BOSTON — The Red Sox continue to push their 10-game losing streak farther and farther behind them.
The Red Sox pounded the Tampa Bay Rays 7-1 on Saturday, giving Boston six straight victories since the infamous streak. The Red Sox suddenly are rolling with one more game against the Rays on tap before a nine-game road trip.
Rubby De La Rosa led the way Saturday in his first start with the Red Sox. The 25-year-old’s performance was just one of several highlights, though, so let’s go over some important notes.
– De La Rosa spun a gem.
The right-hander tossed seven shutout innings in which he surrendered just four hits. De La Rosa struck out eight, didn’t walk anyone and threw 72 of his 105 pitches for strikes.
“I think more than anything, he wasn’t reliant on one pitch in hitters’ counts,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game. “He showed four pitches for strikes. But given the environment (and) given what we went through last night, he was outstanding.”
De La Rosa became the first pitcher ever to record eight strikeouts without walking a batter or allowing a run in his first start at Fenway Park.
– De La Rosa certainly faced a unique situation given the madness that transpired Friday. The young hurler said David Ortiz chatted with him before the game about simply focusing on the task at hand.
– Brock Holt hit his first major league home run in the third inning.
The shot into the Red Sox’s bullpen came in Holt’s 71st major league game and snapped a 202 homerless at-bat streak to begin his career.
Holt was able to retrieve the ball and said he plans to put it on a mantle somewhere.
– Jackie Bradley Jr. homered in the fifth inning, marking his first blast of 2014.
– Bradley really flexed his muscle in the eighth inning while trying to make a leaping catch up against the Green Monster.
Bradley jumped in an attempt to rob Kevin Kiermaier. The ball bounced off the wall and struck Bradley in the face, sending the outfielder to the ground like a ton of bricks. Kiermaier rounded the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
Left fielder Jonny Gomes raced over to check on Bradley, and he soon was followed by Farrell and the Red Sox’s trainer. Bradley was visibly shaken up and bloody, but some cotton was plugged up his nose and he stayed in the game like a warrior.
“He makes a heck of an effort,” Farrell said. “The ball caroms off the wall, hits him square in the nose. He might be a little bit lighter on blood, but other than that, he makes a heck of an effort.”
– Xander Bogaerts has reached base in 18 of his last 19 games after going 1-for-3.
– A.J. Pierzynski extended his hit streak to 10 games with a 2-for-4 effort. He’s hitting .409 (18-for-44) over the course of the streak.
– Dustin Pedroia underwent an MRI on his right hand. It revealed no fracture or structural damage, and he’s expected to be in Sunday’s starting lineup, according to Farrell.