The high flying Red Sox were like a sparrow flying full speed into a glass sliding door as they ran up against Sean Manaea, who is hot as a pistol right now. The Oakland A’s starter turned in a complete game no-hitter, surrendering just 2 walks in the process, while striking out 10 Red Sox. Manaea was also economical with his pitches, throwing 108 in total, 75 for strikes. Chris Sale started for Boston, and struggled a bit in this one. Oakland touched him right away in the 1st, when Jed Lowrie doubled with one on to drive in the first run of the game, and the only one that the Athletics would need. In the 3rd, Marcus Semien singled and scored on a Stephen Piscotty two-bagger. Semien capped off Oakland scoring int he 5th with a solo blast to left center. Khris Davis also doubled off Boston reliever Heath Hembree, but did not score. Sale went 7 innings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits and a walk, while punching out 10 in the loss. So, the Sox had their winning streak skid to a halt. On a personal note, your intrepid reporter was on hand at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum to watch it all go down. And down. Oakland beat Boston, 3-0, at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Record: 17-3. Game 20/142.
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The Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics were struggling with a close game into the 6th, tied 3-3, when Mitch Moreland stepped in, and removed all doubt as to the outcome. Oakland scored first, jumping all over Drew Pomeranz, newly returned from rehab after a strained forearm flexor tendon strain suffered during spring training. In the 1st inning, with one on, our old friend Jed Lowrie doubled in the 2nd to drive in the first A’s run, and Matt Olson drove in Lowrie with a long single. Mark Canha’s single then enabled Olson to provide the 3rd Oakland run. The Sox came right back against Oakland starter Kendall Graveman in the 2nd, when, after singles by Rafael Devers and Eduardo Núñez, Jackie Bradley, Jr. launched a 3 run bomb to right center. Pomeranz was only able to get to the 4th inning due to his high pitch count, finishing with 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 balls, having punching out 7, and having thrown 88 pitches. Hector Velázquez came in and provided 3 key shutout innings. The decisive moment came in the 6th inning, when Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Hanley Ramirez hit 3 consecutive singles to send A’s reliever Emilio Pagan to the showers. On came Kendall Graveman, who surrendered a crushing grand slam to Moreland, sealing the win for Boston. Brian Johnson, Matt Barnes, and Joe Kelly provided solid shutdown work en route to a solid Boston win. Oakland’s Chad Pinder also doubled in the game. Boston beat Oakland, 7-3, at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Record: 17-2. Game 19/143.
The Red Sox closed out their series with the Angels as one would where the outcome was obvious, and it was time to move on. Eduardo Rodriguez contained the Anaheim team very effectively over 6 innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks, while punching out 5. The first Los Angeles at Anaheim run came in the 2nd, when Andrelton Simmons walked, reached 2nd on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a Zack Cozart single. The other came on a solo dinger by our old friend Chris Young in the 5th. Boston started the scoring with a leadoff solo blast by Mookie Betts off Angels starter Nick Tropeano in the 1st. In the 4th, a JD Martinez double drove in Hanley Ramirez, who had walked, and then Martinez scored on a long single by Rafael Devers. In the 6th, Andrew Benintendi led off with a solo home run, and Mitch Moreland doubled and scored on a Devers single. Hanley Ramirez singled in the 8th, moved to 3rd on a double by JD Martinez, and scored on a Moreland sac fly. Finally, the Sox capped off the game in the 9th inning when, after Brock Holt reached on an error, a Betts ground-rule double set up a perfect RBI situation for Benny Baseball, whose single drove in Holt and Betts. One moment of concern came in the 1st inning, when a sharply hit foul ball glanced off home plate umpire Jerry Layne’s arm, forcing him to leave the game. We all hope he’s OK. Boston beat Los Angeles at Anaheim, 8-2, at Angel Stadium. Record: 16-2. Game 18/144.
The Red Sox crushed the best team in the AL West, the Angels, to establish a season start that is approaching epic proportions. They started early, jumping on Angels starter Tyler Skaggs with a Hanley Ramirez double; he subsequently scored on a single by Mitch Moreland. The Sox did the most damage in the 3rd, when, after a series of singles generated another run but left the bass loaded, Rafael Devers hit a line drive into the scoreboard in right center for a grand slam. Skaggs was done in the 5th after Eduardo Núñez’s single. JD Martinez hit a solo dinger to right in the 7th, and Mitch Moreland capped things off with a 2 run shot to right in the 9th. Rick Porcello was superb starting for Boston, going 6 shutout innings, giving up 6 hits and no walks, while punching out 6. Carson Smith, Marcus Walden, and Craig Kimbrel held the line from there. Boston beat Los Angeles at Anaheim, 9-0, at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Record: 15-2. Game 17/145.
International two-way baseball phenom Shohei Ohtani stumbled against the Boston Red Sox, triggering an epic onslaught of homers by the Olde Towne Team. Ohtani managed just 2 innings, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits, including a leadoff home run by Mookie Betts. In the 2nd inning, 2 singles and a walk yielded a 2nd run, and a sac fly produced a third. Afterward, it was said that Ohtani left the game with a blister on his pitching hand. In the 3rd inning, Luke Bard, younger brother of our old friend Daniel Bard, yielded a single and after 2 intervening outs, a series of home runs to Jackie Bradley, Jr., Brock Holt, and Mookie Betts. Rafael Devers hit a solo bomb in the 4th. In the 8th, Mookie Betts hit his third homer of the game, having gone 3-for-3, all the hits being four baggers. Meanwhile, David Price started for Boston, and went 5 innings, giving up 1 run on 3 hits and 4 walks, with 6 whiffs. The one run came in the 3rd, when Price walked Martin Maldonado, and 2 singles by Justin Upton and Albert Pujols enabled him to plate a run. The Angels had no extra base hits in the game, which was a triumph not only for Price, but also for the bullpen. The Sox went 15-for-38, with 6 homers including 3 for Betts and 1 each for JBJ, Holt, and Devers. Boston beat Los Angeles at Anaheim, 10-1, at Angel Stadium. Record: 14-2. Game 16/146.
Bolstered by another fine start from Chris Sale, the Sox scored just enough runs to top the Baltimore Orioles. It was a chilly 34 degrees at game time, with the wind blowing in, and that may have affected both sides in terms of hitting, as this was a low scoring game. Sale gave up the only Baltimore run in the first inning, when Trey Mancini singled and scored on a Manny Machado double. Sale gave up just 2 hits and 2 walks over his 5 innings of work, while punching out 8. Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy was able to hold off Boston batters until the 5th when, after Tzu-Wei Lin singled, he scored on an Andrew Benintendi triple. In the 6th, JD Martinez reached on a fielding error and got to third on Mitch Moreland’s second double. of the game. He scored on a wild pitch by Bundy, and Moreland scored when Tzu-Wei hit a ground rule double to right. Benny also doubled in the game. Boston beat Baltimore, 3-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 13-2. Game 15/147.
The Orioles seemed determined to make it as easy as possible for the Red Sox to win this one, committing 3 errors and at least as many mental mistakes in the field. The way they were swinging the bat, however, the Sox didn’t need any assistance in downing Baltimore. They got right to work in the first inning, when Mookie Betts walked and scored on an Andrew Benintendi double off O’s starter Alex Cobb (who had a terrible game, going just 3 2/3rds innings and giving up 8 runs, 7 earned, on 10 hits including 2 homers, and a walk) and then Benny came home on a 2 run blast by Hanley Ramirez. JD Martinez added a 4th run with his solo dinger in the 3rd. In the 4th, a series of singles brought in a 6th run, and the 7th came on Hanely’s double. A throwing error provided a gift 8th run in the inning by Hanley. In the 6th, Blake Swihart doubled and scored on a single by JD, and in the 7th, Blake struck again, driving in a run by Brock Holt, who had singled, then advanced on a Baltimore fielding error. Boston starter Hector Velázquez looked very good, pitching 5 innings while giving up 2 runs on 6 hits, including a homer by Pedro Álverez, and doubles by Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander. The two runs came in the 5th, when Santander doubled and scored on Álverez’s 2 run bomb. Baltimore picked up 3rd run in the 9th when Chris Davis double off reliever Marcus Walden, advanced to 3rd on a fielder’s choice, and scored on another fielder’s choice. One item of concern came when Mookie Betts had to leave the game in the 4th as a consequence of his first inning scoring play, when he crashed into Orioles catcher Chance Sisco. Let’s hope it’s not too serious. The Red Sox have now had the best start in franchise history. Boston beat Baltimore, 10-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 12-2. Game 14/148.
After a rough first starting appearance for the Red Sox the prior week in which he went just 3 2/3rds innings against the Rays, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks, Eduardo Rodriguez turned in a dominant performance against the Baltimore Orioles. The lefty pitched 6 solid innings, giving up just 1 run on 5 hits (all singles) and 2 walks, while whiffing 8 O’s. The one run came in the first inning after a pair of singles by Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop, and an Adam Jones sac fly. The Orioles picked up 2 more runs in the 7th off reliever Heath Hembree on a pair of singles, followed by Manny Machodo double to deep center field. For their part, the Red Sox struck early, when, after Baltimore starter Chris Tillman walked Mookie Betts, Betts moved to second on a fielder’s choice, and to third on a single by Mitch Moreland, JD Martinez’s sac fly drove him in for the first Boston run. After that, Rafael Devers doubled, and Eduardo Núñez smacked a 3 run jack to left. In the 2nd, back-to-back doubles by Tzu-Wei Lin and Betts resulted in another Boston run. In the 3rd, Rafael Devers and Núñez singled and Jackie Bradley, Jr. was hit by a pitch, to load the bases. Devers scored on a passed ball, but Boston lost a golden opportunity for a big inning when, after a walk, Orioles reliever Pedro Araujo induced 3 outs. The Sox picked up one more run in the 6th when Mitch Moreland, who had reached on a fielder’s choice and got to third when JD Martinez doubled, scored on a wild pitch by O’s pitcher Mike Wright, Jr. This was a solid win in which the Red Sox showed strength in every phase of the game. Boston beat Baltimore, 7-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 11-2. Game 13/149.
Rick Porcello pitched a magnificent game, going 7 shutout innings, giving up just 2 hits (one of which was a double by Aaron Judge) and walking none, while striking out 6 Yankees. The Sox, meanwhile, gathered 6 runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings. In the 2nd, Eduardo Núñez singled off New York starter Sonny Gray, reached 2nd on a walk to Jackie Bradley, Jr., and scored on a Sandy León single. JBJ scored on a sac fly, and a throwing error by Tyler Wade allowed León to reach the plate. Mitch Moreland drove in a 4th run with a single. In the 3rd, back-to-back doubles by Núñez and JBJ resulted in a 5th run, and JBJ scored the 6th on a fielder’s choice. For Boston, reliever Marcus Walden was problematic to say the least, allowing a double to Rondal Torreyes (he did not score) in the 8th, then walking two while a third (Giancarlo Stanton) reached on an error, resulting in a bases loaded situation for Gary Sanchez, who doubled in all 3, forcing Alex Cora to bring on Craig Kimbrel to save the game, which he did. Still, this is a really good start, and give credibility to the Sox as a big game team. Boston beat New York ,6-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 10-2. Game 12/150.
This game was a slugfest in more ways than one. The Sox and Yanks were getting hits and runs throughout this game, but what everyone is talking about is the brawl. The pretext was set in the 3rd inning when Tyler Austin, sliding into 2nd on a bunt play, elevated his spikes to catch 2nd baseman Brock Holt on the calf. The move was completely unnecessary, as there was not double play opportunity, and Brock took exception, expressing himself in explicit terms that can’t be repeated. Both benches emptied, but nothing happened except for some yelling at that time. In the 7th, Joe Kelly drilled Austin in the side with a 98 MPH fastball, in an apparent retaliation for the slide. Austin charged the mound, the benches and bullpens emptied, and it was just like old times. In the end, both Kelly and Austin were ejected; Kelly was subsequently suspended for 6 games, and Austin for 5. As for the game itself, the Yankees jumped all over David Price in the first inning, scoring 4 runs on 3 hits, including a 2 run homer by Gary Sanchez and a triple by Giancarlo Stanton. Price’s struggle may have been due to a nerve problem in his hand; he left the game after that inning complaining that his fingers were numb. New York maintained control over this game, with 12 hits overall, including, in addition to the first inning fireworks, a double and 3 run dinger by Sanchez (his second). The Sox got one back in the first on a solo blast by Hanley Ramirez off Yankee starter Masahiro Tanaka. They staged a decent rally in the 5th, when after 2 singles, Mookie Betts doubled to bring in one run, and after Hanley walked to load the bases, JD Martinez crushed a grand slam to center. In the 9th, they attempted another rally with 2 no out hits, including a double by Christian Vazquez. Jackie Bradley, Jr., who had singled, then scored on a wild pitch. But that was all she wrote. New York beat Boston, 10-7, at Fenway Park. Record: 9-2. Game 11/151.