Eduardo Rodriguez had a rough start Saturday, but that ended up being a footnote in the Boston Red Sox’s win over the Minnesota Twins.
The Red Sox started the game by putting up a four-spot in the first inning, but Rodriguez unraveled that with a three-run homer to Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki in the fourth and another run in the fifth. However, Boston came pulled ahead with one run in the sixth, and the team exploded in the eighth and ninth innings for a 15-4 win.
Rodriguez isn’t going to be off the hook with his coaches, but the offense’s performance certainly softened the blow for the left-hander.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
You couldn’t help but feel just a little bad for the Twins in the ninth inning. They came so close when Rodriguez unraveled, but the Red Sox quickly took away any reason for them to celebrate.
IT WAS OVER WHEN …
The Red Sox scored five runs in the eighth inning.
The Twins were only one run behind going into the top of the eighth, but Boston made sure it wouldn’t stay that close. Xander Bogaerts hit a two-run home run, and the Red Sox added three more in the eighth to put the game out of reach.
ON THE BUMP
— Rodriguez looked pretty sharp in the first two innings, retiring six of the seven batters he faced while striking out three and walking one. The lefty’s velocity was back up, hovering around the mid-90’s and touching 96 mph at one point, but Rodriguez still was relying on his fastball. And after that second inning, things went downhill.
Rodriguez was gifted a 4-0 lead in the first, but he gave up the three-run homer in the fourth inning to put Minnesota back in the game. Then, he tied things up with two outs in the fifth and was yanked with two men on. The 23-year-old finished the day with four earned runs on six hits with four strikeouts and four walks over just 4 2/3 innings.
— Heath Hembree finished out the fifth by getting first baseman Byung-ho Park to pop out, but the sixth inning didn’t go as smoothly. The right-hander walked two batters but still managed to get a strikeout and induce a flyout. Manager John Farrell pulled Hembree in favor of left-hander Robbie Ross Jr. to face lefty Joe Mauer, so Hembree finished with two walks and one strikeout over one inning.
Ross induced a forceout to end the sixth.
— Junichi Tazawa came on in the seventh and made pretty quick work of it. He did give up a single to second baseman Brian Dozier, but the right-hander retired the other three batters he saw, including one strikeout.
— Koji Uehara came in and worked a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. What else is new?
— Clay Buchholz came on with absolutely no pressure in the ninth. He did walk two batters, but the righty still got out of the inning clean.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Sandy Leon had a day Saturday. The backup catcher went 4-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a walk, bringing his season average to 1.000 — in six at-bats.
— Xander Bogaerts continued to swing the bat well, going 4-for-5 with a double, a two-run homer, three runs and three RBIs. Bogaerts also made a heads-up baserunning play in the sixth inning that ended up giving the Red Sox a lead. The shortstop noticed third base was unmanned after safely reaching second on a double play attempt, and he kept running for the extra base. He eventually scored on a Hanley Ramirez sacrifice fly.
— David Ortiz continued to beat up on his former team, going 3-for-5 with a run. Rusney Castillo pinch ran for the designated hitter in the ninth and scored a run.
— Jackie Bradley Jr. gave the Red Sox a big lead in the first inning with a three-run homer. The center fielder went 1-for-4 with three RBIs, two runs and a hit by pitch.
— Dustin Pedroia’s MLB-best hitting streak ended at 16 games, but the second baseman did reach second base in the eighth on an error by Twins center fielder Oswaldo Arcia. Pedroia went 0-for-6 with a run.
— Mookie Betts went 2-for-6 with two RBIs and a run. Hanley Ramirez went hitless but did contribute by going 0-for-3 with a walk, a run and an RBI from a sac fly.
— Travis Shaw continued to slump, going 0-for-4. However, the third baseman reached on an error in the eighth and scored a run, and he walked in the ninth.
— Chris Young nearly put a zero up for the second consecutive day, but he hit a two-RBI single in the ninth to go 1-for-4 with a walk and a run.
TWEET OF THE DAY
This baserunning by Bogaerts was a thing of beauty.
The Red Sox finish out their series in Minnesota on Sunday in a 2:10 p.m. ET game. Rick Porcello will get the ball against Twins left-hander Pat Dean.
Thumbnail photo via Marilyn Indahl/USA TODAY Sports Images