RECAP: Mookie Betts Amazes with Cycle as #RedSox Drop Series Finale to Blue Jays.

Believe it or not, the Red Sox are not a perfect team. They are capable of losing games and that is exactly what happened Thursday night for the first time this month.

Coming off the game of his life in his last time out against the New York Yankees this past Friday, Rick Porcello made his 24th start of the season yesterday, and he found himself struggling against Toronto’s team yet again.

If you recall the last time Porcello faced the Blue Jays in the series before the All-Star break, then you’ll remember that he got absolutely lit up for eight runs in two innings pitched back on July 13th in an eventual loss.

Last night, it was more of the same for the right-hander. Not only was he matched up against the same pitcher as before in Toronto’s Ryan Borucki, Porcello surrendered SEVEN runs in only four-plus innings pitched in another losing effort.

Things went awry right away for the New Jersey native in this one, as he walked the very first two batters he faced, which later resulted in two Blue Jays runs crossing the plate in the first.

An inning later, another leadoff walk and a single off the bat of Aledmys Diaz put runners at first and third for the Jays with no outs and Kevin Pillar at the plate.

On the first pitch of his at bat, Pillar grounded into what looked to have the potential of a force out at second. The run was scoring no matter what, but an E5 from Eduardo Nunez prevented a single out from being recorded and runners were safe at first and second with still no outs.

Nothing more came of that in the second, but Teoscar Hernandez, as he is known to do, blasted a solo homer off of Porcello in the third to pull his team ahead by two runs. He now has hit eight home runs in 20 career games against the Red Sox.

After what was without a doubt his best inning of the night in the fourth, a 1-2-3 effort, Porcello got hit hard again in his final frame, a frame that was capped off by a go-ahead three-run home run from Randal Grichuk, the last batter Porcello faced before getting the rather quick hook.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (54 strikes) and his team trailing by three runs at the time of his departure, Porcello relied on his curveball nearly one-third of the time he was on the mound Thursday. He also topped out at 92.6 MPH with his four-seam fastball on his 13th pitch of the game.

How one goes from pitching a complete game in one outing to struggling mightily in the next is something I don’t think I will ever understand. If you’re frustrated by Porcello’s lack of consistency though, just keep these numbers in mind.

The 29-year-old will look to rebound from one of his worst performances of the season in his next time out against the Phillies in Philadelphia on either Tuesday or Wednesday, probably Tuesday.

In relief of Porcello, Brandon Workman got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he retired three of the only four batters he faced to clean up the mess made in the fifth.

Hector Velazquez was next up for both the sixth and seventh innings, and he allowed a lone Blue Jays run to score on back-to-back hits from Curtis Granderson and Devon Travis in the sixth while tossing a scoreless seventh.

And in the eighth, Tyler Thornburg worked his away around a pair of two out singles to strike out the side and give his team one last chance in the ninth trailing by four runs.

On the other side of things, as I had mentioned above, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a pitcher they had already familiarized themselves with in Toronto’s Ryan Borucki.

Similar to Porcello, Borucki, 24, in his rookie season, has been solid as a starter for the Blue Jays against teams not named the Red Sox.

He gave up seven runs, four of which were earned, in three innings pitched on July 13th at Fenway Park, and despite picking up the win on Thursday, Borucki was not much better.

Like Porcello, Borucki too allowed the first two batters he faced to reach base on back-to-back singles from Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi.

Four batters and one Xander Bogaerts walk later, Eduardo Nunez came through in a bases loades situation by ripping a two-run single to right field to drive in Betts and Benintendi. Just like that, the Red Sox had themselves a quick two run lead and it looked like it was going to be another one of this high scoring nights.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it turned out to be, because the Blue Jays answered right back with two runs of their own in their half of the first, and jumped out to a 4-2 lead by the time Boston tacked on their next run in the fifth.

That run, a one out solo home run off the bat of JD Martinez, was good for his 35th of the season and had an exit velocity of 108 MPH. 4-3 game.

A Brock Holt RBI single later in the inning that scored Eduardo Nunez from second knotted this thing up at four runs a piece, but a three-run rally from the Blue Jays in the bottom half of the fifth essentially put this contest out of reach for the Red Sox.

Thanks to Mookie Betts though, headlines would still be made in Boston’s favor despite their first loss in over a week.

Going into the ninth with a single, a double, and a triple already under his belt, Betts had one last chance to go for history with Ken Giles on the mound for Toronto.

As I wrote yesterday, Betts got ahead in the count at 3-1, fouled off a 96.5 MPH fastball that was right down broadway, and capitalized on the very next pitch, a 85.6 MPH slider from Giles located at the top of the strike zone, by sending it 379 feet into the left field seats. First career cycle completed.

That homer, Betts’ 27th, put Boston’s fifth and final run of the night on the board, but it really meant so much more.

The 21st cycle in Red Sox history and first since Brock Holt did it back during the 2015 season, Mookie Betts should 100% be the favorite to win American League MVP right now. Not Mike Trout, not Jose Ramirez, Mookie Betts.

Some notes from this one:

With a 1/4 night at the plate on Thursday, JD Martinez is currently riding an eight-game hittins streak. Over that span, Martinez is slashing .438/.514/.906 with three home runs and 10 RBI.

In seven games and 28 at bats this month, Mookie Betts owns a 1.500 OPS to go along with seven extra base hits.

Wrapping up the first leg of their road trip with a series win, the Red Sox head to Baltimore to take on a lowly Orioles team in a four-game weekend series.

Getting the start in the opener will be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who has yet to surrender a run in two starts and 15 innings pitched with his new club.

Opposite Eovaldi will be Baltimore’s ace Dylan Bundy, who has pitched well against the Red Sox in three starts this season. Last time Bundy faced them on June 11th, he held Boston scoreless in eight innings of work in a game the Red Sox eventually won in extras.

The Orioles have traded off most of their assets in Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Zach Britton, Brad Brach, and Kevin Gausman, so I totally expect the Red Sox to have full control of this series. Chris Sale will also make his return to the rotation on Sunday.

First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET Friday.

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BREAKING: Mookie Betts Hits for Cycle in Toronto.

Although they may have lost their first game in over a week on Thursday night, the Red Sox certainly made headlines in Toronto thanks to Mookie Betts.

Entering the night with the highest batting average in baseball at .340, it looked as though Boston’s leadoff man was on a mission against Ryan Borucki and the rest of the Blue Jays pitching staff.

Leading off the contest with a simple single, Betts would go on to get the hardest hit out of the way with a hard hit triple just out of Kevin Pillar’s reach in center field an inning later.

After doubling in the fourth and drawing a walk in the sixth, it would all come down to the final frame for the Tennessee native to get the job done.

Facing off against Toronto closer Ken Giles with one out in the ninth, Betts got ahead in the count at 3-1, fouled off a 96.5 MPH fastball right down the middle, which clearly ticked him off and pulled the count to 3-2.

Fortunately, Mookie made an adjustment and made Giles pay for the next pitch he threw, an 86 MPH slider at the top of the zone that the three-time All-Star sent 379 feet to left field to secure the cycle.

The 21st and first cycle from a Red Sox player since Brock Holt accomplished the feat on June 16th, 2015 against the Atlanta Braves, more than three years ago.

On the season now, Betts owns a .347 batting average to go along with 27 home runs and a 1.102 OPS and is pulling closer and closer to becoming the clear cut favorite to win American League MVP.

Full recap of Thursday night’s 8-5 loss is coming tomorrow.

Drew Pomeranz Is Headed to the #RedSox Bullpen, for Now.

Hours before the Red Sox take on the Toronto Blue Jays looking for their seventh consecutive win, Manager Alex Cora announced that left-hander Drew Pomeranz will now assume a reliever role with the club.

This move does not come as a surprise to many, as Pomeranz has not looked quite like himself in the three starts he has made since being activated from the 10-day disabled list on July 24th.

Over that span, the lefty has surrendered eight earned runs on 14 hits and 11 walks in 14.1 innings pitched, good for an ERA of 5.02 and an OPS against of .894. Not great.

The Red Sox are 1-2 in those three Pomeranz starts and 5-6 in his starts dating back to April 20th.

Although this decision may be discouraging for the soon to be free agent, the numbers say that, over his eight-year career between the Rockies, Athletics, Padres, and Red Sox, Pomeranz has actually been more efficient out of the bullpen.

In 59 career appearances as a reliever, Pomeranz owns a 2.10 ERA in 64 innings pitched. Compare that to a 4.04 ERA in 122 career starts, and perhaps this role will benefit the native of Tennessee.

The last time Pomeranz pitched out of the Red Sox bullpen came during the 2016 ALDS, when in two appearances against the Indians, the 29-year-old hurler allowed two earned runs over 4.1 total innings pitched.

There is still a chance that Pomeranz gets designated for assignment though, as roster spots will need to be made available for the likes of Blake Swihart, Ian Kinsler, and Chris Sale in the coming days.

Alex Cora also announced Thursday that Brian Johnson will maintain his spot in the Red Sox rotation.

Chris Sale is still scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale against the Orioles in Baltimore, per The Boston Globe.

RECAP: Rafael Devers Homers in Return from Disabled List as #RedSox Remain Unbeaten in August.

On the night following a 10-7 win despite a disappointing performance from Drew Pomeranz, the Red Sox hung another 10 runs on the Blue Jays while Wednesday’s starter Brian Johnson had himself a much better time on the mound at Rogers Centre.

Making his eighth start of the season and pitching north of the border for the first time since he took the loss on a Luke Maile walk-off home run on May 11th, Johnson breezed through the first five innings of this one.

Retiring 15 of the first 18 batters he faced while holding the Jays scoreless, it looked as though the lefty was going to cruise to his third winning decision on Wednesday night.

It turned out that way in the end, but not before the Blue Jays gave Johnson a fair amount of trouble in both the sixth and seventh innings.

Starting in that sixth inning, a two-run home run off the bat of Teoscar Hernandez, who has now hit seven homers in 19 career games against the Red Sox, that was preceded by a Justin Smoak single gave Toronto their first two runs of the contest.

An inning later, which is the furthest Johnson has pitched into a big league game since last May, another home run, this one good for three runs off the bat of Randal Grichuk cut Boston’s lead in half and ended Johnson’s night on a rather sour note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (67 strikes), the former Florida Gator relied on his offspeed curveball heavily on Wednesday, as he went to it 44% of the time he was on the mound. His four-seam fastball, a pitch Johnson went to 40 times, topped out at 90.1 MPH in the second inning. Both home runs given up were a result of 86 and 87 MPH fastballs.

As he did end up improving to 3-3 on the season despite the five runs given up for the second consecutive outing, I would assume that Johnson will be able to maintain his spot in the rotation and make another start against the Philadelphia Phillies next week.

In relief of Johnson, the Red Sox bullpen, fresh off more than five innings of work on Tuesday, did not need to be turned to that frequently last night.

Both Ryan Brasier and Joe Kelly tossed scoreless frames of work in the 10-5 win. Brasier worked his way around two base runners to retire the side in the eighth, and Joe Kelly did the same in the ninth to wrap up his team’s 81st win of the year.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was mas matched up against a 28-year-old rookie right-handed pitcher in Toronto’s Mike Hauschild.

Hauschild, making his first career big league start, managed to hold Boston scoreless through the first two innings, but things really blew up on him starting in the third.

Rafael Devers, who was making his first start since being activated from the 10-day disabled list earlier in the day, got a four-run rally started by reaching second on a leadoff double.

One walk of Sandy Leon and one Mookie Betts HBP later to load the bases, Andrew Benintendi put the Red Sox on the board with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Devers from third with ease.

Mitch Moreland, fresh off a four RBI night on Tuesday, followed that up by ripping another double off the wall in center field to drive in both Leon and Devers and make it a 3-0 game.

Following a JD Martinez single that advanced Moreland to third and a Blue Jays pitching change that saw Luis Santos take over for Hauschild, Xander Bogaerts capped off the early rally with another sac fly to right field that allowed Moreland to score from third. 4-0.

In the fifth, Bogaerts came through again with runners in scoring position, as he drew a bases loaded walk from Santos that let Mookie Betts, who led the inning off with a single, plate Boston’s fifth run.

An inning later, Rafael Devers put on exclamation point in his first game back from injury by blasting a 2-2 slider from new Jays reliever Jake Petricka 425 feet into the left field seats. Devers’ 16th big fly of the season was good for two and had an exit velocity of over 109 MPH, the second hardest hit ball of the evening.

Fast forward a bit to the seventh, and back-to-back doubles from JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts plated Boston’s eighth run while Bogaerts was able to pick up his third RBI of the contest.

Finally, in the ninth, JD Martinez capped off what was another offensive onslaught from the Red Sox lineup by driving in Sandy Leon from second on a two out RBI single, his league-leading 98th of the season. Andrew Benintendi also came around to score in the inning thanks to a wild pitch from Toronto reliever Joe Biagini to plate his team’s 10th and last run of the night.

Some notes from this win: 

During his current seven-game hitting streak, JD Martinez is slashing .464/.559/.893 with one home run and nine RBI over that span.

From @MLBStatoftheDay: The are the 7th AL team EVER to win at least 81 of their first 115 games.

At 81-34, the Red Sox have won their last six games, all of which have come in August, 10 out of their last 11, and 25 of their last 30. Their winning percentage on the season is a robust .704.

Going for the series win later tonight, it will be Rick Porcello getting the ball for the Red Sox against Blue Jays rookie southpaw Ryan Borucki.

Coming off perhaps the best start of his career last Friday against the New York Yankees in which he tossed nine innings of one run ball, Porcello will be in search of his 15th win of the season on Thursday.

Opposite Porcello will be Ryan Borucki, who also matched up against the righty in his last start against Boston on July 13th, a start in which he surrendered seven runs (four earned) on eight hits and four walks in what turned out to be a 13-7 win for Toronto.

The Red Sox are red-hot and first pitch of the series finale at Rogers Centre is once again scheduled for 7:07 PM ET Thursday.

 

RECAP: Five-Run Tenth Inning Rally in Toronto Leads #RedSox to 80th Win of Season.

Coming off a weekend in which they swept the New York Yankees in four games, the Red Sox headed north of the border to Toronto on the first leg of a three-city, nine game road trip looking to become the first team in the majors to reach 80 wins, which is exactly what happened on Tuesday.

Drew Pomeranz made his third start since returning from the 10-day disabled list on July 24th, and despite what the numbers say, was far from proficient in this one.

Pitching into the fifth inning, the lefty surrendered two earned runs on four hits, yet walked FIVE and only struck out one.

Those two runs came on swing of the bat from Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis, a one out, two-run home run in the third inning that put Toronto on the board first.

That may have been the only real damage Pomeranz sustained on the night, but it truly goes deeper than that.

The pitch count, velocity, and what appears to be a lack of motivation or confidence while on the mound all seem to be prevalent in Pomeranz’s case. Bottom line: it does not look like he wants to be there and he rarely ever gives his team a chance to win.

In total, the Tennessee native found himself behind in EIGHT three-ball counts, including the five free passes, which came at a pace of one per inning ending in the fifth.

All and all, it’s difficult to say Pomeranz did not give the Red Sox a chance to win this game, because he left with them trailing by just one run, but how he performed last night was far from encouraging.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 84 (44 strikes), the 29 year-old hurler induced three total swings and misses. That is far from ideal, especially when you’re topping out at 91.8 MPH with your four-seam fastball in a game against big league hitters. Makes for an ugly outing, and Pomeranz may as well consider himself lucky for only giving up two runs.

With Chris Sale set to return from the disabled list this weekend in Baltimore, it will be interesting to see what becomes of the Red Sox rotation. Sale, Porcello, Price, and Eovaldi are all obvious locks. Then it comes down to two lefties: Brian Johnson, who starts on Wednesday, or Pomeranz? Who would you rather have as the fifth starter? My money is on BJ.

In relief of Pomeranz, the Red Sox bullpen certainly had themselves a night to forget starting in the middle of the seventh.

Heath Hembree rebounded from a rough appearance on Sunday night by retiring the only batter he faced in the fifth to make way for Brandon Workman in the sixth.

Despite loading the bases on the first three batters he faced, Workman escaped the frame scot-free with the help of some clutch defensive play from Sandy Leon to keep the Red Sox within one run.

From that point on, a combination of Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, Craig Kimbrel, and Tyler Thornburg surrendered five runs over the final four innings of last night’s contest.

Kelly’s run put Toronto up 3-1, Barnes’ run cut the Red Sox lead to 5-4, Kimbrel’s run, a Justin Smoak solo home run, resulted in a blown save and a 5-5 game heading into the tenth, and Thornburg’s two runs broke up the reliever’s streak of six straight scoreless appearances.

Fortunately, the ex-Brewer held things together, recorded the third and final out of the tenth, and locked down his team’s 80th win of the season with the 10-7 victory. Oddly enough, Craig Kimbrel was credited with the winning decision.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Toronto’s “ace” in right-hander Marcus Stroman.

Although he has not pitched much like an ace for the majority of this season, Stroman had his way with Boston on Tuesday.

Tossing seven innings of one run ball, with that lone run coming on a JD Martinez RBI single in the fourth, the thing that really killed the Red Sox while Stroman was on the mound had to be ground ball outs.

The Duke product induced 14 of them on the night, which also resulted in two double plays early on.

With his pitch count at 92, it looked like Stroman was ready for another frame of work in the eighth, but a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand forced his night to come to a close, and that’s where this game turned around in the right direction for Boston.

Blue Jays reliever Ryan Tepera took over for Stroman in the eighth with a two run lead to protect.

After Bruck Holt struck out to lead off the inning, a Sandy Leon double, Mookie Betts walk, and Andrew Benintendi single loaded the bases with Mitch Moreland due up.

On the second pitch he saw from Tepera, grounded a ball sharply to second base for the force out there, but Leon managed to score without a throw home to make it a 3-2 game with two outs for JD Martinez.

In a 2-0 hitter’s count with Betts at third and Moreland at first, Martinez launched a 95 MPH fastball over the wall in the left field corner for his league-leading 34th big fly and 97th RBI of the year. 5-3 game.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, that clutch home run would not amount to much a few minutes later when the Blue Jays stormed back to send this thing into extras tied at five runs a piece.

Starting the tenth with the 9-1-2 hitters due up and former Astros closer Ken Giles on the hill for the Blue Jays, Mookie Betts got a five-run rally started with a one out triple.

Two batters and one Andrew Benintendi walk later, Mitch Moreland came through with his 14th homer of the season, another three-run bomb sent 381 feet into the seats in right field to give the Red Sox a 8-5 lead.

After JD Martinez grounded out to short for the second out and Xander Bogaerts reached first on a single up the middle, Jackie Bradley Jr. really put this game out of reach with his ninth long ball of 2018 to put his team up 10-5, which, despite a last-ditch two run rally from the Jays in their half of the tenth, is all they would need to secure this series opening win.

Some notes from this win:

Over his last five appearances, Craig Kimbrel has allowed five runs to score in 5.1 innings pitched. According to @RedSoxStats: Kimbrel’s 3.32 FIP (fielding independent pitching) ranks 64th/157 qualified relievers this year.

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox are 80-34 (.702), their most wins ever through 114 games.

This is the first time since 2007 the Red Sox are MLB’s first team to reach 80 wins.

Since going 13-13 from April 21-May 18, the Sox are 50-19 (.725).

Boston is 24-5 (.828) in its last 29 games.

As is mentioned above, the Red Sox are 80-34 and the first team in baseball to reach that mark this season. Both statements are insane.

With a potential series win at hand later tonight, it will be a pitching matchup featuring Brian Johnson for Boston and rookie Mike Hauschild for Toronto.

Johnson is coming off an outing in which he got roughed up for five runs in five innings against the Yankees this past Thursday and owns a lifetime 7.47 ERA in five career appearances against the Blue Jays.

Hauschild, 28 and a right-hander, will be making his first career start in the majors after five career relief appearances between Houston and Toronto the past two seasons. As you may have guessed, he has never faced the Red Sox in his short stint in the big leagues.

Rafael Devers is expected to be activated from the 10-day disabled list today while infielder Tony Renda, who scored the game-winning run against the Yankees on Monday morning, will be optioned back down to Pawtucket.

Chris Sale, Ian Kinsler, and Blake Swihart are also expected to be activated from the DL in the coming days.

First pitch of the second game of the series in Toronto is scheduled for 7:07 PM ET Tuesday.

 

 

RECAP: Xander Bogaerts Homers Again as #RedSox Close out First Half with 68th Win of Season.

On the last day before hitting the All-Star break, the Red Sox were looking to end the first half of their season on a positive note by taking three out of four games from the Toronto Blue Jays.

Making his first start for the team since July 3rd, Brian Johnson returned from the disabled list in effective fashion on Sunday afternoon.

In just over four innings pitched, the lefty surrendered two runs on two hits and four walks while tying a season-high in strikeouts with five on the day.

Four walks in that short of an outing usually is not a good sign for a pitcher, but Johnson found himself working his away around them to avoid anything too detrimental.

In fact, the only real costly mistake the Florida native made came in the third inning, when with one out and a runner at second, Johnson left a 0-1, 76 MPH curveball on the inner half of the plate, and Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernandez made him pay for it, as he sent it 349 feet into the Monster seats for a two-run shot, tying the game at two runs a piece.

Following that home run though, Johnson proceeded to retire seven of the final eight batters he faced, and with two outs in the top half of the fifth and Hernandez due up for Toronto, got the hook in favor of Brandon Workman.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 84 (52 strikes), the 27 year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball just over 51% of the time on Sunday, and topped out at 92 MPH with it in the first inning.

Since rejoining the Red Sox rotation on June 28th against the Angels, Johnson has yet to go deeper than five innings in three outings, yet the Red Sox are unbeaten in all three of those starts.

In relief of Johnson, as I had previously mentioned, Brandon Workman got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen. Needing one out to close out the top half of the fifth, Workman struck out the only batter he faced, Hernandez, on seven pitches.

From that point on, despite a more than welcome amount of traffic on the base paths, Tyler Thornburg, Ryan Brasier, and Heath Hembree all tossed a scoreless inning of relief each, setting up Craig Kimbrel for the save opportunity with a three-run lead to work with in the ninth.

Making his last appearance out of the Red Sox bullpen before heading to Washington DC for his seventh All-Star Game, Kimbrel notched his 30th save of the season by pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning, including two straight punch outs to close this thing out and secure his teams 68th win of the year.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman.

Never trailing in this game, Xander Bogaerts stayed red-hot and started off the scoring with his 16th home run of the season, a solo shot sent 423 feet over the Monster, to put the Red Sox on the board first.

Four batters later, after JD Martinez drew a seven pitch walk and Mitch Moreland reached first on a fielding error, Brock Holt came through with his first of two RBI knocks on the day, as he scored Martinez from third on a hard-hit bloop single to center field, putting the Red Sox up 2-0 early.

After Toronto came back to tie things back up again in the third, a Sandy Leon leadoff double in the fifth got a mini rally started for the Red Sox.

Following that up with a double of his own of off Stroman, Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in the go-ahead run while also collecting his 31st RBI of the season and giving his team a one run lead they would not have to look back from.

That was followed by a Mookie Betts flyout that allowed Bradley to tag up and advance to third, setting up another prime scoring chance.

Looking for his second RBI of the day, Xander Bogaerts managed to drive in Bradley from third by hitting a comebacker that got a piece of Stroman’s knee. The Blue Jays were able to recover and get the out at first, but the Red Sox had a two-run cushion to work with now.

In the sixth, Brock Holt wrapped up the scoring for the Red Sox with another RBI single, this one just out of the reach of Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis, as Mitch Moreland came in to score from second to put Boston up 5-2.

Some notes from this win:

From @SoxNotes: The Red Sox are 4.5 games ahead of the Yankees, their largest lead of the season.

The Sox have won 12 of their last 13 games and are 17-3 in their last 20.

This is the first time since 2007 that Boston enters the All-Star break with MLB’s best record (68-30, .694).

In the month of July, Xander Bogaerts owns an OPS of 1.154.

Over his last six games, Jackie Bradley Jr. is hitting .333 with five extra-base hits and five RBI.

With the next four days off, the Red Sox will resume their season schedule next Friday, as they open up a six game road trip starting in Detroit.

Starting pitchers for that series have yet to be officially announced by the team yet, but for the Tigers, it will be Matthew Boyd, Mike Fiers, and Michael Fulmer getting the start for the upcoming weekend series.

Before then, let’s just enjoy watching our five All-Stars in the nation’s capital on Tuesday.

RECAP: Walk-Off Grand Slam from Xander Bogaerts Halts #RedSox Losing Streak at One in 6-2 Win over Blue Jays.

Less than a day after suffering their first loss in nearly two weeks at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Red Sox were back it against Toronto Saturday afternoon, looking to start a new winning streak heading into the All-Star Break.

Making his 19th start of the season on Saturday, Eduardo Rodriguez came out guns blazing against a team he has had issues with in the past.

Over the first five innings of this one, Rodriguez looked like a man who could not be stopped, as the lefty retired 15 of the 17 batters he saw while needing just 59 pitches to do so.

Things were looking great for the Red Sox heading into the sixth inning. With a 1-0 lead and Rodriguez dealing on the mound, it seemed as if win #67 was right around the corner.

Unfortunately, it was not that easy, and after getting the first out of that sixth inning, Rodriguez would have to leave the game with a right ankle sprain following an ugly collision with Lourdes Gurriel at first base.

The good news here, if any, is the fact that, according to Alex Cora, Rodriguez did not damage his surgically repaired right knee to any extent.

Finishing with a final pitching line of 5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, and 5 K on 67 pitches (47 strikes), it was certainly disappointing to see the Venezuela native’s day come to an end in the manner it did.

In what could have been his best outing of the season, we are left to hope that Rodriguez’s sprained ankle will not take all that much time to heal. The All-Star break could play a role in his timetable to return as well. Just have to wait and see for now.

Coming into a game he was initially not prepared for, Heath Hembree got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen.

With Gurriel already at first, Hembree did walk a man to put the go-ahead run on base, but escaped any real damage by getting Justin Smoak to fly out to center for the third and final out of the top half of the sixth.

A struggling Joe Kelly got the next call to begin the seventh inning, and he allowed the first two hitters he faced to reach base, putting runners on second and third with no outs.

After inducing two straight ground outs, one that drove in the tying run from third, Kelly walked Luke Maile, the Jays’ number nine hitter, on four straight balls, thus ending his day before it could even really get started.

That made way for Matt Barnes to enter and try to get out of this mess, and although it’s not entirely his doing,  he did give up what was the go-ahead run on a Lourdes Gurriel RBI single, closing the book on what was another miserable appearance for Joe Kelly.

From that point on though, Barnes held things in check by striking out Yangervis to retire the side in the seventh. And in the eighth, the UCONN product worked his way around back-to-back two out walks to punch out Randal Grichuk on three straight strikes, retiring the side and keeping it a one run game.

An inning later, Brandon Workman was given the responsibility of keeping his team within striking distance going into the bottom of the ninth. In response to this, Workman needed only 12 pitches to retire the only three batters he faced in order, which proved to be beneficial for the Red Sox a few minutes later.

With this contest now tied and headed into extra innings, Craig Kimbrel came out for a non-save opportunity in the tenth. Having seen his fair share of action these past few days, Kimbrel nonetheless still impressed with a two strikeout performance to keep things knotted up at two runs a piece. Thanks to his efforts, the Red Sox closer notched his second winning decision of the season.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup did not have themselves the best of days at the plate on Saturday, and it looked as if that was ultimately going to cost them in the end.

JD Martinez got the scoring started for Boston in the fourth inning, as he led the bottom half of the frame off by launching a 389 foot missile into the Monster seats off Jays starter Sam Gaviglio for his 29th big fly of the season.

Fast forward to the eighth inning now, and scattered amongst other opportune scoring chances, the best one up to this point in the day probably happened in the eighth.

A one out single off the bat of Mookie Betts, followed by an E5 committed by Yangervis Solarte, allowed Betts to reach second, representing the tying run.

With Brock Holt at the plate, Betts was able to catch Blue Jays reliever Joe Biagini sleeping, and easily swiped third to put the tying run just 90 feet away.

Unfortunately, Betts could not advance, as Holt hit a hard ground out to second with the infield playing in, and JD Martinez struck out to end the inning. At that point, I’m thinking this thing is over. Get it done with, go home, and come back to split the series tomorrow, or so I thought.

From the middle of the ninth inning on, Xander Bogaerts was the star of the show for the Red Sox.

Facing off against long time late inning man Tyler Clippard, Bogaerts led his teams half of the ninth off by ripping a double down the left field line, once again putting the tying run in scoring position.

Two pitches into the next at bat, Jackie Bradley Jr. lined another double, this one hit to right field and allowing Bogaerts to easily score from second. And just like that, we had ourselves a 2-2 game.

In the tenth, a four-run rally was started by another fielding error committed by the Blue Jays. This time, in what looked like a routine ground out off the bat of Mookie Betts for the second out of the inning, turned into the go-ahead run being on first after Toronto’s shortstop, the aforementioned Lourdes Gurriel, could not come up with the ball cleanly.

That allowed Betts to reach first, and three batters later, after Jays reliever Chris Rowley had intentionally walked JD Martinez to load the bases, Xander Bogaerts sent the Fenway faithful home happy.

2-0 hitters count, 87 MPH fastball, 104 MPH and 392 feet off the bat, grand slam, ballgame over with a final score of 6-2.

The Toronto Blue Jays and giving up dramatic grand slams, name a more iconic duo.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox are 67-30. They have hit two grand slams in the past three days and have not lost consecutive games since June 19-20th.

From @SoxNotes: Xander Bogaerts is the first Red Sox player to hit a walk-off grand slam since Rico Brogna on August 14, 2000 vs. Tampa Bay.

In the month of July, Xander Bogaerts has a 1.142 OPS with 3 home runs and 18 runs driven.

JD Martinez collected his 80th RBI this afternoon, the most in all of baseball.

Going for the series win tomorrow afternoon, it will be Brian Johnson making his first start since being placed on the disabled list with inflammation in his left hip back on July 8th. As of this time, no corresponding roster move has officially been made, but I would guess it would be Tzu-Wei Lin or Bobby Poyner.

Johnson will be matched up against Jays righty Marcus Stroman. Stroman, 27, owns a 5.90 ERA in 11 games started this season, but has looked better on the mound as of late.

First pitch of the final game of the first half of the season is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.