The odds still are not great, but the Red Sox are sneaking their way back into the playoff picture over the last couple of weeks. With Wednesday’s win, combined with losses from both the A’s and Rays, Boston is now five behind Oakland and four behind Tampa Bay. This win was highlighted by their shortstop, with Xander Bogaerts getting hot at the right time and smacking two homers. Both of them were big insurance runs as the Red Sox didn’t let Colorado get too close for most of this game. Rafael Devers chipped in too, breaking out of a slump with a big three-hit performance. The first west coast trip of the year got things off to a horrid start. There’s a small chance the second gets them back in it.
The Red Sox headed into Wednesday’s game coming off a victory the night before in which their offense flexed their muscles at Coors Field. Granted, they were facing off against a pitcher in Rico Garcia who was making his major-league debut and clearly wasn’t quite ready for that moment. Still, the team had a bunch of big swings and made the rookie pay for his inexperience. They were looking to do the same against a different rookie in Peter Lambert on Wednesday, albeit one who has been in the bigs for most of the year and had more pedigree coming into the year to boot.
It looked as though they were poised to get some early runs on the board again in this game, when Mookie Betts reached on a leadoff single before Xander Bogaerts drew a one-out walk. That put two on with one out and the middle of the lineup coming up, but neither J.D. Martinez nor Mitch Moreland could come through and the Red Sox came up empty in the first. They’d do the same in the second with just one runner reaching on a two-out error.
In the third, with the score still knotted at zero, the offense started to show up again. Starting the rally was Rafael Devers, who was mired in one of his worst slumps of the year. The third baseman was 0 for his last 15, but after a conversation with Dustin Pedroia in the dugout he busted out of that with a triple out to the right field corner. A couple batters later Martinez stepped to the plate with Devers still at third and two outs. Not only did he get Devers home, but he drove himself home to with a blast way out to left field. He’s been red-hot lately, and his latest dinger gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.
Now, it was up to Eduardo Rodriguez to keep Colorado off the board. The lefty had been getting great results of late, having not allowed a run over 14 1⁄3 innings in his last two starts combined. He was looking to keep that up here in a tough park against a solid lineup. Things didn’t get off to a great start with Trevor Story leading things off with a base hit, but a double play right after that helped Rodriguez only face three batters in the inning.
He would get into a little bit of trouble in the second, too, issuing a one-out walk and a two-out single to put a pair on for the speed Garrett Hampson. Rodriguez came through in the tough spot, getting a ground out to keep the Rockies off the board. After working around a walk to Story in the third, the score was still sitting at 2-0 in favor of the Red Sox heading into the bottom of the fourth.
The score would not remain there by the end of the frame. Ian Desmond started things off by drawing the second walk of the night against Rodriguez and Yonathan Diaz put two on with a one-out single. After a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners Hampson dropped a bunt out towards Devers at third base. It was well placed and Hampson had too much speed, and the Rockies scored the run on the bunt single. It looked like things would get worse, too, when Lambert singled to load the bases for Story. Rodriguez got the Rockies shortstop to hit a weak line drive to end the inning and keep the Red Sox up one.
Fortunately, the Red Sox had some answers. Devers continued to break out of his slump with a one-out single, and then Xander Bogaerts, well, he did what he’s done so often this year. That is to say he drove a fastball a long way, this one out to right-center field. Just like that, the Red Sox jumped their lead up to three. Martinez and Moreland kept things up with a walk and a single, and with two outs Christian Vázquez brought one more run home with a base hit. The Red Sox got midway through the fifth with a 5-1 lead.
Now, Rodriguez was looking for a shutdown inning, and preferably a quick one as his pitch count was starting to rise and he wanted to get through at least six. That wouldn’t happen. Nolan Arenado got it started with a one-out single that was immediately followed by a double from Desmond. With a pair in scoring position, Rodriguez got a huge strikeout but couldn’t keep it up from there. The Rockies got back-to-back singles after that and they’d get two in the inning before Rodriguez finally got an inning-ending ground out thanks to a great defensive play by Devers. Still, it was suddenly a 5-3 lead.
Now in the two-run game, it was up to the bullpen to finish things off over the final four frames. Josh Taylor got the first call and he did give up a base hit but only faced three batters in a scoreless inning of work.
After the Red Sox added another run on Bogaerts’ second homer of the night and third in the last two days, Marcus Walden came on for the seventh. Things got off to a tough start when Arenado hit a leadoff double and then moved to third on a ground out. He would then come home on a ground out as well, but all things considered it could have been worse. Walden allowed the one run, but the Red Sox were still up 6-4.
With the score still the same heading into the bottom of the eighth, Matt Barnes got the call. He had some control issues here and walked one batter, but otherwise got through a scoreless frame.
Finally, it was Brandon Workman coming on to try and close things out in the ninth. He did the job by striking out the side (with some help from a truly atrocious call for the first K), and the Red Sox got themselves a sweep.
The Red Sox have a day off on Thursday before getting back into action with a final late-night series out on Los Angeles. They’ll start a three-game set against the Angels on Friday, with Nathan Eovaldi set to take on Jose Suarez. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.