This is more like it. After a rough Sunday afternoon in just about every facet of the game, the Red Sox came out swinging on Monday to take the first game in this three-game set against the Blue Jays. David Price wasn’t great, but he got the job done and was able to pick up the victory. The real stars of the game were the position players, though, led by a huge day at the plate by Andrew Benintendi. The Red Sox also got some good play on both sides of the ball from Jackie Bradley Jr. and yet another home run from J.D. Martinez. It was a fun Memorial Day, is what I’m saying.
The early parts of this game were mostly uneventful, at least in terms of runs scored. The Red Sox took a lead as soon as they could, but after that they failed to get much going against Aaron Sanchez, at least for a few innings. Price, meanwhile, wasn’t quite as impressive as he’s been for his last couple starts, but he didn’t give up any big swings early on and worked his way out of some mild trouble here and there.
We’ll start with the Price side of things, as he gave the Red Sox a chance to hold on until their bats started to get going as the day moved on. The southpaw had a relatively easy first, allowing just a one-out single but not advancing the runner beyond first base. That inning did end with a line drive right at Price that he was able to knock down, and though it hit his arm he stayed in the game. The second appeared to present some trouble for Price, as he walked the first two batters he faced to put a couple on with nobody out. He was able to work his way out of the issue, though, with a flyout, a pop out and a big strikeout to end the inning and leave both runners stranded. He followed that up with a much less stressful third, walking the second batter he faced but getting through with ease beyond that.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, got that early lead I mentioned at the top. Without Mookie Betts for the second straight game, they were able to get some momentum unlike Sunday afternoon. The rally started with Xander Bogaerts smacking a single into right field. After a Mitch Moreland single moved Bogaerts over to third, J.D. Martinez hit into a fielder’s choice to knock in Boston’s first run of the game. That was all the good guys would get for a couple of innings, managing just one base runner in each of the next two frames.
In the fourth, Price found himself in some trouble that he was not able to escape. The inning started with a double from Kevin Pillar, and after Russell Martin moved the runner to third on a ground out, Kendrys Morales came through with an RBI single to tie the game at one. Price would get a couple of fly outs to end the inning after that, but the lead was gone.
Fortunately, the tie would not last very long as the Red Sox bats broke out in a big way in the bottom half of the fourth. There, Rafael Devers and Eduardo Núñez each hit singles to lead the inning off, and they’d each advance a base on a passed ball. That turned out to be important, as Brock Holt followed that up with a sacrifice fly to put the Sox up by one. A couple of batters later, Jackie Bradley Jr. smacked an RBI double to extend the lead to two and put two batters in scoring position. The biggest swing of the day came in the next at bat when Benintendi got a changeup down in the zone and he put it right into the first row of the Monster Seats. Just like that, the Red Sox had themselves a 6-1 lead.
That was all they’d get there, and Price came out looking for a shutdown inning in the fifth. He didn’t quite get it, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The Blue Jays got a one-out walk from Josh Donaldson — his third time on base in the game — and he’d move over to third on a Justin Smoak double. The Blue Jays got some bad news on that play, however, as Donaldson came up limping and had to leave the game. Gio Urshela would come in to run, and he scored on a sacrifice fly to cut Toronto’s deficit to four. Price would end that inning with a big strikeout of Pillar, though, and that ended his day. As I said, it wasn’t perfect as there were some control and efficiency problems, but Price more than kept the Red Sox in the game and ended up with five innings of two-run ball on four hits and four walks with four strikeouts.
The Red Sox wasted no time getting that run back, with Martinez leading off the inning and showing off his power. Sanchez threw a changeup that broke right into Martinez’ wheelhouse and the Red Sox slugger destroyed it over everything in left field for his league-leading 17th homer of the year.
That was all the Red Sox would get there, but it was all they needed. Heath Hembree came on for the sixth and he got through a fun 1-2-3 inning that included a pair of strikeouts and an absolutely incredibly catch from Bradley in which he made a leaping, over-the-shoulder grab right at the 420 sign in center field.
Boston would add on another run in the sixth with Benintendi’s third hit and fourth RBI of the day. Bradley led things off with a walk and moved over to third on a stolen base on a throwing error on the attempt to catch him, and he’d score on a rare triple off the Monster from Benintendi. That put the Red Sox left fielder just a double away from the cycle.
With an 8-2 lead, Hembree got himself into some trouble in the seventh when he started things off by allowing back-to-back triples, but he escaped further damage with a strikeout and a walk that was immediately followed by an inning-ending double play.
Steven Wright came out for the eighth and ninth and didn’t add any drama, pitching a couple of scoreless innings to finish off the day.
The Red Sox will look to have a similar performance on Tuesday for the second game of this series. They’ll be sending Rick Porcello to the mound to take on Marco Estrada, with first pitch coming at 7:10 PM ET.