One Christian gave the Red Sox an early lead Sunday, while another helped the team secure the team’s 6-3 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Boston managed to split its four-game series with Tampa Bay thanks to the win, beginning with a first-inning home run from Christian Vazquez that gave the Red Sox a 2-0 advantage. Christian Arroyo crushed another two-run shot in the sixth to set up the final score.
It was Arroyo’s second time going deep for the Red Sox, with his first coming Saturday night in their loss to the Rays. And the second baseman is satisfied with the progress he’s made as of late.
“I think that a lot of it has to do with, it sounds cliche sometimes, but I really believe in trusting the whole process of getting to a spot where you’ll see results,” Arroyo said of his journey in his postgame video conference.
As for Vazquez, he had a breakthrough of his own, hitting his first home run since July 30. It was just his second hit of the four-game series.
“I think even though you tell guys not to try and hit homers, we still like them to hit homers,” manager Ron Roenicke said in his postgame video conference. “But (Vazquez has) been swinging the bat really well too so I think that has to do with it. He’s been getting a lot of hits, his swings are good, his at-bats are tough at-bats. And I think once you do that, you gain confidence that once you get that pitch in the zone you like, you’re able to turn on it like he did today. He’s doing a lot. He’s still really good behind the plate. If he just stays with what he’s doing his average is going to keep climbing and he’ll hit some homers.”
As for the rest of the offense, Roenicke was pleased that all but one Boston batter recorded a hit in Sunday’s contest.
“I really enjoy the way we’re playing right now,” Roenicke said. “I enjoy watching when they’re getting after it. Really good at-bats from people so it’s pretty cool to see.”
Here are some other notes from Boston’s win over Tampa Bay:
— Speaking of good at-bats, Devers’ three-hit performance (3-for-5 with an RBI-double) raised his batting average to .289, and the third baseman continues his tear thus far in September.
In his last 14 games, he’s recorded 16 home runs and 16 RBIs with a .455 average and a .500 on-base percentage.
Keep it up, Raffy.
— Martin Perez recorded the win in a solid start for the Red Sox, going five innings and giving up two earned runs with six strikeouts.
Some defensive errors took a little away from his outing, but he finished things off strong to keep Boston in the game.
“Martin, I thought, was outstanding,” Roenicke said of his starter. “We played poorly behind him and he bounced back and made some really good pitches to get out of stuff. It cost him going probably to the sixth inning, too, but I thought he did a great job.”
The performance added to Perez’s success against Tampa Bay this season.
Perez now is 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 15.2 innings against the Rays this season.
“There’s a lot or responsibility that I have right now, and I just have to go out there and give a chance to my team to win,” Perez said in his postgame Zoom conference. “That’s all we can do and control the things that we can control. And today I was able to go out there and perform and try to keep the game close. And it was a great game today.”
That responsibility to carry the rotation fell on his shoulders at points this year with Eduardo Rodriguez and Chris Sale out for the year and Nathan Eovaldi dealing with a calf cramp.
But Perez has risen to the challenge, and Roenicke says he’d love to have him around next year, as the pitcher has a club-option for 2021.
“We love what he’s doing and unfortunately, we’ve talked about this, when Nate went down we put it all on Martin’s shoulders to try and get us deep into games and you know, when we signed him he wasn’t thinking that way and we weren’t thinking that way,” Roenicke said. “So yeah, I love what he’s doing and if we can work that out (picking up his option), great. But he’s also become a good leader. Especially with the Latin players.”
— You don’t see many celebrations for an infield single like the one where J.D. Martinez got on in the fourth inning, but it broke slump that saw the designated hitter 0-for-22 at bat. On Sunday, Martinez was 1-for-5 with an RBI.
— After splitting the series with the Rays, Boston now looks south to Miami to begin a three-game series with the Marlins on Tuesday. Recent call-up Tanner Houck will make his Major League Baseball debut on the mound for the Red Sox.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. ET.
Thumbail photo via Mary Holt/USA TODAY Sports Images