By MyFM's Jake Archer - We covered Thursday night's game against the Orioles, when David Price spun a gem and the Sox took the first of a four game set. Let's get to the final three and see how those played out. Hint: Boston rode the best hitters in baseball, JD Martinez and Mookie Betts, to wins on Saturday and Sunday after dropping the Friday night tilt.
On Friday, Drew Pomeranz was getting the ball for Boston opposite Alex Cobb for Baltimore. Cobb has had a rough start to his Orioles career, but Pomeranz isn't exactly lighting the world on fire either. It was a good bet to say their would be runs scored in this one. In the top of the first, Pomeranz walked the leadoff hitter, Trey Mancini. Mancini was erased at second on a fielder's choice but Adam Jones reached first. The next batter, slugging shortstop Manny Machado, smoked a double to put both runners in scoring position with one out. Pomeranz then walked Jonathan Schoop to load the bases and Mark Trumbo grounded out to third to bring home Jones. It was 1-0 in favor of the O's early.
In the third, Mookie Betts tied it up by launching his 14th homerun of the year. The guy is just on another planet right now and leads the majors in almost every offensive category. However, the tie wouldn't last as Pomeranz got shelled in the next half inning for four runs. After Chris Davis led off with a ground-rule double, Danny Valencia singled and advanced to second when Jackie Bradley Jr. threw home to hold Davis at third. Pomeranz recorded two outs, but then walked Mancini again and followed that by allowing a single to left from Adam Jones to score two. Jones and Mancini also moved to second and third on a throwing error by Benintendi during the play. There was a brief mound visit, but Machado was stepping in again with a chance to further the damage. He did, as he singled to left to score two more. With that, it was 5-1 Baltimore and Pomeranz had turned in one of his worst outings of the year.
Pomeranz was done to start the fifth, and Steven Wright came on to replace him. The lefty had gone four innings while allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits, three walks and two strikeouts. He'd thrown 81 pitches and the eventual loss would drop him to 1-2 on the season. The Sox would try to dig him out of it by coming back for two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Eduardo Nunez led off with a single, Christian Vazquez smacked a one-out single and Betts doubled to score Nuney. Andrew Benintendi then singled home Vazquez to make it 5-3. The comeback looked like it could be in play.
In the seventh, Wright allowed Schoop to take him deep for a one-out solo-shot to make it 6-3. In the bottom of the inning, Cobb gave up a one-out ground-rule double to Vazquez and was done for the night. The runner wouldn't come around to score. The Boston native had pitched well as he went six and a third innings allowing three runs on 10 hits, one walk and three Ks. The win would be his first of the year and he now sits at 1-5. He's pitched better of late and his ERA lowered to a still-awful 6.56.
Xander Bogaerts reached on an error in the bottom half of the eighth with one out and advanced to second. He moved over to third on a groundout by Rafael Devers and then scored on a Nunez double to make it 6-4. The Sox threat died out and that was their last real shot at winning the contest. Wright walked Schoop with two outs in the ninth and then coughed up a double to Trumbo to make it 7-4. Boston didn't do much besides a JD Martinez double in the bottom half and they took the loss despite out-hitting the Orioles. Brad Brach earned a save for Baltimore.
On Saturday, the Sox came back with Rick Porcello on the mound against the O's Dylan Bundy. Bundy has been one of Baltimore's best pitchers (which isn't saying much) and Porcello was looking to bounce back from two consecutive bad outings. Pretty Ricky was the first to blink when he gave up a run in the third inning. Chance Sisco had led off the frame with a ground-rule double and advanced to third on a single by Jones. Machado walked to load the bases and Schoop lifted a sac-fly to left to make it 1-0. Porcello struck out Davis to end the threat there.
Bundy finally got touched for a run in the fourth when Devers smacked his eighth homerun of the year to tie the game at one. The fifth inning got worse though, as Sandy Leon led off with a double and then Mookie Betts launched a two-run homer to take the lead. The Sox would go back-to-back as Benintendi (who has been swinging the bat much better in the last few weeks) smoked a solo-shot to make it 4-1.
The O's answered with two runs in the next frame as Trumbo singled with one out and Pedro Alvarez sent a two-run homer to left. Porcello was gone to start the seventh, but he was still in line for the win. He'd gone six innings while giving up three runs on six hits, three walks and nine Ks. The win would end up in his hands and he'd improve to 6-1. Bundy was also gone to start the seventh and he'd leave with a final line of four runs on five hits, two walks and eight punchouts in six innings. The loss would drop him to 2-6.
Tanner Scott, who had replaced Bundy, walked the first two batters he faced. After getting Betts to fly out, he gave up a 2-RBI single to Benintendi to pretty much put the win away for Boston at 6-3. Craig Kimbrel would record his 13th save and the teams would move on to the fourth and final game of the series on Sunday. The starters would be Eduardo Rodriguez and some unknown named David Hess for the Orioles.
Hess met JD Martinez to start the second and Martinez lofted a fly ball down the right field line. It was a dinky homer, but it twisted around the pesky pole and counted for a run and his 14th of the season. Hess was pitching decently until about the fifth, when he let the worst hitter in baseball, JBJ, rip a double to start a rally. After a fly-out by Betts, Benintendi homered again to make it 3-0 Boston. Benny's homer was only his fifth of the year but it was second in two games. His bat is heating up at a great time. Mitch Moreland followed that up with a ground-rule double that was ripped to right and Martinez stepped up and bopped his 15th homer of the season. This was no cheapie, as JD smoked it to the deepest part of the park in center. It was 5-0 Boston and a couple of batters later, Hess was pulled.
The final line for Hess was four and two thirds innings, five runs on eight hits, two walks and four Ks. The loss would drop him to 1-1 on the year. Meanwhile, Boston had their lineup rolling and the headliners were the two best hitters in baseball, Martinez and Betts. They are on a ridiculous pace, one that not even the duo of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were ever on. Mookie leads the whole MLB with a batting average of .365 while JD is second in the AL and third overall at .343. They are tied for the MLB homerun lead with Machado at 15 and Martinez is second in RBIs in both the AL and MLB with 41 behind Machado's 43. They are the two MVP front runners and will probably take votes away from eachother because they are teammates.
I've never seen anything like what is happening with these guys and Martinez has been the best Red Sox free agent signing in forever. I have to say, I was DEAD WRONG about him (many people were) as all he's done is quietly mash while putting up Triple Crown numbers and leading by example. I'm a big fan of him and his at-bats (along with Mookie's) are now appointment television.
Getting back to the game, E-Rod was cruising for the Sox. He went five and two thirds while allowing no runs on nine hits, no walks and seven Ks. He's now 4-1 and seems to be coming into his own a bit. Boston won by the 5-0 score and improved to 32-15. Somehow, they are still only keeping pace with the Yankees who refuse to lose as well. The Sox are actually a half game back on them in the AL East, but they still have the second best record in baseball and would lead the Wild Card by a decent margin. They'll now open up a quick road trip to Tampa for three games tonight before coming back home on Friday. Chris Sale is set to take the hill against Jacob Faria (who the Sox have crushed this year) for the Rays. Tune in to first pitch at 7:10 p.m. here on MyFM 101.3!