The Boston Red Sox continued their hot start to the season in their first of a four-game set with the Baltimore Orioles.
The Sox erased an early 1-0 deficit, and with some solid pitching from starter Eduardo Rodriguez, and second baseman Eduardo Nunez accounting for three of the teams’ six runs, Boston was able to secure the 7-3 victory over the O’s on Friday night at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox plated six runs through the first three innings, which gave Rodriguez plenty of breathing room, but with eight strikeouts through six innings of work, the lefty certainly wasn’t dependent on the red-hot offense.
With the win, Boston improves to 11-2, while Baltimore falls to 5-9 on the season.
Here’s how it all went down:
GAME IN A WORD
From the pitching to the offense, the Sox are the team to beat in the American League East. Rodriguez was solid through six while the offense provided plenty of support for him to work with. The team established a lead early, making it difficult for Baltimore to play catch-up.
ON THE BUMP
— Rodriguez bounced back from his first start where he only pitched 3 2/3 innings. He was spectacular on the mound, pitching six innings, giving up five hits and striking out eight.
The lefty had a shaky first inning, giving up a leadoff single to Baltimore’s left fielder Trey Mancini, who would move to third on another single before eventually scoring on an Adam Jones sacrifice fly.
But E-Rod put that behind him quickly. After getting himself into a bit of a jam in the sixth with runners on first and second with two outs, he was able to freeze first baseman Chris Davis on a beautiful slider that caught the inside edge of the plate for strike three.
— Heath Hembree came in for the seventh and struggled after quickly getting the first out, allowing two runs on three hits.
Orioles right fielder Craig Gentry and Mancini singled before third baseman Manny Machado plated both runners with a double that went over the head of Jackie Bradley Jr. Hembree got out of the inning without Baltimore causing anymore damage after the reliever got second baseman Jonathan Schoop to strike out swinging.
— Joe Kelly came in for the eighth to a huge ovation from the Fenway faithful and pitched 1-2-3 inning to keep the score intact.
Kelly, who was suspended for six games for his part in Wednesday’s brawl with the New York Yankees, is appealing the suspension.
— Matt Barnes came in to close out the game in the ninth inning and collected the three final outs to secure Boston’s 11th victory of the season.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The bats were hot early for the Sox after going down 1-0 to start the game, tagging starter Chris Tillman for six runs through three innings. After Mookie Betts led the first inning off with a walk and Mitch Moreland reached on a single, Nunez was able to plate three runs with a home run that went into the Green Monster.
— Boston plated a run in both the second and third innings to widen their lead to five.
Tzu-Wei Lin and Betts hit back-to-back doubles, with Betts’ two-bagger scoring Lin.
Rafael Devers and Nunez had back-to-back singles in the third before Jackie Bradley Jr. got hit with a pitch, ultimately ending Tillman’s night.
Devers was able to score on a passed ball by O’s catcher Caleb Joseph to give the Sox a 6-1 lead.
— Boston extended its lead to six runs in the sixth thanks to an Alex Cora challenge at first base.
Andrew Benintendi led off the inning with a walk after Moreland hit a ground ball to Schoop in what looked to be a routine double play. Cora challenged the out call at first and was successful as Moreland beat out the throw, which would ultimately lead to the run scored. J.D. Martinez followed up with a ground rule double that bounced into the Boston bullpen, bringing the red-hot Nunez to the plate.
Nunez took ball four, but Joseph let it by him on Mike Wright Jr.’s wild pitch, bringing Moreland home for Boston’s seventh run.
— Benintendi, Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez all went hitless on the night.
— After going hitless in Thursday night’s win against the New York Yankees, Betts collected a hit and drove in a run.
TWEET OF THE GAME
Expect the unexpected.
The Red Sox will resume their four-game set with a Saturday matinee at Fenway Park. Hector Velazquez will take the mound for Boston and will be opposed by Alex Cobb. First pitch is slated for 1:05 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images