BOSTON — You won’t find a much hotter team in baseball right now than the Boston Red Sox.
Determined to gather as much momentum as possible leading up to next week’s All-Star break, the Red Sox picked up their fourth consecutive win Wednesday night, dropping the Miami Marlins 6-3 to sweep the teams’ two-game series at Fenway Park.
GAME IN A WORD
With the victory, Boston now has won 14 of its last 21 games since snapping a seven-game losing streak back on June 16.
Powering the Red Sox’s offense Wednesday was David Ortiz, who went 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored in the win.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Alejandro De Aza capitalized on the Marlins’ sloppiness in the seventh inning to give the Red Sox some added cushion. The left fielder reached on an error by the pitcher, took second on a groundout, stole third base and came home when catcher J.T. Realmuto’s throw sailed into left field.
That run put Boston ahead 6-2, and Miami managed just one run the rest of the way.
ON THE BUMP
— Rick Porcello, man.
After skirting danger in the second and third innings — putting two runners on in each without allowing any to score — Porcello finally found it in the fourth. The Marlins smacked five consecutive one-out singles in the frame, driving in two runs to trim their deficit in half.
Porcello was able to leave the bases loaded in the inning, however, after inducing back-to-back groundouts. The pitcher himself made a nice play to snare Christian Yelich’s hard grounder for the final out.
That fourth inning continued a troubling trend of Porcello following up strong innings by the Red Sox’s offense with duds of his own. Boston had plated four runs in the previous half-inning.
But rather than crumble as he has in so many starts this season, Porcello rebounded, retiring the side in order in the fifth and sixth to close out what by his recent standards was a very solid outing. He allowed two runs (both earned) on eight hits, walking one and striking out four, with three of those K’s coming in his final two innings of work.
The win was Porcello’s first since May 16. His previous eight starts had included seven losses and one no-decision.
— Robbie Ross Jr. took over to begin the seventh and retired the side in order.
— Matt Barnes came on to work the seventh and, after inducing consecutive flyouts, surrendered a solo home run to Michael Morse that cut Boston’s lead to 6-3. Barnes has struggled mightily of late, allowing 10 earned runs over his last eight appearances.
The UConn product allowed a single to Derek Dietrich before getting Realmuto to fly out to end the inning.
— Koji Uehara retired the side in order in the ninth to pick up his 21st save of the season.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox drew first blood in the third against Marlins starter Tom Koehler without recording a hit. Ryan Hanigan led off the inning with a walk, Mookie Betts reached on an error by Koehler (the right-hander’s throw to first caromed off wall and into right field, allowing both runners to advance) and Brock Holt grounded out to second, scoring Hanigan with the game’s first run.
Then, the hits came. Xander Bogaerts beat out an infield single to score Betts, and David Ortiz launched a home run into the first row of Green Monster seats to make it 4-0 Sox.
— Ortiz, who started at first base for the second time in three games as Mike Napoli remained glued to the bench, was at the center of another Red Sox rally in the sixth.
He led off the inning with a ground-rule double into the triangle, took third on a Hanley Ramirez single and came home with Boston’s fifth run when Pablo Sandoval grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
— The Red Sox needed just five hits to plate their six runs, as five of those runs were unearned. In all, the Marlins allowed eight unearned runs in the two-game series.
TWEET OF THE GAME
Pointed it out to an unaware Xander when he came into dugout. His response: "REALLY?!" twitter.com/jmastrodonato/…—
Gary Striewski (@garystriewski) July 08, 2015
After an off-day Thursday, the Red Sox will welcome the first-place New York Yankees to town for a three-game series that will wrap up the season’s unofficial first half. Clay Buchholz and Michael Pineda are the scheduled starters for Game 1 on Friday.
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images