clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Fake Sox Game 32: Nathan Eovaldi and Mitch Moreland lead the way

A big fifth inning lifts Boston to third straight victory.

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.

Our Fake Sox are playing some good baseball right now, coming off two straight victories including a blowout win on Monday to start this latest series up in Toronto. On Tuesday they had a rematch of last week’s game between Nathan Eovaldi and Tanner Roark, a contest the Red Sox won by a score of 4-2. They were looking for a repeat performance in this one.

Early on, it looked like both pitchers were on their game as there was not a whole lot of offense on either side. The Red Sox did get a two-out single in the first from Alex Verdugo, but Roark would not even have to throw another pitch as Verdugo was caught napping and immediately picked off first base to end the inning. After again managing just a single in the second, Boston finally got on the board in the third thanks to Mitch Moreland. He was the first batter of the inning, and on a 2-0 pitch he jumped all over an offering from Roark to send it 379 feet out to right field for a solo homer to give Boston their first run of the night. They would manage just a single in the rest of the inning and again just get a single in a scoreless fourth.

On the other side, Eovaldi was pitching somewhat similarly against the Blue Jays. It looked like it might be a struggle in the first at bat as the righty started things off with three straight balls, but Bo Bichette popped up a 3-0 pitch and Eovaldi settled in for a 1-2-3 first. The second was a little bit more of an issue as the Blue Jays actually got on the board first before Moreland’s home run thanks to a rally from Reese McGuire, who has killed Boston this year. The catcher smacked a one-out double, and then a couple of batters later Cavan Biggio came through with a double himself to give Toronto what was at the time a 1-0 lead. Eovaldi would work around another double in a scoreless third and then walk a tightrope for another scoreless frame in the fourth after starting the inning with a walk and a base hit.

So, it was a 1-1 ballgame heading into the fifth with both pitchers keeping runs off the board but Roark certainly looking better than Eovaldi to this point. All of that would change here in the fifth, however. Moreland got the rally going with a leadoff single before Roark lost the zone a bit, issuing back-to-back walks to Ryder Jones and Andrew Benintendi. Just like that, the Red Sox had the bases full, nobody out and a chance at a big inning. José Peraza did his part with an RBI single before Verdugo brought another run home with a sacrifice fly. That would do it for Roark, as he left a 3-1 game and there were still two on with one out. With Bruce Kern now pitching for the Jays, Boston went: double, double, single, strikeout/stolen base, wild pitch, infield single, ground out. By the time the dust had settled it was a huge seven-run inning for Boston and the tight game suddenly was an 8-1 lead for the good guys.

That was essentially that. Eovaldi ended up settling down some as the game went on, though he did allow another run in the bottom of the fifth on a Lourdes Gurriel double. That was it, though. The righty ended up tossing 8 13 innings and allowing just two runs while Heath Hembree came on in the ninth to get the last two outs. The offense didn’t do too much after that fifth, adding one more run in the eighth.

Ultimately, it was a second straight easy win for Boston and third straight overall, pushing their record to 19-13 on the year. The Yankees lost, too, which gave the Red Sox a one-game lead in the division. It also seems New York’s clubhouse may be unraveling as apparently Hunter Strickland flipped out after their loss. The Red Sox also got the diagnosis for the injury Martín Pérez suffered on Monday, and it’s good news. It’s just a mild calf strain for the lefty and he should be ready for his next outing. In more league news, Paul DeJong is out for the year for the Cardinals.

Meanwhile, down on the farm, Pawtucket hit four homers including two from Tommy Joseph in a 10-5 win, Denyi Reyes got hit around in a loss for Portland, Thad Ward led the way in a 1-0 win for Salem and Yusniel Padron-Artilles had a second straight strong start in a win for the Drive.