Rick Porcello tossed six strong innings in the Boston Red Sox’s 8-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, but the fifth frame undoubtedly was his best.
The right-hander made extremely quick work of the Rays in the inning, as he struck out the side in order on just nine pitches to complete one of baseball’s most exciting feats, the immaculate inning.
Porcello’s accomplishment wasn’t lost on anyone in Tropicana Field, except for himself. After the game, he revealed that it wasn’t until he returned to the dugout after the inning that he realized what he had done.
“I didn’t know,” Porcello said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “It’s hard to keep track that you didn’t throw a ball or anything like that. I didn’t realize until Blaine (Boyer) came up come to me and said, ‘I got that ball for you.’ I was like, ‘What ball are you talking about?’ He said it was an immaculate inning. So that was pretty cool. It’s hard to do, so that was a nice little moment.”
Porcello has been troubled by a lack of run support this season, but that certainly was not the case Wednesday night. The Red Sox racked up nine hits in the contest, including three from Andrew Benintendi and a 2-for-5 effort from Eduardo Nunez. And with Boston’s bats behind him, Porcello was able to attack the Rays head on.
“Just throwing a lot of strikes,” he said. “We scored a bunch of runs, I was able to fill up the zone, get some quick outs and get us back in the dugout.”
Wednesday’s victory marked the first time this season Porcello has recorded back-to-back wins. If his success on the mound continues, the Red Sox could distance themselves from the rest of the American League East in a hurry.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Rays.
— The Red Sox now have won eight consecutive games, the longest active winning streak in the big leagues.
— Boston’s offense has been on fire amid the win streak, scoring 6.3 runs per game and smacking 34 extra-base hits to go along with a .299 team batting average.
— The Red Sox have received a major lift from their bullpen of late. In the last six games, Boston’s relievers have not allowed a run, while striking out 23 and only walking two in 18 innings of work.
— Porcello became the 84th pitcher in MLB history to toss an immaculate inning. The Red Sox also are the only team in the majors to accomplish the feat twice this season, as Craig Kimbrel did so on May 11 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
— Benintendi has been enjoying the month of August, as he’s batting .500 in his last six games. So how has the young outfielder turned it around? Getting back to basics.
“Just slowing it down, using the whole field,” he said. “I don’t think I pulled a ball this series. Just taking what they give me and keeping it simple.”
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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