The start to this four-game series against the Tigers, which came right on the heels of an impressive three-game sweep on the road against the Rays, was about as bad as possible. The Red Sox, as we know, dropped both games of a day/night doubleheader in, frankly, pathetic fashion. It would have been easy for them to sink down into another slump. Instead, they roared back with a blowout win on Wednesday and then came back out and kept charging on Thursday. It wasn’t quite as convincing in the end, but Boston’s bats kept roaring in this game with ten hits, six of which were doubles and one of them was Michael Chavis’ second career home run. On the mound, Rick Porcello was far from perfect but he picked up a quality start before the Red Sox got three scoreless innings from Heath Hembree, Colten Brewer and Ryan Brasier. Two wins in a row leading up to another series against the Rays.
Wednesday was a pretty cathartic game for the Red Sox and their fans, as it was the first time they won a game that was not stressful until the end. Boston didn’t pull away until the very end here, to be fair, but it was still nice to have a ninth that didn’t get the ol’ heart rate pumping, you know? That was a trait of the 2018 team, the ability to put teams away late every time you have them on the ropes. Early this year, the offense has failed time and again to do so, and it’s been part of the reason for the slow start. On Tuesday, the offense exploded in the eighth to put the game away and then some. The hope was that they’d continue that right along in Thursday’s series finale.
They did not do so in the first inning when only three batters came to the plate despite a leadoff walk. In the second, though, they got going and jumped on the board first. The mini-rally started inconspicuously when Xander Bogaerts reached on an infield single into the hole on the left side of the infield. A couple of batters later, Michael Chavis came to the plate with the Red Sox still looking for their first fair ball in the air. He....well, he got it. Jordan Zimmermann threw the rookie a slider that was in the lower third of the zone over the middle of the plate, and Chavis went down and got it. It wasn’t quite as crushed as his first career homer, but dinger number two still came on that swing to put Boston up 2-0.
Now, it was just up to Rick Porcello to keep Detroit off the board and let his team build on its lead. Over the first couple of innings before his offense put runs on the board, he got the job done. Granted, the first inning included three hard-hit lineouts that went for relatively deep outs, but they all count the same in the box score. He also walked a guy and had a batter reach on another Rafael Devers throwing error, but nobody scored. After a quick second inning, he was through two scoreless frames with just 24 pitches under his belt.
In the third, however, things would take a downward turn. The hard contact from that first inning returned, and this time they didn’t find gloves. JaCoby Jones started the rally with a double off the wall in straightaway center field and he was able to move up to third on a rare misplay from Jackie Bradley Jr. Jeimer Candelario immediately followed that with a line drive single, and Detroit cut their deficit in half. That brought Nicholas Castellanos to the plate, and Fenway’s quirks worked against the Red Sox. The Tigers outfielder hit a line drive that would have hooked foul in every other park in the league. Here, however, it hugged the right field line before hitting Pesky’s Pole. That was a two-run home run, and just like that it was a 3-2 lead for the Tigers.
Fortunately, Porcello settled down in a big way after that. He got three straight outs after the home run to finish that third inning in a stretch that included a pair of K’s. He followed that up by allowing just a single in the fourth and getting a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox offense needed to continue to get to Zimmermann and make sure their starter wasn’t on the hook for a loss. They did their part. In the bottom half of the third, Mookie Betts stayed hot with a double into the left field corner before moving to third on a wild pitch. After Mitch Moreland drew a walk, J.D. Martinez put a base hit through the hole on the left side and the game was tied up again just like that. The rally kept going, too, when Rafael Devers put a double off the wall in left-center field, scoring two more and giving Boston a 5-3 lead. The Tigers turned to Buck Farmer in the fourth, but the Red Sox got to him too. Andrew Benintendi and Betts hit back-to-back doubles, and that added one more to Boston’s lead.
Porcello would come out for one more inning in the sixth, and he found himself in some trouble. The righty gave up a leadoff single before issuing a one-out walk, bringing the tying run to the plate. He hung tough, however, and got a strikeout and a groundout and escaped the jam. That would mark the end of his night. In the end, he earned the quality start allowing three runs over six innings on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts. Certainly not a perfect outing, but he got the job done.
After Boston added one more to their lead, Heath Hembree entered for the seventh with his team up four. He issued a walk but nothing else in a scoreless inning. The eighth belonged to Colten Brewer, who looked much better than his last time out — it would have been tough to be worse — with a 1-2-3 inning. Finally, it was up to Ryan Brasier in the ninth. He allowed a single in the inning, but that was all as he finished off a second consecutive win for the Sox.
The Red Sox will look to carry this momentum into their weekend series against the Rays. That’ll kick off on Friday night when Tampa Bay sends Charlie Morton to the mound. The Red Sox have yet to announce a starter as of this writing, though it seems Mike Shawaryn may be a solid bet to make his major-league debut for this game. It’s also worth noting rain could play a factor. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.