Eight in a row and the good times just keep on rolling. This one was boosted by a good performance by the offense after a mildly slow start. Encouragingly both the top and the bottom of the order contributed here as this team continues to fire on all cylinders. The one rough patch of this game was Jalen Beeks, who struggled for his second major-league appearance. I still believe in the talent, but he seems to be pressing on the major-league mound. It wouldn’t matter for today, though, because this team is very, very good.
The Red Sox offense seemed like it was poised for a big day, mostly because they always seem to be posed for a big day and they were facing a pitcher in Yovani Gallardo that has been very....not good this season. Really, he hasn’t been good for a few years now. They were indeed able to get some runs on the board, scoring in a couple of bunched rather than a consistent bludgeoning, but the method doesn’t matter. Runs are runs and the Red Sox got them.
Said runs did take a bit to come into play, however, as the first two innings were largely uneventful. Gallardo faced the minimum through two thanks to allowing just a walk in the first and immediately following that with a double play. He got through the hardest part of the order without much trouble.
Baseball is a weird game, though, and it was the bottom of the lineup who got the big rally started. Blake Swihart, getting his first start behind the plate in Christian Vazquez’ absence, started the rally with a one-out double that was crushed out to the 420 sign in center field. Immediately after that, Jackie Bradley Jr. had a double of his own, and the Red Sox had their first run of the game. The top of the order got in on the action after that, with Andrew Benintendi doubling, J.D. Martinez and Mitch Moreland both singling and Xander Bogaerts tripling. Notably, Swihart, Benintendi and Bogaerts all hit their extra-base hits to the deepest part of the park and likely would have had homers elsewhere. Either way, the Red Sox had five runs to their name when that frame was through.
The Red Sox would then go down quietly again in the fourth before adding to their run total in the fifth. There, Mookie Betts led off with a double he ripped down the third base line, and after Benintendi grounded out and Martinez walked, Mitch Moreland came up with runners on the corners with one out. He didn’t spark a big rally, but he did get one run home on a sacrifice fly. That was all they’d get in the inning, but it was a sixth run on the board.
These runs were important, because the Red Sox were going all Rays on us with a bullpen game. Alex Cora didn’t want to call it that, but he was starting Hector Velazquez, who is not stretched out and was acknowledged to only be able to go a few innings in the game. He was solid enough, and Jalen Beeks came in after and was a little less solid.
Velazquez, for his part, looked about the same as he always does. That is to say that his stuff was just okay but he was somehow to avoid too much hard contact and limit the damage. In fact, his first inning was tremendous as he quickly set the side down in order with three ground balls.
The second was not as enjoyable for Velazquez as the Rangers seemingly figured him out for a minute that inning. After starting the frame with a strikeout of Adrian Beltre, he made a mistake against Rougned Odor. The Rangers second baseman got a sinker that stayed belt-high on the inner half of the strike zone and he crushed it out to right field. At the time, that gave Texas a 1-0 lead. The Rangers kept things going with a double and a walk, but Velazquez worked around that trouble to keep the damage to just one run.
He’d then work around a leadoff walk in the third, and that was the end of his night. Again, he is not at all stretched out, and that second inning likely cost him a chance at a fourth, but overall it was fine. Beeks came in after that and he got into more trouble. The young lefty, making his second appearance on a major-league mound, started off by hitting the first batter he faced before allowing a single to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Fortunately, Beeks induced a big double play after that, and while the Rangers scored a run to make it 5-2 it helped stop a big rally.
After a relatively quiet fifth inning that included just a single, Beeks got back to struggling mightily in the sixth. He gave up a single to lead things off, then was bailed out when Bradley made a great diving grab to steal another base hit and get the first out. After that, Beeks allowed a double to put two in scoring position and Cora had seen enough. Brandon Workman tried to escape the jam, but he immediately gave up a two-run double to Joey Gallo. The Red Sox would escape from there, but the lead was still cut down to 6-4.
Boston would get some back in the next inning, and just like the first rally this one was thanks to the bottom of the order. With two outs Swihart hit a grounder up the middle that deflected off the pitcher’s glove. That was a fortunate break as it deflected into no-man’s land and the catcher had an infield single. Bradley was up next and smacked a double into the left-center field gap to score a run. Unfortunately, the inning also ended there as Bradley was thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple.
With a 7-4 lead, Matt Barnes was called upon with the middle of the Rangers order due up. He struck out the side because he is incredibly good. After the Red Sox added one more run in the seventh thanks to an RBI double from Benintendi, Joe Kelly came on for the eighth. He’d toss another 1-2-3 inning. With the same 8-4 lead in the ninth, Ryan Brasier came out and tossed a scoreless frame to end the game and keep the win streak going.
The Red Sox will look for their ninth straight win, their third straight sweep and their fourth sweep in five series on Wednesday. They have Chris Sale on the mound as they go for all of that, and they’ll be going up against Bartolo Colon. First pitch is at 7:10 PM ET