RECAP: The #RedSox Opened up a Six-Game Homestand on Friday by Unloading 14 Runs Against the Mariners.

Coming off a long road trip in which they averaged 4.2 runs scored per game, the Red Sox opened up a three-game weekend series against the Seattle Mariners in eventful fashion last night. The weirdest part of this game was that Steven Wright had his worst start of the season and they still found a way to win.

Having just gotten swept by the Yankees in New York, the Mariners came into Boston looking to get off to a quick start offensively. And with Steven Wright on the mound making his fourth start of the season on Friday, they did just that.

Yup, the knuckleballer, who in his last time out against the Mariners this past Saturday tossed seven one run innings in a losing effort, got rocked for the first time this season. Right from the get go, the Mariners were on top of Wright and his knuckleball, as they pounced for four runs in the first on two home runs, two in the second, and four again in the fourth with another home run mixed in there before the righty departed with two outs in the inning.

In those 4.2 frames of work, Wright got hit ten times for TEN earned runs. For the Mariners, Nelson Cruz was the main enforcer here. Old friend Denard Span was once again a bit of a headache, but by the time this thing reached the middle of the fourth inning, Cruz had already driven in SEVEN of his teams 10 runs, six of which came on two moon shots off of Wright.

The life of a knuckleballer, huh? One start you look like a magician, the next you look like absolute trash. Steven Wright’s ERA inflated from 1.23 all the way up to 3.38 after this stinker of a start, but he would not be pinned with the losing decision.

Nope, thanks to 5.2 scoreless frames of relief from the Red Sox bullpen and an explosion of runs from the lineup, the California native did not factor into the decision. Finishing with 59 pitches on the evening, Wright went to his knuckler 54 times and only got 4 swings and missed out of it. He’ll look to rebound next time out against the LA Angels on Thursday.

As I just mentioned, the Red Sox bullpen was nails last night. Starting in the top half of the fifth with two outs and a five run deficit, Brian Johnson, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, and Craig Kimbrel combined to toss over five shutdown innings while holding the Mariners to four hits and one walk.

For Barnes, this was his second straight scoreless appearance since giving up two runs in Seattle last Friday night. He struck out the side in the seventh. And for Kimbrel, who had not made an appearance since June 14th, he struck out one while tossing a scoreless ninth inning to wrap this crazy game up.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup went off for the second day in a row. They tallied nine runs in Minnesota on Thursday, and they added on that by plating 14 runs on 20 hits last night. Eight players finished the game with at least one run driven in. Let’s get to it.

Already trailing by four runs in the bottom of the first, the Red Sox made the most of their first at bats in this one.

Facing off against a pitcher who had just shut them out less than a week ago in M’s righty Wade LeBlanc, the top of the lineup got things started right away by recording four straight hits. Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi set the table by hitting back to back singles, and JD Martinez and Mitch Moreland followed that up with a pair of RBI knocks to make it a 4-2 game.

Two batters later, a Brock Holt RBI single, a Rafael Devers RBI groundout, and a Christian Vazquez RBI double plated another three runs, and just like that, the Red Sox were up by a run going into the second inning.

Fast forward all the way to the fifth, after the Mariners had gone up big again, Devers came through by cutting the Red Sox deficit to four with another RBI, this one coming on a single to score Mitch Moreland from third, making it a 10-6 ballgame.

An inning later is where things got really interesting. Similar to Thursday, when the Red Sox scored seven of their nine runs over the last three innings in Minnesota, they struck for eight runs in their last three innings with at bats on Friday as well.

Starting in the sixth, with LeBlanc now out of the contest and Mariners reliever Nick Vincent in, a two out walk of Andrew Benintendi led to another pitching change. So with James Pazos in the game now and Benintendi over at first, JD Martinez ended his homerless streak of at bats at 30 by mashing a 427 foot two-run shot to dead center. His 23rd big fly of the season.

The third run of the inning came around to score when Xander Bogaerts drove in Mitch Moreland on another RBI single to make it a one run game going into the seventh.

Trailing by one run now, two singles from Rafael Devers and a Mookie Betts walk loaded the bases for Andrew Benintendi. With Juan Nicasio on the mound for the Mariners, Benintendi ripped his second hit of the day, a single, to score Devers from third to tie the game and reload the bases for JD Martinez. With three hits on the day already, the Red Sox slugger collected his fourth and fifth RBI of the night by grounding a single up the middle to score Swihart and Betts. 12-10.

Two batters later, with Eduardo Nunez in the game pinch-hitting for Xander Bogaerts, two straight wild pitches from new pitcher Nick Rumbelow allowed Andrew Benintendi to score from third and allowed JD Martinez to advance from second to third.

To cap off a wild night of scoring, Eduardo Nunez collected his 17th RBI of the season by lining a single to center field to drive in Martinez for his teams 14th run of the night. That’s all the support the bullpen would need to secure win number 51.

Some notes from this W:

14 runs tied a season-high for the Red Sox. The only time they have scored as many runs this season came back on April 10th against the Yankees. The 20 hits did mark a new season-high.

Xander Bogaerts had to leave this game in the seventh inning after spraining his left index finger on an awkward slide into second base on a swiped bag in the sixth. He will not be in the lineup tonight.

After only hitting one home run and driving in one run on the road trip, JD Martinez came through with FIVE RBI on four hits last night.

Everyone in the Red Sox lineup, including Eduardo Nunez, reached base at least once. In total, the Red Sox went 20/43 with one home run and 13 RBI last night.

Looking to pick up the series win later tonight, it will be Eduardo Rodriguez making the start for Boston. He’ll be matched up against Mariners righty Mike Leake in the same pitching matchup we saw this past Sunday. The Red Sox had their way with Leake in that one, and they’ll look to do the same on Saturday. Going for his team-leading 10th winning decision of the season, Rodriguez owns a career 2.66 ERA in four starts against Seattle. With that in mind, first pitch of the middle game is scheduled for 7:15 PM ET on FOX.

 

 

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RECAP: Wade LeBlanc and Mariners Bullpen Combine to Toss a Shutout as #RedSox Drop Second Straight in Seattle.

In a game that took under two-and-a-half hours to complete, the Red Sox found themselves getting shutout for the second time in their last nine games.

Making his third start and ninth appearance of the season on Saturday evening, Steven Wright stayed dominant in another quality seven innings of work. In those seven innings, the righty allowed just one run on five hits and two walks while fanning four Mariners.

The only real trouble Wright ran into came in the third, when Seattle scored their only run of the game. That happened when, after Dee Gordon and Mitch Haniger both reached on singles off of Wright, Nelson Cruz drove in Gordon on a two out RBI single to left field. With that run coming across, the knuckleballer’s scoreless innings streak came too an and at an impressive 24.2 innings pitched, the second longest such streak this season (Daniel Mengden, Oakland Athletics, 25 IP).

Other than that, Wright did not find himself in too many stressful spots, and his performance was certainly worthy of a win. Unfortunately, his lineup did nothing to pick him up.

Finishing with 106 pitches (68 strikes) on the day, the California native relied on his knuckleball a whopping 84% of the time. With his next start expected to take place against the Mariners again next Friday, look for Wright to continue this outstanding run he has been on.

In relief of Wright, Alex Cora need to turn to just one pitcher in the eighth inning, and that pitcher was Brandon Workman. Having not appeared in a game since this past Wednesday, Workman gave up a one out double to Jean Segura in an otherwise shutdown inning of work. You figure only one run in eight innings would be good enough for the win, but a las, it was not.

On the other side of things, Mariners starter Wade LeBlanc, a guy who has pitched for seven different teams in 10 big league seasons, had himself the outing of his life yesterday.

Mookie Betts led things off in the first by ripping a single to left field. From that point on, LeBlanc proceeded to retire the next 22 batters he faced. It was not until Eduardo Nunez singled with two outs in the top half of the eighth when the Red Sox finally had another baserunner. That would end LeBlanc’s stellar day, and he did it all with an efficient pitch count of 98 pitches (73 strikes).

Old friend Alex Colome would come in to get the last out of the eighth by getting Mitch Moreland to pop out and Mariners closer Edwin Diaz recorded his second save in less than 24 hours by striking out the side in the ninth.

Heading into the series finale this afternoon in a 2-1 hole, the Red Sox will look to Eduardo Rodriguez for the split. He’ll be matched up against Mariners righty Mike Leake. Not only does a win ensure a series split with one of the hotter teams in the American League, it also ensures a 5-2 start to the road trip heading into an off day on Monday. First pitch of the fourth game is schedules for 4:10 PM ET.

 

RECAP: Steven Wright Extends Scoreless Innings Streak as #RedSox Take Opener from Orioles in Extras.

Coming off a 3-3 homestand against the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox, the Red Sox embarked on a 10 game road trip with the first stop coming in Baltimore. Facing off against a 19-45 Orioles team, Steven Wright and the Red Sox bullpen gave up absolutely nothing in a twelve inning win.

Making his second start of the season, Wright extended his scoreless inning streak to 23.2 in a solid effort last night. Pitching into the seventh inning, the knuckleballer scattered four hits and three walks while fanning five.

It was not until his final frame of work when Wright finally ran into a bit of trouble, and that happened when he allowed three consecutive Orioles to reach base, which loaded the bases with two outs to end his night. With his pitch count at 93 (58 strikes), Alex Cora turned to Joe Kelly to get the most crucial out of the game.

Adam Jones, who had already reached base twice up to this point, had been a career .250 hitter when facing Kelly, but those numbers got a little worse because the Red Sox flamethrower got Jones to strikeout on five pitches to end the inning, thus killing any shot at an Orioles rally.

From the bottom half of the eighth on, the Red Sox bullpen continued to shut down the Orioles lineup. Kelly, Brian Johnson, Brandon Workman, and Heath Hembree combined to toss 4.1 scoreless frames while limiting the O’s to just one hit and three walks.

Combine that with the Red Sox finally tacking on a pair of runs in the top half of the 12th, and Craig Kimbrel was all set up to notch his 21st save of the season. The closer led things off by questionably walking Craig Gentry, but bounced back by striking out the next three batters he faced on 15 pitches. Ballgame over.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup got Mookie Betts back for the first time in over two weeks, but could not do much against Orioles pitching either. In fact, their ace, Dylan Bundy, had arguably his best start of the season against one of the better run producing teams in the American League.

Oh, they had their chances, but those did not come until late in this one. Up until the start of the 11th inning, the Red Sox sent more than three batters to the plate just five times last night and that did not translate in to any runs scored.

If you fast forward to that 11th inning, you’ll realize that Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and JD Martinez loaded the bases with two outs for Mitch Moreland. With Orioles reliever Mychal Givens, on the bump, Moreland got ahead and had a 3-0 count to his advantage. After taking the next two pitches for strikes to fill the count, the Red Sox first baseman could not keep up with a 96 MPH fastball from Givens and struck out while simultaneously leaving the bases loaded.

Luckily though, a similar situation presented itself in the 12th when, with Givens still on the mound, a single and a double from Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers and a Eduardo Nunez HBP loaded the bases with no outs this time.

Celebrating his 30th birthday, Brock Holt was due up next, and he came through with a 296 foot sacrifice fly to center field.

That allowed Bogaerts to score from third with plenty of time to spare while Devers and Nunez advanced into scoring position at the same time.

Now, to add on some insurance, Jackie Bradley Jr. delivered with a sacrifice fly of his own. This one scored Devers from third to put the Red Sox up by two, which is all Craig Kimbrel would need in the bottom half of the inning.

Some notes from this win:

Mookie Betts went 1/5 with a single in his return to the Red Sox lineup last night. He was taken out of the game in the middle of the 11th for precautionary reasons.

Rafael Devers accounted for his teams only extra base hit on the night when he hit his 14th double in the 12th. He made a handful of great plays at third base as well.

In four appearances this season, Brandon Workman has yet to give up a run and has only surrendered two hits and one walk in 4.1 innings pitched.

Happy belated birthday to Brock Holt. Position player of the game IMHO.

With the series opener in the books, Eduardo Rodriguez will toe the rubber for the Red Sox in the middle game of this three game set later tonight. He will be matched up against righty David Hess for the Orioles, who, in his last start against Boston on May 20th, gave up five runs in less than five innings pitched. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM once again.

 

 

RECAP: Steven Wright Tosses Seven Scoreless Innings in First Start of Season as #RedSox Shutout Tigers.

Since he was activated from the restricted list on May 14th, Steven Wright has shined out of the Red Sox bullpen. In six appearances, he pitched his way to a 2.25 ERA while holding opponents to a .167 batting average in 16 innings, the last nine of those all being scoreless.

With those numbers in mind and wanting to get his other starters an extra day of rest, Alex Cora named Wright the starting pitcher for last night’s game against the Tigers last week.

Before the game even started on Tuesday, Drew Pomeranz was placed on the 10-day disabled list with left bicep tendonitis. Since the lefty has struggled as of late and Wright has mostly succeeded, there has been much debate amongst Red Sox fans revolving around the opinion that Wright should take Pomeranz’s spot in the rotation. Well, the knucleballer got his chance to prove himself last night and that he did.

In seven full innings, Wright held the Tigers scoreless while scattering two hits and three walks with six strikeouts along the way. On a rainy and overcast night at Fenway, Wright did a solid job controlling his number one pitch. The first inning was a bit rocky with the first three batters in the Tigers order reaching base and all, but with some help from a great relay throw from Xander Bogaerts to Christian Vazquez to get Leonys Martin out at home, the righty was able to get out of the inning unscathed.

 


From the end of the first on, Wright limited the Tigers to two base runners in six innings on a walk in the second and a single in the third.

I get that it was just the 29-33 Detroit Tigers Wright was facing, but regardless of opponent, he has not given up a single run in his last 16 innings pitched. That is impressive and certainly worthy of another start with Drew Pomeranz hitting the disabled list.

Finishing with an efficient 96 pitches (57 strikes) on the night, I would hope Wright will start again against the Baltimore Orioles next week.

In relief of the knuckleballer, the Red Sox bullpen finished the shutout he started. Hector Velazquez, another converted reliever many feel deserves a shot in the rotation, and Brandon Workman, who had been the corresponding roster move for Pomeranz yesterday, both tossed scoreless innings to wrap this thing up.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup feasted on an inferior Tigers pitching staff last night.

Facing off against another righty in Artie Lewicki, a rookie, JD Martinez got the scoring started for the Red Sox right away in the bottom of the first. On a 3-2 count, Martinez launched a 91 MPH fastball from Lewicki and sent it 431 feet off a light tower in left field. Two-run moon shot.

Speaking of 3-2 counts, the Red Sox had to have loaded the bases at least five times last night. In fact, they sent eight batters to the plate in the fourth, loaded the bases twice, and came away with two runs. The first coming on an Eduardo Nunez RBI single and the second coming after Mitch Moreland scored on a Rafael Devers double play with the bases loaded.

The fourth ended up being Lewicki’s last frame of work after he walked Jackie Bradley Jr. to reload the bases again. He was replaced by Tigers reliever Warwick Saupold, an Australian, who has a great name for baseball, in my opinion.

Unfortunately for Saupold, he was not much better than Lewicki, and he led the fifth inning off by serving up a 401 foot opposite field solo shot to Xander Bogaerts. His ninth big fly of the season.

Three batters later, after the bases were reloaded for the Red Sox again, Brock Holt drove in his teams final run of the night on an RBI groundout to second that allowed JD Martinez to score from third. All and all, a pretty stress free night.

Some notes from this win:

JD Martinez became the first player in baseball to reach 20 home runs this season. In total, he was responsible for three of the six hardest hit balls last night, all of which had an exit velocity north of 104 MPH.

With two hits last night, Eduardo Nunez has extended his hitting streak to six games now. In the month of June, the infielder is slashing .438/.471/.438 over his last 16 at bats.

In 44 games and 174 at bats this season, Xander Bogaerts has hit nine home runs. In 148 games and 571 at bats last season, the shortstop hit 10 home runs.

With the series opening win picked up, the Red Sox will be sending Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound tonight looking to notch the series win. He will be matched up against Tigers lefty Blaine Hardy. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM.

Also, because of that Drew Pomeranz injury, the Red Sox will be calling up pitching prospect Jalen Beeks, a lefty, from Triple A Pawtucket to make a spot start on Thursday. Beeks, who was scratched from his scheduled start with the PawSox on Tuesday, owns a 2.56 ERA in 10 starts this season. He’s ranked as the #5 prospect on SoxProspects.com and was drafted by the Red Sox in the 12th round back in 2014.

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz Gives up Two-Run Homer in First Inning as #RedSox Fall to Astros in Series Opener.

Coming off a sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays in Boston, the Red Sox headed down to Houston to kick off a four-game series last night. Although it is still decently early in the season, I had this series circled in my calendar. The Astros are coming off their first World Series championship in franchise history last fall, and they just so happened to beat the Red Sox in the ALDS to get there. With both teams improving over the offseason, I was excited for this matchup.

In his eighth start of the season on Thursday, Drew Pomeranz did not have the best of first innings. After walking Alex Bregman on five pitches in between getting the first two outs, the lefty got taken deep to left by Astros shortstop Carlos Correa.

That 389 foot shot put the Astros up by two runs early and, despite some close moments, they would not have to look back.

After the Red Sox got those two runs back in their half of the third, the Astros struck for another two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Thanks in part to giving up two hits to the first three batters he faced to leadoff the inning, Tony Kemp drove in JD Davis from third to make it a one run game. That was followed by a bunt off the bat of outfielder Jake Marisnick which allowed Davis to score from third.

After Sandy Leon caught Marisnick trying to steal second to end the fourth, Pomeranz would go on to pitch one more inning, a 1-2-3 fifth to end his night.

So far this season, the lefty has only been able to pitch past the fifth inning twice in eight starts, and those came in back to back outings against the Royals and Yankees in early May. All and all, four runs in five innings against a juggernaut like the Houston Astros is not too shabby, so at the very least, he has earned himself another start.

In relief of Pomeranz, Alex Cora only needed to turn to one pitcher, and that pitcher was Steven Wright. The knuckleballer kept the Red Sox in this game while scattering one hit and three walks over three shutout innings pitched thanks to some help from Rafael Devers in the eighth.

With this most recent performance, Wright now owns a 2.25 ERA in 16 innings pitched since being activated from the restricted list on May 14th. Over that stretch, opponents are only hitting .167 off the California native. If Pomeranz’s struggles were to continue, Wright would be my first choise to take over his spot in the rotation.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox were without Mookie Betts for the fifth game in a row due to that left side tightness he has been dealing with. The Red Sox were also without Dustin Pedroia, who was scratched from the original lineup because of soreness in his surgically repaired knee.

So that all happened quickly before the game started. Then in the second inning, it looked like Rafael Devers was going to have to leave the game after colliding with Astros starter Lance McCullers at first base, but he was fine.

An inning later, the Red Sox scored their only two runs of the night off the bat of Xander Bogaerts on an RBI double that scored both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi on a close play at the plate.

Fast forward to the ninth, trailing by two runs, and the Red Sox made things a little interesting. With Astros closer Ken Giles on the mound, a two out single from Sandy Leon and a walk drawn by Jackie Bradley Jr. brought the go-ahead run to the plate in Blake Swihart. Unfortunately, as was the theme for the Red Sox last night, Swihart appeared to make solid contact with a 88 MPH slider from Giles, but it was hit right at Jake Marisnick in center field. That killed any shot at a rally and ended the winning streak at three games.

Some notes from this one:

According to Statcast, the eight hardest hit balls last night all belonged to the Red Sox. Four of them went for hits, while the other four went for outs.

Andrew Benintendi finished the month with a 2-for-3 day at the plate. In May, he slashed .349/.411/.633 with 6 HR and 23 RBIs.

JD Martinez finished the month with a 0-for-3 day at the plate. In May, he slashed .299/.370/.729 with 13 HR and 25 RBIs. American League Player of the Month right there.


With the series opener out of the way, the Red Sox will look to rebound in the second of four games later tonight. Chris Sale will be getting the start in this one, and he is coming off one of his more disappointing starts of the season last time out against Atlanta. He will be matched up against former Pittsburgh Pirate Gerrit Cole. In his first season in Houston, Cole currently leads the AL in strikeouts with 109 of them on the season. Who is in second you ask? Well, that would be the other starter in tonight’s game, the aforementioned Chris Sale, who has 104 K’s in 2018.

A primetime pitching matchup to kick off the weekend. Couldn’t ask for anything better on a Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 PM ET, time to even this series up.

 

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz Gets Rocked as #RedSox Can’t Complete Comeback Against Orioles.

Just a quick recap of last night’s game:

Going into last night, Drew Pomeranz had made five starts for the Red Sox since being activated from the 10-day disabled list back on April 20th. In those five starts, he owned a 5.47 ERA in 24.2 innings pitched. He had not been particularly bad in any of those starts, but he has not been great either. How would he fare against one of the worst teams in the American League? Not great.

In his sixth start of the season, Pomeranz got rocked by the Baltimore Orioles. Right from the start, when he walked the first batter he faced on four pitches, you could pretty much tell it wouldn’t be his night. The Orioles got to the lefty for one run in the first, then tacked on another four runs in the fourth, Pomeranz’s final inning of work. What was even worse was the pitch count, as he needed 81 pitches to get through those four innings.

In relief of Pomeranz, Steven Wright made his second appearance of the season since being activated from the disabled list. He pitched into the ninth inning of this one, while surrendering two runs on three hits and two walks. Heath Hembree came on with two outs in the ninth, and retired the only batter he faced with a strikeout.

Offensively, the Red Sox out-hit the Orioles 13-10, but could not outscore them. Mookie Betts had another great night at the plate, as he launched his 14th homer of the season to put his team on the board in the third.

Two innings later, Betts came through again with an RBI double to score Eduardo Nunez, then Andrew Benintendi scored him from second on an RBI single of his own.

Fast forward to the eighth, and the Red Sox had their best scoring opportunity of the night. Trailing by three runs, Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Nunez, Brock Holt, and Mitch Moreland all reached base to score a run and load the bases for Mookie Betts with two outs in the inning.

Facing off against O’s righty Brad Brach, Betts came to the plate looking for his fourth hit of the night, but he popped out to first to end the inning and kill the Red Sox rally. The Orioles would tack on an insurance run in the ninth and that would be that.

Up next for the Red Sox is a Dylan Bundy vs. Rick Porcello matchup later tonight. Porcello’s ERA has inflated from 2.14 to 3.28 over his last two starts, so I’m sure he would like to reverse that trend today, if they can get the game in. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET, weather permitting.

Again, sorry this is shorter than usual. Next one should be back to normal.

RECAP: #RedSox Fall Behind Early, Nearly Complete Comeback in 5-3 Loss to Athletics.

It took some time, but the Red Sox lost to the Oakland Athletics for the fourth straight time last night. After a rain delay that lasted approximately one hour and 40 minutes, the Red Sox found themselves behind early once again.

Eduardo Rodriguez got the start in this one, marking his eighth of the season. For the second time in a row, the lefty only lasted five innings on the mound, and despite not being as effective as he was last Wednesday in New York, he did a solid job of avoiding any major damage. In five full innings pitched, the native of Venezuela surrendered three runs on six hits, including a home run, to go along with no walks and four strikeouts. All three of those runs were scored over the first two innings, as Matt Chapman drove in a pair on a double in the first, and Stephen Piscotty mashed a solo home run over the Green Monster in the second.

For Piscotty, this home run is sure to be memorable. It’s his first one since he was activated from the bereavement list on Tuesday, as his mother passed away from ALS last week. Regardless of the result, it was a very cool moment to witness live.

Moving on, with his pitch count all the way up to 93 (53 strikes) through just five innings of work, Eduardo Rodriguez’s night would come to an end. He’ll look to build on this so-so performance next time out against the Baltimore Orioles this Sunday.

Rodriguez’s departure would make way for the return of Steven Wright in the seventh inning. Making his first big league appearance since April 29th of last season, I was curious to see how the knuckeballer would perform in his new role out of the Red Sox bullpen. In his first two innings of work, Wright certainly was not all that effective, but he held the Athletics scoreless over that stretch. He came back out to start the eighth inning as well, but that was probably a mistake.

After getting the leadoff man Jed Lowrie to ground out, Wright gave up two consecutive singles to put runners on first and second with just one out. That would be all for the California native, as he would later be charged with two earned runs when the base runners he was responsible for scored on a Mark Canha double.

Once Wirght departed, it was up to Bobby Poyner to get out of the eighth inning jam. Like Wright, Poyner had just been recalled from Triple A Pawtucket. As I just mentioned though, the lefty gave up a two-run double to the second batter he faced in Mark Canha, and that pretty much put this game out of reach.

Looking to keep it a one run game an inning later, Brian Johnson got the call for the ninth for the second straight win. Once again, Johnson did his job effectively. He held the A’s scoreless while tossing his second straight perfect inning in as many nights.

So, even with some newer additions from within, the Red Sox bullpen should still be an area of concern. Isn’t that right, Mr. Dombrowski?

Anyway, on the other side of things, The Red Sox lineup was held to just three runs last night. Similar to how he performed against them in Oakland, A’s starter Daniel Mengden pitched well against the Red Sox for the second time this season. He held them to just to runs, one of which was earned, over six innings pitched. The Athletics bullpen followed suit by tossing three innings of one run ball.

Trailing 3-0 essentially from the get go, the Red Sox had a chance to tack on a run in their half of the first. Unfortunately for them, a base running gaff from Andrew Benintendi as he was unwisely rounding third base cost them that chance.

Fast forward to the fourth, Mitch Moreland plated the first run of the game for the Red Sox on an RBI ground out that scored JD Martinez from third. This would not have been possible if, when Martinez led the inning off, Matt Chapman did not commit an error while making an errant throw to first base from third. Since the ball ended up out of play, Martinez was awarded second base, and he would eventually score in the inning.

An inning later, Andrew Benintendi redeemed himself from that base running blunder he made earlier by mashing his third home run of the season into the bleachers in right field.

That 437 foot bomb pulled the Red Sox within one run before the A’s pulled away in the eighth. Later in the ninth, down to their last three outs, it looked like a late night rally was about to be staged.

Rafael Devers led things off by reaching first on a strikeout. Pinch hitting for Christian Vazquez, Brock Holt followed that up by ripping a double to left field to put runners on second and third with no outs. With the top of the lineup now at the plate, I was thinking walk off. Instead, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Hanley Ramirez were retired in order. Devers did cross the plate to make it a two run game, but that would be all the Red Sox could muster in the final frame.

On the bright side of things, Andrew Benintendi is in the midst of an eight game hitting streak. Over that stretch, the Red Sox outfielder is slashing .308/.372/.538 with two home runs and six RBIs.

Having dropped their last two games, Chris Sale will have the opportunity to be the stopper later tonight. He’ll be matched up against A’s righty Trevor Cahill in the series finale. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET. Happy Sale Day.