Breyvic Valera, who drove in the runner from third on an RBI single to right to break the 1-1 tie.

Now, there had been instances of Sale getting squeezed by home plate umpire Mike Estabrook, so when Sox manager Alex Cora came out to talk to his starter directly, he also exchanged some words with Estabrook on his way back to the visitor’s dugout, which resulted in him getting ejected from this game.

Once the dust had settled from that, Brett Gardner picked up where Valera had left off by lacing a two-run single up the middle. 4-1.

LeMahieu added on to that, taking Sale deep once more off a 2-1, 89 MPH changeup on the outer half of the zone that he snuck just over the right field wall for a three-run homer. 7-1.

An Aaron Judge ground-rule double would be how Sale’s afternoon came to a frustrating close, but it should not have even happened, as the pitch before the double clearly should have been called strike three, but it was called a ball by Estabrook instead.

Following said double and receiving the hook from bench coach Ron Roenicke, Sale let some of his frustration out on Estabrook as he was headed back to the Sox’ dugout, and he too was ejected as a result.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 76 (52 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his slider more than 39% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing four swings and misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 96.2 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he went to 20 times while Sandy Leon was behind the plate.

Ultimately falling to 5-11 while inflating his ERA on the season up to 4.68, Sale’s struggles against the Yankees continue. His next start should come against the Los Angeles Angels back at Fenway Park on Thursday.

In relief of Sale, Colten Brewer entered the fourth with one runner on second and one out to get, and he allowed that runner to score on an RBI base hit from Encarnacion to close the book on Sale’s outing before escaping the inning.

Josh Smith, just recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday, took over in the fifth, and he took over by yielding one run on an Encarnacion RBI single in the sixth in an otherwise four solid innings of mop up duty.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander Domingo German, who also opposed Sale last Sunday.

Starting the scoring in the top of the second, a red-hot Andrew Benintendi led off the inning by mashing his 12th big fly of the season, this one coming off a 3-2, hanging curveball from German that was sent a booming 436 feet to right-center field.

That knotted things up at one run apiece, but German did not buckle, and the only run the Boston bats got off him came in the fifth, when Jackie Bradley Jr. led the frame off with his 12th homer of 2019.

A 344-foot solo shot for Bradley Jr. off a first-pitch, 85 MPH changeup from German made it an 8-2 contest in favor of New York.

As it turns out though, the Sox did not get a single hit the rest of the way, as German and right-hander Jonathan Holder combined to sit down the last 15 Red Sox who came to the plate in order. And that is how 9-2 went on to be the final score in Game 1 on Saturday.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position on Saturday. They left three men on base as a team.

Andrew Benintendi’s last seven games: .500/.516/1.067 with four homers and nine RBI.

From MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

From Red Sox Stats:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

Left-hander Brian Johnson will get the start for Boston in the second installment of this doubleheader, while right-hander Chad Green will do the same for New York.

Johnson had been out since June 29th with a non-baseball related medical issue before being activated off the injured  list earlier Saturday.

Through seven appearances (two starts) with the Sox this season, the 28-year-old owns an ERA of 6.43 and batting average against of .349 over 14 total innings pitched.

Green, meanwhile, has posted a a 5.06 ERA and .303 batting average against over 36 outings (eight starts) and 42 2/3 innings of work.

Neither starter is expected to pitch deep into his game, I would assume.

First pitch Saturday night is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox looking to put a stop to this skid.

Chris Sale Struggles, Surrenders Six Runs as Red Sox Fail to Finish off Sweep of Yankees

After guaranteeing a series win with a 9-5 win over the New York Yankees on Saturday, the Red Sox were unable to finish off the four-game sweep in prime time, as they fell to their divisional foes Sunday by a final score of 9-6 to drop back down to 59-48 on the season.

Making his 22nd start of the season and third against New York for Boston was Chris Sale, who came into Sunday with back-to-back outings of at least six innings pitched and two or fewer runs allowed under his belt.

Struggling out of the gate and working into the sixth inning this time around, the left-hander surrendered six runs, all of which were earned, on five hits and three walks to go along with seven strikeouts on the night.

The first pair of those Yankees tallies came around to score in the top half of the third, when following seven straight outs to begin things on Sunday, Sale walked Cameron Maybin on five pitches before serving up a first-pitch, two-run home run to Austin Romine off a hanging, 87 MPH changeup.

It was more of the same for Sale an inning later, with Luke Voit drawing a one-out walk on six pitches and Didi Gregorius unloading on a 1-1, 81 MPH slider for another two-run blast and a four-run lead.

An important punchout of Voit to end the fifth with runners stranded on the corners in a two-run contest went for naught in the sixth, as Gregorius led things off by drawing a walk and Gio Urshela drove him in two batters later on a line-drive RBI double back up the middle.

That put the Yankees ahead 5-2, and that would be how Sale’s underwhelming evening ended.

Finishing with a final pitch count of exactly 100 (56 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 36% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing just one swing and miss and topping out at 97.7 MPH with the pitch while Sandy Leon was behind the plate. It’s also worth noting that the Yankees averaged exit velocities of 97.3 MPH and 94.9 MPH off of Sale’s heater and slider, the two pitches he threw the most in this one.

Eventually falling to 5-10 while inflating his ERA up to 4.26 on the season, Sale certainly did not have a July to remember. In five starts this month, the Florida native went 2-3 with 5.86 ERA and .250 batting average against over 27 2/3 innings pitched.

Things won’t get any easier for Sale either, as his next start should also come against these same Yankees sometime on Saturday.

In relief of Sale, Colten Brewer entered with two outs to get and a runner at second, and he allowed that runner to score on a Maybin RBI single to officially close the book on Sale’s outing before picking off Maybin at first, as well as getting Romine to ground out to third, to retire the side.

From there, Darwinzon Hernandez got the call for the seventh, and all hell broke loose when with the bases loaded and one out in the frame, Jackie Bradley Jr. came up with the second one of the inning on a fly ball off the bat of Gregorius.

With the chance to potentially double up Voit at first, Bradley Jr. followed Xander Bogaerts’ instruction and made the throw over to first. The only problem was that no one was covering the bag, which in turn resulted in a wild throw and two unearned Yankees runs crossing the plate to make it an 8-3 game.

More sloppy play came back to bite the Sox with two outs in the eighth, when a Marcus Walden wild pitch with Aaron Hicks at the plate allowed Cameron Maybin to easily score from third after he reached on a one-out double. 9-4.

Finally, Heath Hembree was responsible for the ninth, and he put together one of his best outings since being activated off the injured list on July 4th by sitting down the only three hitters he faced in order to keep his club’s deficit at five runs.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Yankees right-hander Domingo German, who proved to be a formidable opponent, as he put together the best start of any New York starter in this series.

Falling behind by four runs early, a red-hot Andrew Benintendi got the scoring started for Boston in the bottom half of the fourth by driving in Xander Bogaerts, as well as himself, on his 10th home run of the season and second in as many days. This one a 415-foot, two-run no doubter that cut the Yankees’ lead in half at 4-2.

Fast forward to the sixth, trailing 6-2 now, and Rafael Devers and Bogaerts led things off with a walk and a double to put runners in scoring position with no outs for J.D. Martinez.

The best Martinez could do was plate Devers from third on an RBI groundout to short, and that was all the Sox could manage in the inning with Benintendi and Brock Holt coming up short against new Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle.

An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr. reached base on a one-out single, bringing the pinch-hitting Christian Vazquez up in the place of Sandy Leon.

Up against right-hander Adam Ottavino, Vazquez moved Bradley Jr. up to third while reaching first safely himself.

Mookie Betts cut New York’s advantage back down to four runs with another sacrifice fly to drive in Bradley Jr., but once again, that’s all the run-scoring the Red Sox could muster with Bogaerts stranding Devers and Vazquez at second and third on an inning-ending fly out.

In the eighth, a Martinez leadoff walk, a Benintendi single, and a one-out walk drawn by the pinch-hitting Sam Travis against the left-handed Zack Brittion presented another opportunity for Boston.

Unfortunately though, Bradley Jr. fanned on six pitches and Vazquez grounded into a force out at second, thus extinguishing another threat.

Benintendi made things a bit interesting in the ninth by lacing a two-out, two-run double against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman to make it a 9-6 contest, but the rally fell short, and 9-6 went on to be Sunday’s final score.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Sunday. They left nine men on base as a team.

From Red Sox Notes:

All three hitters Chris Sale walked on Sunday scored in the same inning they drew said walks in, if that makes sense.

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Andrew Benintendi’s last seven games: .484/.500/.903 with three home runs and nine RBI. Potential American League Player of the Week candidate?

So, with an off day on Monday, the Red Sox wrap up the first half of 14 straight games against the Tampa Bay Rays and Yankees with a 5-2 record. As things stand right now, they currently sit one game back of the Oakland Athletics for the second American League Wild Card spot.

It didn’t end all that pretty, but taking three out of four from the best team in the division proved that the Red Sox can still make something out of this season. They should be buyers at the trade deadline, not sellers.

The Rays come into Fenway Park next, with a three-game series set to begin on Tuesday night.

Left-hander David Price is set to get the ball for Boston, while veteran right-hander Charlie Morton will do the same for Tampa Bay. The same pitching matchup when these two teams last faced off this past Wednesday.

In that contest, Price took the loss despite yielding just three runs over six quality innings, while Morton dominated by punching out 11 and giving up two runs over seven strong innings.

In his career at Fenway Park, the 35-year-old Morton is 3-0 with a 2.20 ERA and .213 batting average against over three starts and 16 1/3 innings of work.

Price, meanwhile, now owns a lifetime 3.23 ERA against the club he started his career with over 18 appearances (17 starts) and 108 2/3 innings pitched.

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