After Friday’s 15-inning, eight-reliever victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, the Boston Red Sox bullpen needed a breather.
And that’s exactly what Rick Porcello provided Saturday night at Tropicana Field.
The right-hander surrendered one unearned run on five hits over 7 1/3 innings of work as the Red Sox beat the Rays 3-1 in the second game of a three-game set. The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner also struck out three and walked one while throwing 94 pitches.
While Porcello took care of business on the mound, Boston’s bats did just enough to win, highlighted by Mookie Betts’ solo home run in the second inning off Rays starter Alex Cobb. The Sox added two more runs in the sixth, thanks to an RBI single from Betts and an RBI double from Rafael Devers.
With its third consecutive win, Boston improved to 85-63, while the Rays dropped to 72-77. The New York Yankees also won Saturday, meaning Boston’s lead in the AL East remained at three games.
Here’s how it all went down:
GAME IN A WORD
After such a long game the night before, there was reason to worry that the Sox would come out flat. But with Porcello leading the way, the team picked up an important victory, and the bullpen got the rest it both needed and deserved.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Devers drove home Betts with a two-out RBI double in the sixth, pushing the Sox’s lead to three.
As good as Porcello was, he’s been prone to giving up home runs this year, and the two-run lead didn’t feel entirely safe. But Devers’ RBI knock gave the team some breathing room.
ON THE BUMP
— Porcello wasn’t electrifying by any means. But his efficiency allowed the game to be completed in just under three hours, a welcome sight after Friday’s game, which lasted six hours and five minutes.
— After allowing a double and a walk in the eighth inning, Porcello handed the ball to Addison Reed with one out in the frame. The reliever got Kevin Kiermaier to ground out, but a throwing error by Mitch Moreland allowed Adeiny Hechavarria to score. Reed struck out Steven Souza Jr. to end the inning.
— Craig Kimbrel pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning with two strikeouts to pick up his 33rd save.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Betts continued to hit well, as his two RBIs brought his season total up to 90. He’s now hitting .264 with a .794 OPS.
— Christian Vazquez was the only other Sox hitter with multiple hits, going 2-for-4. The catcher’s batting average now sits at an impressive .301.
— Mitch Moreland and Devers both reached base via double.
— Brock Holt logged a single as part of his 1-for-4 night at the plate.
— Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi, Chris Young and Jackie Bradley Jr. all went hitless in the ball game.
TWEET OF THE DAY
It’s that time of year.
The Red Sox and Rays will play the final game of their three-game series Sunday afternoon. Boston will give the ball to Eduardo Rodriguez, while Tampa Bay will send Jake Odorizzi to the hill. First pitch from Tropicana Field is set for 1:10 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images