The Red Sox have now won five games in a row and just finished off a sweep of the Orioles. This was far from your typical win, though, with things looking bleak from the outset. Nathan Eovaldi was brutal in his start, lasting only two innings and the Red Sox eventually found themselves in a 6-0 hole. The Orioles are, well, the Orioles, though, and that was enough to spark a comeback. Boston scored six in a wild sixth inning. Rafael Devers had another big day at the plate, the bullpen was phenomenal to stop the bleeding in seven innings of work and the Red Sox are starting to roll.
The Red Sox have been playing good baseball of late, winning each of their last four games with some good starting pitching behind a lot of that. Good starting pitching has been hard to find this season, and now with both Chris Sale and David Price on the injured list, Boston needs some other guys to step it up. Nathan Eovaldi is on that list, with the righty being shifted from the bullpen to the rotation. This is a move that had been discussed for a week or two prior, but they were finally able to start the transition on Sunday.
Unfortunately, the first taste we got from Eovaldi in this role since April was exactly what the team did not want to see. Going up against a bad Orioles lineup, the righty simply had no control and Baltimore was able to take full advantage. The Red Sox were hoping to get 55-60 pitches out of Eovaldi in what would ideally be four or five strong innings, but he didn’t come close to that innings-wise or performance-wise.
It took no time at all in Sunday’s game for Eovaldi to get himself into trouble, with Jonathan Villar leading this game off with a double high off the wall in left field. He then moved over to third on a wild pitch before Eovaldi issued a walk to Trey Mancini. With the first two batters reaching, the righty did get a big first out but then Renato Núñez made it all for naught. Eovaldi caught way too much of the plate with a breaking ball and Núñez, who has big-time power, jumped all over it for a three-run shot. One half-inning into the game and Baltimore had a 3-0 lead.
Things didn’t get much better for the Red Sox starter after that, either. He totally lost his control in the second, issuing a leadoff walk and then later throwing a wild pitch before issuing another walk. After Villar stole second base to put a pair in scoring position, Macini came through with a base hit to drive in two and the Orioles had themselves a 5-0 lead.
Those two innings would be all we’d see from Eovaldi, with Darwinzon Hernandez coming into the game with the score still 5-0. We got basically the full Darwinzon experience here. He showed off his monster stuff with a couple of strikeouts, but he also lost control a bit at times and put a batter on with a hit-by-pitch. That turned out to be big because with two outs Hanser Alberto rocketed one off the Monster for an RBI double. After three trips to the plate, Baltimore had themselves a 6-0 lead.
So, the pitching was clearly an issue for the Red Sox, but the hope was that the offense would be able to make up for it and then some with Ty Blach on the mound for the O’s. As you can guess from that 6-0 score, that wasn’t the case early. The did get baserunners in each of the first two innings — a double from Rafael Devers in the first and a walk from Christian Vázquez in the second — but no runs.
In the bottom of the third, they did start to get going a bit. Already trailing by six, they were going to need a few strong innings to get back into this game, but they started chipping away in the third. That inning started with a Chris Owings walk, and after Mookie Betts put two in scoring position with a double, Devers brought one home on a ground out. They’d get another RBI ground out after that, and settled for two in what had the potential to be a crooked inning.
In the fourth, it was just one swing to continue the chipping away. That swing came from Sam Travis, who continues to mystify in this stint at the major-league level. This time he got a first-pitch sinker that did not sink and he blasted a solo shot out to straightaway center field to make it 6-3.
The bullpen did a nice job of stopping Baltimore’s momentum in the couple of innings after Hernandez gave up that sixth run. Ryan Brasier, Josh Taylor and Marcus Walden each handled one inning and although none of them were perfect no runs crossed the plate on their watch.
That gave the Red Sox an opportunity to tie this one up in the bottom of the sixth, with a little help from the Orioles being, well, the Orioles. J.D. Martinez got things started by ripping a double down the left-field line, and after he moved to third on a fly ball Travis drew a walk to put runners on the corners with one out.
That marked the end of Blach’s day, and this is where things got weird. After Vázquez knocked in a run with a double, Mitch Moreland came on to pinch hit with a pair in scoring position in a two run game. Baltimore, as one might expect, countered by calling upon the left-handed Paul Fry. Everything made sense up to this point. Fry did his job, too, inducing a weak pop up to shallow left field from Moreland. Except, well, nobody was to be found and it fell in for a bizarre hit. To make matters even worse for Baltimore, their throw home got by Chance Sisco, who was hit to the ground by Travis on the latter’s throw home. No one was backing up behind the plate, and the Red Sox got two runs once the dust had settled, tying this one up at six.
Things only kept going after that, too. Betts kept things going with a two-out walk, bringing Devers back to the plate with two on. He did what he’s done all year, smacking a double off the Monster to bring one more home, and the Red Sox suddenly had a 7-6 lead. They’d get another on an infield single before J.D. Martinez brought another one home when he hit a grounder to first base and the Orioles just decided to cover zero of the bases. By the time the dust settled, it was 9-6 Red Sox.
Now, it was up to the bullpen to get through three more innings to finish this one up. Andrew Cashner got the call against his former team in the seventh. He did allow a base hit but only faced three batters thanks to an inning-ending double play.
The Red Sox then opened this one up into a blowout in the bottom of the seventh. Boston added on four more in that inning, an explosion highlighted by a two-run shot by Rafael Devers, his third extra-base hit of the day.
With the game basically out of hand, Travis Lakins was on for the eighth and tossed an easy 1-2-3 innings. He’d come back out for one more inning in the ninth. He did allow a run in the inning but it wouldn’t matter as the Red Sox had plenty of breathing room and went home with the win as well as the sweep.
The Red Sox will have a day off on Monday before getting back to action on Tuesday at Fenway. They’ll take on the Phillies for a short two-game set. They have not yet announced their starter for that series opener. Philly will send Aaron Nola to the mound, and first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.