The Red Sox have found the win column for the first time this season, and boy, was it sweet.
Boston’s bats finally woke up Monday night, resulting in an 11-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of their three-game series at Fenway Park.
Xander Bogaerts (4-for-5) and J.D. Martinez (2-for-3, three RBIs) led the charge, but it was a team effort for the Sox at the plate. That, coupled with some solid stuff from the pitching staff, gave Boston a much-needed boost against a dangerous Rays team.
“It’s definitely fun (to win), especially doing it at home,” Bogaerts told NESN’s Jahmai Webster after the game. “… It’s over with, (we can) turn the page. Obviously, it’s a great win today, and we came out swinging the way that we normally can. Obviously, we have that big boy J.D., he’s been pretty hot so he’s been putting the team on his back. It’s just been nice to see the whole lineup contribute.”
Like the players, Red Sox manager Alex Cora also was relieved to finally get this win under the team’s belt.
Boston had a rough weekend against the Baltimore Orioles, getting swept at home in its opening series for the first time since 1948. The Sox’s bats were quiet throughout the series, while pitching hit a major snag Sunday in the series finale.
None of that was the case Monday night, though.
“That was a good one,” Cora told reporters during his postgame video press conference. “I mean, obviously, after a disappointing weekend and having that team here — the (defending) American League champs — it was good. And now we’re in a position to win the series. We have two shots. And hopefully, we can come tomorrow and do the same thing.”
Naturally, Boston wants to maintain the momentum it has found. It will not be a simple task against the reigning AL champions, as Cora noted, but the Sox have proved they are capable of putting up big numbers when they find a rhythm.
Now, they just have to stick with it.
Here are some more notes from Monday’s Rays-Red Sox game:
— Nick Pivetta looked solid in his first start with Boston.
The right-hander gave up just two hits and struck out four in five innings of work against Tampa Bay. He was not feeling every pitch, but made up for it elsewhere.
“My slider was working really well today, so me and (Christian Vazquez) really stuck with that,” Pivetta said. “(I) didn’t really have a lot of fastball command today. So, you know, when you’ve got a second pitch that can really come around for you, that’s really big. And we attacked the strike zone with that today.
“… It’s just important, when you’re facing a lineup like that, to get ahead of guys and put guys away,” he later added. “They weren’t seeing it very well, so we kind of just stuck with that game plan throughout. And that’s just important. It’s making adjustments throughout, seeing where guys swings are and going out there and competing with what you’ve got that day.”
— The Red Sox returned to a more regular routine Monday with their 7:10 p.m. ET start time.
Cora thinks it made a difference in Boston’s game, too.
“I’m not making excuses for them, but today, it felt like it was normal, you know what I mean?” Cora said. “Obviously, our schedule is going to ask for us to make adjustments. We had two day games against Baltimore, four in Minnesota (against the Twins next week). But it felt like today, the routine was normal, whatever that is. It just felt good.”
— One of the only players not hitting right now is Rafael Devers. The 24-year-old went 0-for-5 on Monday night and has yet to record a single hit this season.
This, of course, is not ideal nor what many expected of young talent. But Bogaerts is not worried about his teammate.
“I told him, ‘Man, listen. When your knocks come, they’re going to come in bunches because that’s the type of player you are. You know how to hit.’ It’s not like he forgot how to hit. His last couple of at-bats, he hit the ball well. … We’ll get him where we want him to be and where he wants to be, and then, obviously, we’ll be a much better team.”
— Boston will look for win No. 2 on Tuesday in Game 2 of its series against the Rays. First pitch from Fenway is slated for 7:10 p.m. ET.