#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.
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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.
The Red Sox rained down hits and runs upon the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throughout this game, without respite. Mookie Betts started off the barrage in the very first inning with a solo dinger off Angels starter John Lamb (who only lasted 1 2/3rds innings). It ended in the 7th when Blake Swihart, pinch-hitting for Eduardo Núñez, singled, moved to 3rd on a Christian Vázquez double, then scored on a single by Jackie Bradley, Jr. In between, the Sox had 9 hits, including homers by JBJ, Vázquez, and JD Martinez, and doubles by Martinez, JBJ, Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, and Vázquez, for 7 more runs. Brock Holt also doubled in the 8th, but did not score. All in all, Boston went 14-for-38 with 4 walks, scoring 9 runs in total. David Price had a solid start for the Sox, going 6 innings while giving up just 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks, while punching out 7. The only Angels run came on a solo bomb by Chris Young in the 3rd. With this homer for JD, his 24th, he has once again taken the lead in the MLB home run race. Boston’s sustained attack suggests newfound confidence, which bodes well heading into July. Boston beat Los Angeles at Anaheim, 9-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 53-27. Game 80/82.
Chris Sale closed out the Red Sox season series with the Seattle Mariners in impressive fashion, pitching 7 shutout innings, giving up just 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 13. The only extra base hit was a triple by Nelson Cruz. Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes finished the blanking of Seattle. All the Red Sox runs came in the 5th and 6th innings. In the 5th, Xander Bogaerts doubled off Mariners starter Marco Gonzalez, reached 3rd on a single by Eduardo Núñez, and he and Núñez scored on a Rafael Devers double. Jackie Bradley, Jr.’s single moved Devers to 3rd, and Devers scored on a Sandy Leon sac fly. In the 6th, Mitch Moreland hit a 2 run bomb to give the Sox 5 runs altogether. The Sox have tomorrow off, and then face the Angels in a 3 game set before heading to the Bronx. Boston beat Seattle, 5-0, at Fenway Park. Record: 52-27. Game 79/83.
Eduardo Rodriguez struggled in this one against the Seattle Mariners, lasting just 4 innings, giving up 5 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, while whiffing 2. The 7 hits included 3 doubles: 2 by Mitch Haniger, and one by Hector Cruz. In the 6th, Hector Velázquez gave up 3 runs, including a double to Kyle Seager, for another run, and Seattle’s final run came in the 7th on a couple of singles and a fielder’s choice, also off Velázquez. Meanwhile, Seattle starter kept Red Sox hitters baffled for 8 shutout innings, giving up just 3 hits, none for extra bases, and 2 walks, with 5 punch-outs. The only Boston runs came in the 9th off reliever Edwin Díaz when JD Martinez singled, scored on a Mitch Moreland triple, and Moreland then scored on a single by Eduardo Núñez. There’s just something about these Mariners that knocks the Sox off their game. Seattle beat Boston, 7-2, at Fenway Park. Record: 51-27. Game 78/84.
In some prizefights, there is ducking and weaving, strategic advances and retreats, timely blows, and the winner is determined by points. In others, there is constant pounding, falling and getting up, until the contest is won by the last fighter standing. This slugfest between the Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners was like that. No work of art, but for those who enjoy lots of hits and runs, immensely entertaining. Neither starter acquitted himself especially well. Stephen Wright had his head handed to him early and often, and exited the game in the 4th inning, having surrendered 10 runs on 10 hits, including three home runs, one by Ryan Healy and two by Hector Cruz, and a double by Denard Span. The Sox had made some fireworks of their own off Seattle starter Wade LeBlanc in the 1st inning, scoring 5 runs on 6 hits, including doubles by JD Martinez, Brock Holt, and Christian Vázquez, but by the 4th, trailed by a score of 10-5. A lost cause, right? Not for these Red Sox. In the next three innings, they scored 9 runs on 13 more hits, including a home run by Martinez and a triple by Mitch Moreland. Rafael Devers also doubled in the 8th, but did not score. Feels like old times. Boston beat Seattle, 14-10, at Fenway Park. Record: 51-26. Game 77/85.