Steve Pearce has gotten his Boston Red Sox tenure off to a pretty smashing start.
Since being acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays on June 28, the veteran has made quite the impression.
That couldn’t have been more clear Monday night, when the 35-year-old smacked a two-run homer in the first inning in his first at-bat at Fenway Park since coming to Boston.
Boston ultimately beat the Texas Rangers 5-0, their 63rd victory of the season, and the Sox’s newest member couldn’t be more happy to be in his current situation.
“I’m in a great situation here,” Pearce told NESN’s Jahmai Webster after the game. “We’ve got a really good team top to bottom, I’m just so excited to be here every single day.
“It’s been a great ride,” Pearce later added. “I enjoy showing up to the park every single day and just being a part of this group.”
In his seven games with the Red Sox, Pearce is hitting .458 with four doubles, five RBIs and as many runs scored in addition to his homer Monday. Those numbers aren’t lost on Sox manager Alex Cora, who has been impressed with Pearce so far.
“He can hit,” Cora said. “He’s been a pro, we can use him in different spots in the lineup, he’s going to give you a quality at-bat, he’s been swinging the bat well for a while now.”
Given Pearce can play at first, second and in the outfield, there’s no shortage of ways he can benefit the Red Sox. And with the way he’s been swinging the bat lately, he’s proving he can be yet another important contributor off the bench.
Here are some other notes from Monday’s Red Sox-Rangers game:
— Eduardo Rodriguez keeps turning in one solid performance after another for the Red Sox.
The lefty earned his 11th win of the season Monday, holding the Rangers scoreless on three hits, three walks and five strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings. Though his issues with pitch efficiency plagued him yet again (105 pitches on the night), he mitigated damage quite well and gave the Red Sox a golden opportunity to win.
— Heath Hembree is cementing himself as one of the Red Sox’s most reliable bullpen arms.
Hembree entered the game for Rodriguez in the sixth inning, inheriting a two-out situation with runners on first and second. He responded by striking out Isiah Kiner-Falefa, the only batter he faced, to get out of the inning.
Since the beginning of June, Hembree has allowed just two runs — both home runs — over 13 2/3 innings, surrendering one hit in addition to the pair of dingers. He owns a 1.35 ERA and has struck out 19 in that stretch.
Cora is turning to Hembree a lot in tight situations during the middle and late innings, and he’s been coming through.
“Heath, he’s been doing that the whole season,” Cora said. “We bring him in with traffic, he shuts the door, then we can use the other guys.”
— J.D. Martinez continues to mash, this time blasting a three-run shot in Monday’s game for his 28th homer of the season.
The slugger has found no shortage of ways to contribute for Boston this season, as evidenced by his selection to the All-Star team. His homer in the series opener came in the eighth with two runners on and the Sox clinging to a 2-0 lead. And by putting a ball in the seats and making it 5-0, it allowed the Red Sox to stay away from Craig Kimbrel.
— Cora announced following the game that Hector Velazquez will start Tuesday’s game with Brian Johnson on the disabled list.
The 29-year-old has made two starts this season, with both outings coming in April. In 10 2/3 innings as a starter, Velazquez has allowed three runs on 11 hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts, good for a 2.53 ERA. He’s 2-0 as a starter this season.
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