Boston’s offense came back to life Wednesday night in their 10-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians, and Xander Bogaerts was at the front of it.
The Red Sox shortstop went 2-for-5 with a pair of home runs, nearly putting another extra-base hit to the wall in center field had Greg Allen not made a nice play on it.
Plenty of Bogaerts’ success this season has come with runners on base, as evidenced by him boasting Major League Baseball’s best slugging percentage with runners in scoring position. But he did his damage Wednesday night with no one on base, and both times it came in important moments. His first dinger tied the game in the fourth inning and started what ultimately became a five-run inning. His solo shot in the seventh completely put the game out of reach.
For Sox manager Alex Cora, he’s hardly surprised by Bogaerts’ good play, as he felt that’s the player the 25-year-old could be all along.
“He’s a special player,” Cora said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “He’s been putting good swings (on balls) … he drove one to right, one to left, one to center field. He’s staying in the zone, he’s playing good defense. I mean, you start looking at the numbers, they’re impressive. … He’s becoming that player that we envisioned before the season.”
Over his last 10 games, Bogaerts is hitting .378 with five doubles, two homers, eight RBIs and seven runs scored. He very well could reach 100 RBIs this season, and all the while is proving to be an incredibly stable and reliable hitter in the No. 5 hole.
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Indians game:
— Having lost the first two games due largely to poor offense, the Red Sox’s bullpen truly was tested for the first time this series Wednesday, and they did well.
Save for a homer in the fifth surrendered by Heath Hembree, Boston’s relievers looked sharp. The combination of Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly and Ryan Brasier tossed four innings (one frame apiece) of scoreless relief. The four allowed a combined two hits, one walk and a pair of strikeouts.
Even with Hembree included, the relievers ensured that the lead given to them by the offense never was in jeopardy.
— With the win, the Red Sox avoided losing their fourth straight game. They’ve yet to drop four consecutive contests this season, and remain the only team in the league to do so.
— The New York Yankees lost to the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, which allowed the Red Sox to gain back a game in the American League East standings. They now have a nine-game advantage.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images