Saturday night started with some bad news for the Red Sox with Chris Sale being placed on the 10-day IL. The sinking feeling from that announcement hasn’t gone away, but the performance on the field tonight was enough to put it on the back-burner temporarily. Eduardo Rodriguez gave the Red Sox exactly what they needed against a bad opponent, tossing 7 1⁄3 shutout innings. The offense got a couple of big homers from Brock Holt and Rafael Devers (of course) and that was all they needed to pick up consecutive win number four.
After jumping all over Orioles pitching on Friday night, particularly as the game went along, the Red Sox were looking to do the same on Saturday against Asher Wojciechowski. The righty had shut down the Red Sox earlier this season, which otherwise has been unspectacular at best. Following the Chris Sale news this morning, not to mention that whole playoff race thing, Boston needed a victory both of the moral and the real varieties.
Unfortunately, early on things were looking a whole lot like that last matchup between the Sox and Wojciechowski. They really couldn’t get much of anything going, and when they did they couldn’t get the final hit they needed to capitalize. For example, their night started exactly as Friday’s did with Mookie Betts leading off with a double high off the Monster in left-center field. This time around the rest of the order didn’t follow suit, and Betts was left stranded.
The Red Sox then went quietly after that. They got a quick first out in the second before Brock Holt drew a walk, but then Wojciechowski cruised and retired the next eight batters he faced. As a result, Boston was held scoreless through four.
On the other end, Eduardo Rodriguez was looking to get back on track to finish off this season strong, something this team needs even more desperately after the aforementioned Sale news. The lefty got off to the exact start he was looking for against his former organization, needing to face only six batters in the first two innings thanks in part to an inning-ending double play in the second.
The third was the first time he was not able to face only the minimum, but even then he issued a two-out walk but didn’t allow anything else. His first real look at potential trouble came in the fourth. Here, Rodriguez got off to a rocky start when he issued a leadoff walk to Trey Mancini. After two outs the lefty gave up his second walk of the inning to give Baltimore their first runner in scoring position on the night, but he came back and got an inning-ending ground out from Pedro Severino to keep Baltimore off the board.
After Rodriguez worked around just a hit batter in the fifth, the Red Sox offense finally showed some real progress against Wojciechowski in the bottom of the inning. Holt, who had been away with the team for personal reasons most of the week, got things started with a bang. That is to say, leading off the inning he got a fastball up in the zone over the middle of the plate and he drove it into the bullpen for a solo shot. Just like that, the Red Sox had a lead.
They kept things going from there, too, as Jackie Bradley Jr. followed that up with a standup triple. He didn’t need any help scoring, either, when a wild pitch sailed to the backstop and allowed him to come in and make it 2-0 Sox. After a Betts walk and a Xander Bogaerts single, they had a chance to really pour it on with runners on the corners and just one out. J.D. Martinez came up to the plate looking to do damage, but instead he ended the inning with a double play.
Still, it was a 2-0 lead and now the pitching had to keep that score preserved. Rodriguez did not get off to the start he wanted in the sixth, though, allowing a leadoff double off the Monster to Mancini. He came back strong from there, though, getting a ground ball that cut Mancini down at third for the first out and eventually escaping the frame unscathed.
Rodriguez would come back out for a 1-2-3 seventh, and then after Rafael Devers did the damn thing again with a big two-run shot in the bottom of the inning, Boston’s southpaw entered with a 4-0 lead for the top of the eighth. He did record an out there, but after giving up a base hit his night was over. It was the longest outing of his season.
Now, it was up to Matt Barnes coming in with a runner on and one out in a four-run game. He got into some trouble, though. Mancini smacked a base hit to put a pair on before a wild pitch moved them up to scoring position. Things were suddenly stressful for the Red Sox, but Barnes came through with two huge strikeouts to keep the shutout going.
After the Sox went down in a scoreless bottom of the eighth, it was Brandon Workman coming on for the ninth. The righty worked a perfect inning to finish this one off and put Boston one victory away from the sweep.
The Red Sox will be looking for that sweep on Sunday in the series finale against the O’s. Boston will send Nathan Eovaldi to the mound to take on Ty Blach. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.