David Price struggled with his control throughout this one; his breaking ball wasn’t breaking, he was going into deep counts, and that wasn’t the worst of it. Over 4 2/3rds innings against the Kansas City Royals, he thew 102 pitches, 69 for strikes, and in the first 4 innings gave up 3 runs on a solo dinger by Lucas Duda in the 2nd and 2 runs in the 3rd on 3 hits, including a Jorge Bonifacio double, and a sac fly. In the 5th, he seemed to come completely unraveled when, after White Merrifield led off with a single, he hit three hitters to force in a run and end his short night against the Royals. So, a miserable loss for the Red Sox, right? No, actually they blew out the Royals despite David’s woes. In the 5th, Mookie Betts singled, reached 2nd on a walk to Andrew Benintendi, and scored on a JD Martinez hit. Mitch Moreland then walked, loading the bases for Xander Bogaerts, who hit a bases-clearing double for a 4 run inning. In the 7th, after Benny walked and Martinez doubled, Moreland drove Benny in with a sac fly, and after an IW to the X-man and a Devers walk loaded the bases again, Christian Vázquez singled to drive in 2, making the score 7-4, Boston. Benny’s solo blast in the 8th provided the Sox with their 8th run, and, leaving nothing to chance, Sox hitters exploded in the 9th. 7 hits, including back-to-back doubles by Mookie and Benny, and 2 walks resulted in 7 total runs for the inning, turning this game into a laugher. And kudos to Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Brandon Workman, and Hector Velázquez for holding the Royals hitless. On a sour note, Martinez is sitting for a couple of games after battering his leg with foul balls, Vázquez is out with a broken pinkie finger, and pitcher Brian Johnson is also on the DL with a sore hip. Get well soon, guys. Boston beat Kansas City, 15-4, at Kauffman Stadium. Record: 61-29. Game 90/72.
Chris Sale had another terrific start for Boston, going 6 innings against the Kansas City Royals, giving up 1 run on 5 hits and 1 walk, with 12 punch-outs. Meanwhile, the Sox lineup did their best to make the outcome a foregone conclusion. In the very first inning, Mookie Betts led off with a solo blast to left center off struggling Kansas City starter Jason Hammel to set the tone for the game. After singles by JD Martinez and Steve Pearce, Xander Bogaerts walked to load the bases for Brock Holt, whose line drive single scored 2 runs to boost the Sox total to 3, and Sandy Leon’s single brought in a 4th run. In the 2nd, JD Martinez slammed a 2 run homer (his 27th) off the faltering Hammel, and after Steve Pearce doubled, Xander Bogaerts hit a 2 run no-doubter to left that pretty much locked down the game. In the 8th, Eduardo Núñez doubled and scored on a double by Jackie Bradley, Jr., and in the 9th, Blake Swihart singled and scored on a double by Steve Pearce. The Royals scored in the 2nd off Sale when Jorge Bonifacio doubled and scored on a single by Alcides Escobar. They picked up another run in the 7th when Lucas Duda tripled and scored on a sac fly, in the 8th when Mike Moustakas hit a 2 run dinger to right, and in the 9th when Adalberto Mondesi singled and scored on a hit by Whit Merrifield. Boston beat Kansas City, 10-5, at Kauffman Stadium. Record: 60-29. Game 89/73.
#RedSoxGameSummary (July 4) Nice recovery. After two fairly poor starts against the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees, Eduardo Rodríguez posted a solid win against the Washington Nationals, going 6 scoreless innings, while giving up just 3 runs and 1 walk, punching out 6. Nats starter Erick Fedde also seemed off to a fine start, but was forced to leave in the 2nd inning due to an apparent shoulder injury of some kind. The Washington bullpen acquitted themselves fairly well until the 7th, when the Sox finally struck. With Ryan Madson pitching, Rafael Devers doubled, reached 3rd on an Eduardo Núñez single, and scored on a sac fly. Núñez reached 3rd on a throwing error, and scored on a wild pitch. In the 9th, Núñez singled, and scored on a double by Jackie Bradley, Jr. JD Martinez also doubled in the game. This completes a 3 game sweep of the Nats to celebrate the 4th, and provides momentum for the Sox over the rest of their road trip. Boston beat Washington in interleague play, 3-0, at Nationals Park. Record: 59-29. Game 88/74.
Brian Johnson turned in another decent start, perhaps showing his readiness to join the regular rotation, with this appearance against the Washington Nationals. Once again, he didn’t last long enough to take credit for the win, as he was lifted when he got in trouble in the 5th, but went 4 2/3rds innings, giving up 2 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks with 2 Ks. The two Nationals runs came in the 4th, when Bryce Harper doubled, and scored on a Mark Reynolds single, then Reynolds scored after singles by Michael Taylor and Tanner Roark. Washington scored two more times subsequently, once in the 6th on a solo dinger by Pedro Severino off Heath Hembree, and in the 9th on a Brian Goodwin solo blast off William Cuevas. The Red Sox started their scoring with a 3 run blast by Eduardo Núñez off Nats starter Roark (and yes, AL fans, he also got the aforementioned hit). The big inning was the 5th, when the Sox scored on a succession of singles by Andrew Benintendi, JD Martinez, and Steve Pearce, which netted 3 runs, followed by a Xander Bogaerts 3 run blast to center. Martinez capped off the night with a 2 run bomb in the 9th, his 26th and still MLB leading HR. Steve Pearce is also moving on up, by the way. He came into the game after Mitch Moreland left with back tightness, and went 2-for-4, including a double. A star spangled 4th of July game comes next. Boston beat Washington in interleague play, 11-4, at Nationals Park. Record: 58-29. Game 87/75.
Faced with a degrading situation in which the Red Sox had the bases loaded and 2 out, Boston starter Rick Porcello took matters into his own hands, slamming a 3 RBI double to left against the Washington Nationals. This is the one upside to interleague play in my view. We get to see AL teams playing real baseball, with no DH rule. The play developed like this: Mitch Moreland led off the 2nd with a single off Washington starter Max Scherzer, who subsequently plunked Brock Holt. With 2 out and the pitcher due up next, Scherzer did the sensible thing in intentionally walking Jackie Bradley, Jr. But things did not work out as he had hoped, to put it mildly. Rick sports a .171 lifetime batting average, which is not bad for a pitcher, especially since he has played his whole 10 year major league career in the AL. This was his first ever big league double. The Sox picked up one more run in the 7th, a solo blast to left center by Mookie Betts off Washington reliever Brandon Kintzler. Rick proved to be as good a pitcher as he was a hitter in this one, going 6 innings, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits and 2 free passes, with 5 punch-outs. The two runs came on solo dingers; one in the 4th by Bryce Harper, and the other in the 6th by Daniel Murphy. The Nats picked up an additional run in the 8th when Harper homered again, this time off Joe Kelly. We are looking for some momentum after that brutal Yankees series, and maybe this will help. Boston beat Washington in interleague play, 4-3, at Nationals Park. Record: 57-29. Game 86/76.
Every pitcher has an off day now and then, but David Price had his in the worst possible regular season game, against Boston’s key challenger for the AL East, the New York Yankees. He was hammered from the start, and his pitches seemed to either hit their spots, or clear the fence. By the time Alex Cora came to fetch Price with 1 out in the 4th, David had surrendered 8 runs on 9 hits, including home runs by Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Kyle Higashioka, and two by Aaron Hicks (who hit a third dinger off Hector Velázquez later on), and a double by Didi Gregorius. When all was said and done, the Yanks went 16-for-38 for 11 runs. Giancarlo Stanton also doubled in the game. New York starter Luis Severino sailed through his start, going 6 2/3rds shutout innings while giving up 2 hits and 3 walks, with 6 punch-outs. The lone Sox run came in the 9th inning when Sandy Leon doubled off Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, reached 3rd on a Blake Swihart single, and scored on a fielder’s choice. The quest for a division title just got a little harder. New York beat Boston, 11-1, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 56-29. Game 85/77.
While Chris Sale was holding the Yankees scoreless, Red Sox hitters got back at the Bronx Bombers for their thorough drubbing the previous night. The beating began in the very first inning, when JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts singled, and Mitch Moreland walked, to set up a bases loaded situation for Rafael Devers. Raffy has a tendency to swing and miss at high pitches, but he’s been showing great plate discipline lately, and, ohhh my goodness!! Grand slam!! It was a rough start for Sonny Gray, whose record against the Red Sox has been sketchy through the years. The Sox scored two more off him in the second on 2 hits, including a Sandy Leon double, and a walk. In the end, the Sox went 17-for-42, including a 2 run bomb in the 7th by Leon, and doubles by Devers and Mookie Betts, in addition to Leon’s 2-bagger. Chris Sale pitched 7 shutout innings against the Yanks, giving up just 1 hit and 1 walk, while punching out 11. Heath Hembree and Hector Velázquez completed the whitewash in the last 2 innings. Now, the Olde Towne Team looks to David Price to secure the series win. Boston beat New York, 11-0, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 56-28. Game 84/78.
So, the Red Sox had a few high scoring games, took first place, and you thought they were all that, right? Well, reality reared its ugly head tonight in the Bronx, and it’s now time to come to earth. Eduardo Rodriguez struggled mightily against the Yankees, but got battered around, largely in the 4th. In the 2nd inning, Gleyber Torres tripled off Rodriguez, and scored on a single by Miguel Andujar. The main damage came in the 4th, when after Giancarlo Stanton walked and Didi Gregorius doubled, Andujar drove both in with an 3 run blast to left. Greg Bird also homered, to score New York’s 5th run. In the 7th, with Justin Haley pitching, Aaron Hicks singled, and Aaron Judge homered, to boost the Yankees total to 7. Bird hit another dinger in the 8th, just to rub salt in the wound. CC Sabathia had another solid night for the Yanks, going 7 innings, and giving up just 1 run on 6 hits and 1 walk while whiffing 5. Steve Pearce (recently acquired from Toronto), Mookie Betts, and Andrew Benintendi all doubled off CC. The only Boston run came in the 5th on back-to-back Betts and Benny doubles. It was a disappointing day for E-Rod, who went 7 innings, giving up 5 runs on 7 hits with 2 walks and 2 punch-outs. Not a good start, time to step it up. New York beat Boston, 8-1, at Yankee Stadium. Record: 55-28. Game 83/79.
Brian Johnson returned to the staff as a starter for the first time this year to put in 4 decent innings against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. His only blemish was a solo homer by Andrelton Simmons in the 4th inning. He only pitched 4 innings, not enough to get credit for the win, but encouraging nonetheless. The other Angels run came in the 8th when the usually reliable Joe Kelly seemed a bit shaky, walking the lead off man (Mike Trout) and giving up singles to the first two he faced. Trout scored from 2nd on the second hit. Rafael Devers opened up Red Sox scoring with a solo jack in the 5th off Angels starter Jaime Barria. In the 6th, JD Martinez singled, Mitch Moreland doubled, and Angels reliever José Álvarez intentionally walked Xander Bogaerts to set up a bases loaded situation for Brock Holt, whom Álvarez walked to force in a run. In the 7th, Jackie Bradley, Jr. crushed a 2 run no-doubter to right center to lock down the lead for good. Craig Kimbrel closed out. Now it’s on the the Bronx. Buckle your seatbelts. Boston beat Los Angeles at Anaheim, 4-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 55-27. Game 82/80.
The Boston Red Sox took the lead in the AL East with this win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Yankees’ loss, and JD Martinez increased his lead in the home run race with his 25th dinger. The fate of this game was determined, largely, by an explosion of Red Sox runs in the 2nd inning. Eduardo Núñez opened up the scoring with a solo blast to center off Angels starter Andrew Heaney. After Rafael Devers singled, Sandy Leon popped a 2 run job to left. Then came JD’s 3 run monster shot. The Angels came back to tie the score on an Ian Kinsler homer in the 5th, a 3 run jack by Martin Maldonado in the 6th, and a series of singles and an error in the 7th for one run, and a RBI double by Andrelton Simmons for the another. So, Sox hitters had to get back to work in the bottom of the 7th, and they did, as Devers doubled in Núñez and scored on a Sandy Leon single. In the 8th, Martinez reached on a fielder’s choice, reached 3rd on a Xander Bogaerts double, and scored on a wild pitch. Meanwhile, Mike Scioscia glowered, as usual. Boston beat Los Angeles at Anaheim, 9-6, at Fenway Park. Record: 54-27. Game 81/81. Halfway home.