No matter what happens Sunday, the Boston Red Sox already won their first series after the All-Star break.
Eduardo Rodriguez delivered his best performance of the season in a 5-2 win against the New York Yankees, surrendering only one run on four hits through seven innings. Catcher Sandy Leon played hero once again, giving the Red Sox some major cushion with a three-run homer in the sixth inning.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
Rodriguez was rolling through his outing, but the Red Sox weren’t generating strong offense against Yankees starter CC Sabathia. Boston’s pitching and defense kept the Yankees at bay until Leon broke the game open with his homer.
IT WAS OVER WHEN …
Koji Uehara pitched another 1-2-3 inning.
Uehara has had some trouble when pitching multiple days in a row this season, but that wasn’t the case Saturday.
ON THE BUMP
— Rodriguez certainly showed up as the Red Sox’s No. 5 starter. The lefty was solid, getting a lot of outs on contact rather than with strikeouts, but it worked nonetheless. Rodriguez didn’t earn a K until shortstop Didi Gregorius in the seventh inning, but an outing like that could work wonders on the 23-year-old’s confidence.
Rodriguez still has things to work on — like strengthening his secondary pitches — but one run on four hits with two walks and a strikeout over seven innings isn’t a bad start.
— Matt Barnes gave up a solo home run to third baseman Chase Headley on his third pitch of the eighth, but he sat the top of the Yankees’ batting order down after that and added a strikeout.
— Koji Uehara retired the side in order in the ninth, also striking out catcher Brian McCann for good measure.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Boston actually wasn’t hitting the ball hard Saturday, but it made every blooper count. Sandy Leon stole the show with a three-run homer in the sixth inning, though, going 2-for-4 with a run and four RBIs.
— Jackie Bradley Jr. was on fire, too, going 3-for-4 with two runs. He had been 0-for-11 against Sabathia entering the game.
— Mookie Betts went 2-for-4 with a walk, while David Ortiz went 1-for-4 with a free base.
— Aaron Hill and Bryce Brentz each went 1-for-4 with a run. Brentz also reached on an error in the third.
— Some of the Red Sox’s best bats went hitless, but all of them reached base. Dustin Pedroia (0-for-3) reached twice on walks. Xander Bogaerts (0-for-5 with an RBI) and Hanley Ramirez (0-for-5) each reached on a fielder’s choice.
TWEET OF THE DAY
People are really serious about the legend of Sandy Leon.
The Red Sox finish out their series against the Yankees in a late-night matchup between aces David Price and Masahiro Tanaka. The game starts at 8:05 p.m. ET on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.”
Thumbnail photo via Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Jul 16, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (52) pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
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