Saturday was not quite as easy for the Red Sox as Friday’s series opener in San Diego was, but it counted the same in the standings. After Boston jumped out to a 4-0 lead, Nathan Eovaldi hit a wall in the fourth and the Padres pulled to within one. The bullpen did pitch well for most of this game, but San Diego grabbed another run in the seventh to tie this game. Fortunately, Brock Holt woke up the offense after a brief slumber with a huge solo homer to start the ninth, giving the Red Sox a win and allowing him to play hero for the second time in three days.
After a major struggle in his first start since returning from injury last time out against Baltimore, Nathan Eovaldi was looking for some sort of confidence-booster on Saturday in San Diego. He’s still not fully stretched out, which became evident later in this game, but the Red Sox were looking for at least a few strong innings for the righty. The key was simply going to be throwing the ball where he wants, which has been a hell of a lot easier said than done for him this summer.
Early in this game, though, they got what they were looking for. As I alluded to above it wouldn’t last for his entire relatively short outing, but he got through the order one time without too much trouble. Eovaldi did start off his evening by allowing a leadoff base hit, but thanks to a successful pickoff in that first inning he only had to face three batters in the frame. He came back with a big 1-2-3 second inning that included a pair of strikeouts.
In the third, we started to see some of the cracks in Eovaldi’s armor. Young infielder Luis Urías led off the inning and he did so with a line drive into right field for a base hit. After getting an out following the leadoff single, Padres pitches Dinelson Lamet moved Urías to second on a sacrifice bunt. That gave San Diego their first runner in scoring position of the inning, and they’d eventually get two on with two out thanks to a five-pitch walk from Greg Garcia. Eovaldi eventually came through in the big spot, though, getting prospect Josh Naylor to pop out and escape the inning unscathed.
On the other side, the Red Sox were looking to pick up where they left off in Friday’s romping of the Padres, going up against another fastball-heavy righty in Dinelson Lamet. Unfortunately, they didn’t quite have the same early success as they had the night before against Chris Paddack, going down in order in the first with a pair of strikeouts. They did get their first hit in the second on an Andrew Benintendi single, but the outfielder was quickly caught stealing and they ultimately only sent three batters to the plate in the inning.
In the third, the Red Sox would break through. Lamet has a tendency to wear down a bit as the game goes on as he’s still working his way back from last year’s Tommy John surgery, and Boston got their first two batters on in the third with a Mitch Moreland single and Brock Holt getting hit by a pitch. Eovaldi then failed to get a good bunt down and had Moreland cut down at third for the first out, but Mookie Betts salvaged something from the inning with an RBI single. They would have liked to get more out of that chance, but it was a 1-0 lead.
After Eovaldi escaped the potential jam in the bottom of the third, the Red Sox added some much-needed insurance in the fourth. J.D. Martinez, the star of Friday’s game, got it started with a leadoff single before Benintendi drew a walk to put the first two on for a second consecutive inning. Christian Vázquez cashed in on that chance, driving in both runners with a big double before coming in to score on a Moreland RBI single. They couldn’t get any more going in the inning, but it was a 4-0 lead midway through the fourth.
Those insurance runs were huge, because Eovaldi came back out for the bottom of the inning but was clearly tiring by this point. San Diego jumped all over him here, with Manny Machado kicking things off with a base hit. That brought Eric Hosmer to the plate, and he blasted a middle-in fastball way out to right field for a two-run shot. Just like that, the lead was cut in half. That was all for Eovaldi was Marcus Walden came on to try and get out of the inning after the dinger.
He didn’t have the kind of success the team was hoping for. Hunter Renfroe kept the Padres’ momentum going with a double, and after moving to third on a fly ball he came home to score on a slow ground ball to shortstop. Suddenly in a one-run game, Walden walked the next batter he faced before finally getting Lamet to end the inning with the lead just barely still in hand.
The Red Sox offense went quiet for the next few innings after that, wasting two walks in the fifth before wasting an error in the sixth, leaving it up to the bullpen to protect this one-run lead. Darwinzon Hernandez had the fifth, and the southpaw tossed a 1-2-3 inning. Ryan Brasier then got the call for the sixth and did the same.
After Boston managed just a base hit in the seventh, Brasier came back on for the bottom of the inning. The righty did get a strikeout but also walked two batters and was taken out of the game with two on and one on. Josh Taylor had the pleasure of coming into that jam. It took exactly one pitch for the Padres to take advantage as Ty France put a base hit through the left side to score one and tie this game at four. Taylor got the second out of the inning but then walked Machado, loading up the bases for Hosmer with two outs in the tie game. The Red Sox lefty came through with a huge strikeout to leave ‘em loaded and keep the game knotted up.
The Red Sox would only send three to the plate in the eighth thanks to an inning-ending double play, and Matt Barnes got the call for the bottom of the inning. He gave up just a two-out single in a scoreless inning of work.
Kirby Yates, one of the best relievers in the game, came on for the top of the ninth. It was a tough test for the Red Sox, but they didn’t take long to pass said test. Holt led off the inning and he smoked a first-pitch fastball out over the wall in right field to give Boston the 5-4 lead. Boston would load the bases after that homer, but they couldn’t cash in and settled for the one-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
There, it was of course Brandon Workman coming on going for the save. The righty was unable to throw his fastball in this outing, relying almost exclusively on his curveball. After striking out the first batter he faced, the righty issued a four-pitch walk before allowing the runner to reach second on a wild pitch. He then came back with a second strikeout, bringing Machado to the plate with two outs and the tying run in scoring position. Workman issued another walk here, bringing Hosmer to the plate. The righty came through in the huge at bat, getting his third strikeout of the inning to leave the tying and go-ahead runs stranded while finishing off the win.
The Red Sox will go for the sweep out west on Sunday in the series finale. Boston will most likely be sending Brian Johnson out for the start while the Padres counter with Joey Lucchesi. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM ET.