At long last, a Boston Red Sox starter has gotten a win.
The Red Sox entered Friday as the only team in the big leagues this season to not have a single starter with a winning decision. That changed though, as 6 2/3 quality innings from Eduardo Rodriguez resulted in the Sox earning a 6-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in the series opener of a four-game set at Fenway Park.
Andrew Benintendi hit his first homer of the season in the win, which was the first time this season the Red Sox have won consecutive games.
The Red Sox climbed to 5-9 with the victory, while the Orioles fell to 5-9 with the loss.
Here’s how it went down:
GAME IN A WORD
The Red Sox finally put themselves in a position to win a game early on, and they made sure not to relinquish the advantage once they claimed it.
ON THE BUMP
–Rodriguez delivered the best outing of the season from any of the Red Sox’s five starters, allowing two runs on three hits with no walks and eight strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings. The southpaw threw 93 pitches, 62 of which were strikes.
It wasn’t until there were two outs in the fifth that an Oriole reached base. Rodriguez pitched exclusively 1-2-3 innings through the first four frames, then got the first two batters of the fifth out before Hanser Alberto singled to left. Rodriguez responded to the perfect game getting broken up by inducing a Jesus Sucre fly out to shallow right to conclude the inning.
Rodriguez got back on track with a hitless, scoreless sixth, but got into some trouble in the seventh.
Trey Mancini ripped a one-out double that Mookie Betts probably should’ve tracked down, then two batters later Dwight Smith ripped a 1-2 changeup on the inner half of the plate around Pesky’s Pole, trimming Boston’s lead to 3-2.
Smith’s dinger marked the end of Rodriguez’s outing.
— Matt Barnes took over with two outs and the bases empty in the seventh and struck out Alberto, but Christian Vazquez was unable to block the third strike and it went to the backstop, allowing Alberto to reach first. Barnes then struck out Sucre — and that time Vazquez held on to it to end the inning.
— Brandon Workman pitched a hitless, scoreless eighth. He struck out the first two batters before issuing a walk, then was bailed out on a tremendous grab by Jackie Bradley Jr. to end the inning.
— Tyler Thornburg entered in the ninth and put himself in a tough spot.
After walking Mancini to start the inning, Renato Nunez launched a homer that cleared the Monster Seats to cut Boston’s lead to 6-4.
Thornburg got Smith to pop out to short for the inning’s first out, but was pulled right after.
— Ryan Brasier came in with the bases empty and one down. The righty protected the two-run lead by getting two outs without issue to end the game.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Benintendi put the Red Sox on the board in the third inning with his first home run since Aug. 31, 2018.
With two outs in the frame, O’s starter David Hess left a 1-0 changeup right over the heart of he plate, which Benintendi crushed 390 feet into the Monster Seats.
–The Red Sox added some more insurance for Rodriguez in the fourth.
Mitch Moreland kicked off the inning with a single, then came home from first on a double to deep center from Xander Bogaerts, upping Boston’s lead to 2-0. Rafael Devers then struck out for the second out of the inning, but Eduardo Nunez responded by roping a single off the wall that scored Bogaerts from second for the Sox’s third run.
— With their lead at just 3-2 in the seventh, the Red Sox added a much-needed cushion.
Vazquez got things going with a two-out single, moving to second on a wild pitch by Orioles reliever Paul Fry. Vazquez then advanced to third on a Benintendi single to right, with Benintendi reaching second after Mancini’s throw went over the cutoff man’s head.
Evan Phillips than replaced Fry, but he threw a wild pitch that allowed Vazquez to score and make it 4-2 Boston. Betts drew a walk to put runners on the corners, but Moreland struck out to end the inning.
— The Red Sox hung two more runs on the board in the eighth.
J.D. Martinez kicked off the inning with a double, then he and Bogaerts moved into scoring position on a Devers sacrifice bunt. Nunez followed that up with a single, scoring Martinez.
Bradley then hit a sac fly to left to score Bogaerts and make it 6-2.
— Bogaerts led the Red Sox with three hits.
— Benintendi, Moreland and Nunez each had a pair of hits.
— Martinez and Vazquez had one hit apiece.
— Betts, Devers and Bradley all went hitless.
TWEET OF THE DAY
The Red Sox and Orioles will continue their four-game set with Game 2 on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Rick Porcello is expected to get the ball for Boston and will be opposed by Andrew Cashner.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images