We have witnessed some special pitching performances over the last couple of days. Nathan Eovaldi followed up Rick Porcello’s masterpiece with an incredible outing of his own. The newest member of the Red Sox rotation now has 15 shutout innings under his belt. He absolutely mowed through the Yankees order, allowing one runner to go beyond first base in his eight innings of work. Throw in a dinger each for Mitch Moreland and J.D. Martinez, and a very shaky but ultimately good-enough performance from Craig Kimbrel and you have an 8.5-game lead for the Red Sox. That’s extremely cool.
Less than 24 hours after Rick Porcello absolutely electrified Fenway Park with a masterful performance, Nathan Eovaldi was setting out to do at least a fraction of that. It seemed unlikely he could match it, but don’t tell him about those odds. The righty was going up against his former team after having dominated the Twins in his first start with his new squad, and this was a chance to really prove himself to Red Sox fans. Well, that’s exactly what he did. Eovaldi was working quickly, throwing gas and utilizing an absolutely disgusting cutter that, early on, carried 95 mph heat with bananas movement.
The Yankees really were never able to get anything going against the Red Sox starter and their former righty. They went down in order in the first which included a strikeout of Giancarlo Stanton in which Eovaldi made one of the best sluggers in the game look like, well, me. The second included a leadoff walk — Eovaldi’s first free pass with the Red Sox and the Yankees first baserunner since their first batter of the third inning of Friday night’s game — but they still only managed three batters in the inning thanks to a one-pitch double play from Gleyber Torres.
After another 1-2-3 inning in the third, Eovaldi lost his no-hitter to start off the fourth. There, Brett Gardner kicked off the inning with a sharp single, but Stanton came back with a quick double play and once again Eovaldi got through facing the minimum. He’d get the side in order in the fifth as well, getting through the minimum through five with just 50 pitches. His streak of facing the minimum ended in the sixth with a leadoff single to Miguel Andújar, but the Yankees still failed to score, or even advance a runner beyond first base.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox offense was going up against young righty Chance Adams, who was forced to make his major-league debut on Saturday due to J.A. Happ’s stint on the disabled list and Luis Cessa needing to mop up on Thursday night. Adams was able to hold his own for the most part, but he struggled with command and the Red Sox did take advantage a couple of times. It seemed like they could have tagged him for more damage, though.
The good news is that the Red Sox lineup didn’t waste much time welcoming Adams to the bigs. Andrew Benintendi smacked broken-bat single in the second at bat of the game, bringing up Mitch Moreland. Now, Steve Pearce got the day off after a scorching hot first two games of this series, which drew some questions from the fans. I’d say the decision panned out, as Moreland stepped in and took a hanging slider and put it in the back of the Red Sox bullpen. Three batters into the bottom of the first and the Red Sox had a 2-0 lead.
Adams, to his credit, did come back strong after allowing that home run. It wouldn’t have been terribly surprising to see a young starter spiral after early damage, but that didn’t happen. He got two quick outs to finish off the first after the dinger, and then retired the side in order in both the second and third. In all, he retired nine in a row after the Moreland homer.
Eventually, the Red Sox would get another big swing, though. J.D. Martinez stepped up with one out in the fourth and he did what he does. Adams served up a fastball up and in the zone to the Red Sox slugger and Martinez hit an absolute rope that reached the Monster Seats in a millisecond, extending Boston’s lead to three. Adams walked the next batter he faced, but got a double play before a 1-2-3 fifth. That ended his day, and while he made some mistakes it was all-in-all a pretty impressive debut against an outstanding offense.
So, we fast-forward to the top half of the seventh with Eovaldi trying to keep cruising through this Yankees lineup. Things did not get off to a promising start as Stanton ripped a double into left field, giving the Yankees their first runner beyond first base on the day. The Red Sox starter didn’t let them take advantage of the chance, though, getting a pop up, a line out and a strikeout to strand Stanton at second and keep the score at 3-0.
The Red Sox would then come out against A.J. Cole in the bottom of the seventh, and they came through with some two-out magic. Eduardo Núñez knocked a two-out base hit before Brock Holt did the same, bringing up Sandy León. The catcher ripped one down the left-field line, but it was called foul. The Red Sox called for a review, and somewhat surprisingly the replay crew overturned the ultra close play, resulting in a run and a ground-rule double. Boston would settle for the one run there, but the lead was now 4-0.
Eovaldi then, well, he did what he did all night. He set the Yankees down in order in the top of the eighth. That ended the righty’s night with eight shutout innings on three hits, a walk and four strikeouts. It was pure domination.
With a 4-0 lead, Craig Kimbrel came out to try and close out this victory and clinch the series for Boston. After a couple of strikeouts to kick things off, the Yankees got going a bit. Stanton smashed a two-out double out to center field after falling behind 0-2, and Didi Gregorius followed that up with a double of his own. That made it 4-1. Kimbrel then walked Aaron Hicks, bringing the tying run to the plate. Another walk put the tying run on base, and Greg Bird was coming up to the plate. Finally, mercifully, Kimbrel got the Yankees first baseman to fly out and that ended the game.
The Red Sox are now guaranteed to head to Toronto with at least a 7.5-game lead in the division, and they can finish off a sweep and extend the lead to 9.5 with a win on Sunday. David Price will be on the mound for that one taking on Masahiro Tanaka. First pitch is at 8:05 PM ET.