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Fake Sox Game 76: Nathan Eovaldi seals series win with a shutout

A brilliant pitching performance and two key homers.

Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

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

Our Fake Sox are kind of treading water over the last week or so, swapping between wins and losses seemingly on a daily basis. They picked up a victory on Saturday in their second game against the Cubs, setting up for a rubber match on the Sunday Night Baseball stage at Wrigley. Boston was sending Nathan Eovaldi to the mound with Chicago using José Quintana.

The Red Sox, frankly, dominated this one, with Eovaldi doing most of that domination. And obviously, considering the headline already gives away that this was a shutout, Boston got on the board first. That came in the second inning, when Rafael Devers started the frame off with a double off the center field wall. This was the first of three doubles on the night for Boston’s third baseman. That double was immediately followed by another two-bagger, this one from Xander Bogaerts. Just like that, it was a 1-0 lead for the Red Sox. Quintana didn’t let the damage build, though, and Bogaerts would be left standing on second base.

Eovaldi’s biggest trouble actually came in the bottom of that second inning as well. It looked like he was ready to give his lead right back when Willson Contreras smacked a triple into the left field corner with just one out. With the infield playing back, the Cubs needed anything but a strikeout, a pop up or a grounder to the pitcher to get the run home. Eovaldi got the ground ball right back to himself, and in the process recorded a huge second out with Contreras staying at third base. One more pop up later, and the Cubs were left off the board.

From there, it was pretty much cruise control the rest of the way for the Red Sox starter. He was perfect in the third, then allowed just a two-out single in the fourth. In the fifth and sixth, he was once again perfect. There was a little bit of a threat in the seventh when Javy Baez started things off with a leadoff single, but a strikeout and a double play made it a third straight three-batter inning for Eovaldi. The righty did have to face four batters in the eighth thanks to a two-out single, but the runner did not advance beyond first base. Finally, the ninth was yet another perfect inning to finish off the shutout.

In all, Eovaldi’s brilliant day saw nine shutout innings with just four hits — three of which were singles — with no walks and seven strikeouts. Five of his nine innings were perfect, one more had only three batters and no inning had more than four Cubs come to the plate. It was, like I said, pure domination. It was particularly good timing, too, as Boston had a doubleheader on Monday so keeping the bullpen fresh should be important.

So, the Red Sox didn’t need more than that one run they got in the second, but they did make things a little less stressful thanks to a big fifth. There, Kevin Pillar got the rally started with a base hit smoked back up the middle before J.D. Martinez does what he does best, launching one the other way for a two-run shot to make it 3-0. Devers then followed that up with his third double of the day, and then the Cubs decided to walk Bogaerts. Michael Chavis didn’t like that very much, and so he took it out on the poor baseball, crushing it over everything in left field for a three-run shot. That made it 6-0 and pretty much put the game away.

That would be all the Red Sox scored, but it was plenty. The 6-0 win gave them a series win on the road in Chicago and pushed Boston’s record to 41-35. The Yankees lost on Sunday, too, so the deficit for the Red Sox in the division is back down to just two games. Around the league, Evoaldi’s wasn’t even the best pitching performance of the day as Andrew Heaney tossed a no-hitter for the Angels against the Rangers. The players of the week, meanwhile, were José Ramírez and Marcell Ozuna.

Down on the farm, Danny Diaz was the player of the week for the DSL. In game action, the PawSox had the day off, Marcus Wilson homered twice in a Sea Dogs loss, Noah Song tossed five solid innings in a Salem loss, Greenville was limited to three hits in a loss, Lowell lost their first game of the year in shutout fashion, and the two DSL squads split their two games.

With it being Sunday, at the bottom of this page you can see full season stats for everyone on the Red Sox as well as full MLB standings.