The Red Sox snapped their longest losing streak of the season at five games with a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on Wednesday, and they also snapped out of the funks that had plagued them both offensively and defensively leading up to the long-awaited win.
Eduardo Rodriguez, who gave up six runs in 3 1/3 innings in his last start July 29 — which came days after he departed a start against the New York Yankees with a migraine — was the pitcher he needed to be against the Tigers. He tossed five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and walking four while striking out a season-high 10 batters.
“It was big for us,” Rodriguez said after the win. “Just after the streak we had, this is a huge win that we needed. So it’s now just trying to go out there and try to bring every series, and if we can every game. I feel like it was a big push for us just to win today and that’s a good way to start the winning streak now.”
Rodriguez said he wasn’t happy with how many batters he walked, but manager Alex Cora didn’t think that was something worth dwelling on.
“Before those two (games affected by migraine), he was really good,” Cora said. “We felt like stuff-wise, he was where he was supposed to be. He was making adjustments throughout games. Today he recognized a few things against him and he went after them. He didn’t like the walks, but like I said, ‘Let’s focus on the positive. You did an amazing job and gave us a chance to win.'”
The rest of the Red Sox pitching staff cobbled together eight combined strikeouts for a total of 18 on the night.
And while there were still things that raised an eyebrow to Cora — like how they hit (or didn’t) with runners in scoring position (1-for-11) and how many men were left on base (seven) — this game was a step in the right direction for a Red Sox squad that was struggling to find its footing on either side of the ball.
“At least it was the beginning of something we’ve been talking about,” Cora said. “The goal is for tomorrow, do the same thing. Come out and grind and put good at-bats and keep getting better.”
Here are other notes from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Tigers game:
— Matt Barnes was cleared from the COVID-19-related injury list after he and the rest of the team tested negative for the virus. He got the ball for the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday and was lights-out.
“I felt really good out there,” he said after the game. “Mechanics were working well. I felt really good with the curveball and fastball. We were able to execute a good plan that (Christian Vazquez) had and it was nice to go 1-2-3 and lock it up for us.”
— While one member of the bullpen returned to the active roster, Cora offered an update on another. Darwinzon Hernandez might be spending more time on the injured list with his strained oblique than the team originally thought.
— There were quite a few positive notes out of the minor league circuit, beginning from Triple-A Worcester and working our way down through the system:
Yairo Muñoz set a Red Sox Triple-A record by extending his hitting streak to 26 games during Worcester’s game against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Wednesday night. Triston Casas, Boston’s first-round pick in 2018, is continuing to rake for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics, and Cora is impressed.
Marcelo Mayer, Boston’s No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 Major League Baseball draft, is reportedly slated to make his professional debut on Thursday for the Florida Complex League Red Sox.
And while we’re at it, you might want to familiarize yourself with Wilkelman Gonzalez.
— Speaking of minor leaguers, Chris Sale didn’t lie about taking the bus to Scranton.
— The Red Sox and Tigers will play the series finale in a matinee on Thursday, with first pitch scheduled for 1:10 p.m. on NESN. It’ll be lefty-on-lefty, with Boston’s Martin Perez (7-7, 4.56 ERA) up against Tarik Skubal (6-10, 4.53 ERA).