BOSTON — Rick Porcello pitched a great game against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it by looking at his stat line.
The Red Sox starter won another game at Fenway Park — his 10th consecutive home win, even — but the 8-7 score and Porcello’s five runs allowed (four earned) on six hits don’t really tell the whole story.
Porcello caught a tough break in the seventh inning when right fielder Brock Holt dropped a fly ball that was scored as a double for Twins catcher Juan Centeno. The hit put two men on base, leading the way for a one-out, two-RBI single for Byron Buxton, which meant both runs were earned for the right-hander.
“It’s baseball,” Porcello said of the mishap. “Over the course of 162 games, those sort of things are going to happen, and you just keep battling and keep doing your job.”
But what makes the call perhaps more disappointing is that Porcello has had a great 2016 season after struggling in 2015. It somehow feels as though he deserves more credit for pitching well because of everything he went through last season.
“The way he prepares, the way he’s shown competitive fire on the mound, the way he doesn’t give in in particular spots and certain situations, he’s been a constant,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Porcello. “We talk so much about dependable and reliable with guys, he embodies that. He epitomizes it.”
In a rotation that hasn’t had much consistency over the past two seasons, Porcello has been that guy for the Red Sox this season. With a 13-2 record and a 3.57 ERA, you know the right-hander will come in every game and pound the strike zone, mow batters down — he had eight strikeouts Sunday — and shake off any hiccups he might have.
Porcello doesn’t know what’s been working for him this season, particularly at home, but it seems as though it simply might have been a matter of settling in.
“I don’t know,” Porcello said about his success at Fenway. “I’ve had quite a few starts at home, and I just feel good here. I feel comfortable pitching in front of our crowd, and I think we play good baseball here, so it’s all of the above.”
Here are some more notes from Sunday’s 8-7 win over the Twins.
— Hanley Ramirez was one of three Red Sox hitters to homer Sunday. Ramirez’s was a three-run shot in the third inning that put Boston ahead 3-2 at the time, and was followed by a solo shot from Dustin Pedroia and another three-run bomb from Travis Shaw in the fifth.
And if you didn’t happen to notice, the Red Sox put up all that offense without David Ortiz or Mookie Betts in the lineup.
“It’s not only one guy,” Ramirez said. “Anybody can hurt you, from the top all the way to the bottom. That’s how good we are, and that makes it easy for everybody.”
Five of the first baseman’s last six hits have been home runs.
— Joe Kelly returned to the team as a reliever Sunday, but he didn’t get a chance to pitch. However, he did say before the game that he hopes to go back to the rotation in the long run.
“I would hope so,” Kelly said. “I mean, right now we obviously need another arm in the bullpen, and might need another guy at the back end of our bullpen eventually with our guys getting hurt. Right now, if I could fill that role and I could have some success in it, it’s going to be great for all of us.”
— Despite the Red Sox dropping the middle two games of their series against the Twins, they still walked away with the split. They also have Major League Baseball’s best record in July at 13-5 and are 5-0-1 in their last six series.
— Xander Bogaerts had another three-hit game, going 3-for-4 with two runs and a stolen base. Bogaerts now leads the majors in three-hit games with 17.
— Brad Ziegler has proved to be a great acquisition for the Sox, as the submariner has retired 19 of the 20 batters he’s faced with Boston. He earned his first save with his new club, too, after pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning Sunday.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via May 22, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello (22) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
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