It was a bit of a wild day at Fenway on Sunday as the Red Sox took on the Nationals for the rubber match of their three-game series. The wind was howling and pushing everything in the air out to right field. On top of that, the sun was almost comically bright, and the combination of those two factors made every ball in the air a bit of an adventure. The wind specifically also helped the ball sail out of the yard for five homers between the two sides on the day. One of those belonged to Bobby Dalbec for the first dinger of his career in just his second career plate appearance, and two more belonged to Rafael Devers. The Red Sox pounded Nationals pitching in general for eight runs, and while the pitching wasn’t perfect it was good enough for the 8-5 victory, pushing Boston’s record to 12-22.
With Zack Godley on the mound for this one, the Red Sox knew they probably were going to need some runs, and they were looking for a repeat of Saturday’s game in the early innings. That’s exactly what they got on this day where Fenway was being very generous to the hitters. Devers got things started with a fantastic 10-pitch at bat that led to a walk, and Bogaerts was able to come to the plate with a runner on. After demolishing a 440-foot homer on Saturday, he had another no-doubter here. Austin Voth left a fastball middle-in to Bogaerts, and the shortstop turned on it and smashed it off the stanchion in left field for a two-run homer. That was quickly followed by a double from Kevin Pillar, who would be brought home on a base hit from Kevin Plawecki.
With the 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the second, Bobby Dalbec led off the inning with his first major-league at bat, but he went down swinging. He’d make up for it later. More immediately, though, Alex Verdugo kept the inning alive with a two-out single, bringing Rafael Devers to the plate. Devers took advantage of the wind, hitting a high fly ball out to right field that just barely made it up and over the short wall into the Nationals bullpen. In fact, neither Devers nor the NESN camera operator even knew if the ball made it over the fence. It did, though, and it gave Boston a 5-0 lead.
On the other side, Godley actually had one of his better outings of the year. He as far from perfect, but over the first two innings he gave up just a single in the first — of course to Trea Turner, who is basically unstoppable right now — and then hitting a batter in the second.
The third saw the first bit of real danger faced by the Red Sox starter in this game as he gave up back-to-back base hits to start off the inning. Juan Soto then made it three in a row, and that brought Washington’s first run of the afternoon across the plate. Then, with runners on the corners, Asdrúbal Cabrera brought the Nats to within three with a sacrifice fly. Godley settled down from there, though, giving up a two-out double but nothing else and kept the score at 5-2 through the end of the inning.
The Red Sox offense was not ready to slow down in the bottom of the third, either, even with Voth out of the game. It was Pillar and Plawecki to start things off, with the former smacking a leadoff single before the latter put one off the Monster for an RBI double. A couple batters later, Dalbec stepped back in. This time, he hit a towering fly ball to right field, and again it was lost in the sun. Adam Eaton, the Nationals right fielder, had no idea where it was, nor did NESN’s camera operator. As it turned out, it went well past Pesky’s Pole for Dalbec’s first career home run and hit, giving the Red Sox an 8-2 lead.
The Nationals quickly answered back in the fourth, though, with Josh Harrison getting ahold of one and using the wind to have it fly over the wall in straightaway center field for a solo shot to lead off the fourth. Fortunately, Godley didn’t let it snowball into more.
After the Red Sox failed to score in the bottom of the fourth — in part due to Bogaerts not running out a fly ball to center field that was lost in the sun, a play that was followed by an inning-ending double play — Godley came back out for the fifth. The righty got a couple of quick outs to start things off, but then got into trouble. It started when Eric Thames hit a wind-aided solo homer to make it an 8-4 ballgame. Godley then walked a batter before serving up an RBI triple to Eaton, and just like that Godley’s day was over the Nationals were back within three. Josh Osich came on and quickly ended the inning with no more damage, though. The lefty came back out for the sixth as well and worked around a pair of two-out singles for a scoreless inning.
After the Red Sox managed a couple of baserunners but no runs in the bottom of the sixth, Josh Taylor came on for the seventh. He issued a leadoff walk but was able to work around that for a scoreless inning to keep it an 8-5 ballgame.
The offense once again got two baserunners but no baserunners in the seventh, leading to Ryan Brasier coming out with a three-run lead in the eighth. Like Taylor, he walked the first batter he faced. But, also like Taylor, he got three straight outs after that to get out of the inning unscathed.
The Red Sox added another one on Devers’s second homer of the day in the eighth as he hit an absolute laser around Pesky’s Pole for a solo shot. The Red Sox also lost J.D. Martinez in that inning after he was hit in the hand with a pitch. As of this writing, it’s not clear how serious that injury is.
With the score now 9-5, it was Austin Brice coming on looking to finish things off. He did give up a two-out double on a ball that got caught up in that wind, but that was it. The scoreless frame finished off a rare series win for this Red Sox team.
The Red Sox stay at home after this one and welcome in another NL team in the Braves. That series kicks off Monday at 7:30 PM ET with Colten Brewer taking on Max Fried.