The Boston Red Sox are back to .500 on the season after a series-sweeping victory against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.
It provides Boston, one of the hottest teams in the league over the last month, a bit of a fresh slate that Red Sox manager Alex Cora has stressed following a rocky start. Boston now has won 17 of its last 25 games dating back to May 10.
“Yeah, it’s huge,” Rich Hill said after throwing six innings in Boston’s 5-1 win, as seen on NESN. “We had to fight back to get back to .500. We had a lot of tough games early on in the year … Now everybody is clicking. Starting pitching, infielders, outfielders, the hitting is coming around and the bullpen has been doing a great job. Just continue to keep pushing and tomorrow is another day.”
The Red Sox put together a complete effort during their three-game series in Oakland. Boston’s starting pitching of Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta and most recently Hill, put the visitors in a tremendous spot.
“We believe in the group,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “We know we have a good baseball team that has to keep working hard to accomplish what we want. We’ve been playing good baseball the last three weeks, just grinding, using everybody. There’s a few guys that have carried the offense for a little bit, the pitching staff has done an amazing job. Rich (Hill) was really good. And yeah, we still got holes but I think, on a daily basis, we feel very good about ourselves trying to win on a nightly basis.”
Here are more notes from Red Sox-Athletics:
— Hill continued a noteworthy run for Boston’s starters as Michael Wacha, Garrett Whitlock, Eovaldi, Pivetta and Hill combine to record a 0.29 ERA during the last turn through the rotation, as shared by Sox Notes’ J.P. Long. Those pitchers threw a combined 30 2/3 innings with one earned run and 23 strikeouts.
— Franchy Cordero continued to impress Sunday with his three-run home run in the sixth inning breaking the game open. Cordero now has 15 RBIs and nine runs scored in his last 15 games (14 starts) for the Red Sox dating back to May 21.
“Pitch recognition. (He’s) been disciplined, not afraid of striking out or swinging and missing. That ball was demolished,” Cora said of the opposite field blast which measured 406 feet. “He’s put in the work and there’s a reason he’s getting at bats because he’s contributing on a daily basis.”
— Jarren Duran scored the first run of the game to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a RBI single from Rafael Devers. Duran, who impressed Cora with his two-hit performance Saturday, stayed in the manager’s good graces while his sheer speed showed on the play.
“We were talking about it, he wasn’t even at third when the guy had the baseball and it was a good throw. Just a different gear,” Cora said of Duran. “We talk about tools, right? You want to hit for power and whatever. Speed is something you cannot teach. And the instincts, too. It was a great read. He’s so fast and he puts pressure on the opposition. I know it didn’t end up the way he wanted it to offensively (1-for-4), but he got us going right away.”
— Hill went six complete innings and retired 16 straight batters while recording his second win of the season.
“Good fastball command, we mix up a few cutters, too, the breaking ball played. He had him off balance, but I think it starts with the fast balls,” Cora said of Hill. “He did an amazing job.”
— Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story came up a bit hobbled late in Sunday’s game as he went to his right to keep a ball in front of him. Cora and trainers came out to look at Story, but he stayed in the game.
— The Red Sox now will travel to Los Angeles for a four-game series against the Angels. The series opener will be held Monday with first pitch set for 9:38 p.m. ET. You can watch it live on NESN.