There’s not a whole lot to say here. Eduardo Rodriguez was great yet again as he continues to push for 20 wins, 200 innings and 200 strikeouts. The lefty allowed just one unearned run in his six innings of work on Thursday. The offense gave him five runs of support in the first two innings and that was enough, even with the bullpen having a shaky last couple innings.
As has been the case so often this year, Eduardo Rodriguez stole the show in Thursday’s matinee to finish off their series against the Giants. The southpaw has had a breakout season, and needed to go 3-0 in his final three starts to reach the vaunted 20-win mark. He is/was also chasing 200 innings and 200 strikeouts to boot. With that in mind, he needed to have a big game against a Giants team that had won the previous two games in this series, and the players behind him needed to do the job as well.
Things actually didn’t get off to the greatest of starts for Rodriguez and the Red Sox in the top of the first, though it’s hard to put too much blame on the pitcher for this one. Old friend Mauricio Dubon started the inning with a base hit out to left field, and then after a strikeout it looked like the inning was going to end on a double play. Instead, Marco Hernández was eaten up by the ground ball, and there were runners on the corners with just one out. Evan Longoria then came through with a sacrifice fly before the inning ended on a Buster Posey strikeout. So, the Giants had a 1-0 lead early on an unearned run.
From there, Rodriguez went into total domination mode. His offense gave him a lead heading into the top of the second, and the lefty wasn’t going to give that back up. He would issue a walk with one out in the second, but still only faced three batters after Jaylin Davis was caught stealing.
He’d then issue only a walk in the third before giving up just a base hit in the fourth. Rodriguez came back out and finished out his day with two perfect innings, and he had done his job. In all, he ended up going six very strong innings in which he’d allow just the single unearned run on two hits, two walks and ten strikeouts. That’ll do.
So, Rodriguez did his job but if he was going to get the W he was going to need his teammates to do the job with the bat and out of the bullpen. As I already mentioned above, the Red Sox did give him the lead right back in the bottom of the first and they would add more on later. They were facing Madison Bumgarner, but the lefty’s final line was worse than his performance, as Boston benefited from plenty of good fortune on weak contact. Though, of course, that’s why putting the ball in play is such an important skill.
Anyway, the Sox entered the bottom of the first trailing by one, and Andrew Benintendi got it started with a leadoff double. Christian Vázquez followed that up with a walk before Rafael Devers tied the game on a base hit. After Xander Bogaerts got a single of his own, it was 2-1 Red Sox with runners at first and second and still nobody out. There was a real chance for a crooked inning, but Bumgarner came back with two big strikeouts before an inning-ending fly out.
The Red Sox got right back to work in the bottom half of the second, though. They actually had their first two batters go down to start this inning, but the rally would start from there as they got single-happy. Benintendi, Vázquez, Devers and Bogaerts all reached in order again for the second straight inning, this time with all of them being singles. The result was three runs and a 5-1 lead for the Red Sox.
From there, the action really died down on both sides. We know what Rodriguez did over his last four innings, and Bumgarner was solid over his last three. Boston got two doubles, a walk and reached on an error in the third, fourth and fifth but Bumgarner kept runs off the board and left after five with the same 5-1 score.
So, now it was up to the Red Sox bullpen to hold the four-run lead. Ryan Brasier was up first and he was perfect in the top of the seventh. The eighth would then go to Marcus Walden, who got two quick outs. He then got to the top of the order, where Dubon drew a walk and Mike Yastrzemski laced a single into left field. That brought Pillar up to the plate, and Walden couldn’t escape. The righty gave up a double to bring two home, and the Giants were within two. Matt Barnes came on after that, and after walking a batter to load the bases he got a big strikeout to leave ‘em full and keep the lead at two.
After the Red Sox got two on but failed to score in the bottom of the eighth, Brandon Workman came on for the save. He did not get off to the start he was looking for, with Brandon Belt reaching on an error before he allowed a base hit an a walk. Suddenly, the bases were loaded with nobody out, and the lead was in serious jeopardy. Workman came back strong with two huge strikeouts, putting him one out away from escaping the major jam. That once again brought Pillar to the plate in a big spot, and he drew a walk to cut the lead to one. Evan Longoria had a chance to tie or take the lead, but Workman came through with a massive strikeout to preserve the win and keep Rodriguez in play for 20.
The Red Sox now head south to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays this weekend. Rick Porcello will be on the mound on Friday to take on Charlie Morton. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.