You know what’s better than a sweep? Two consecutive sweeps. The Red Sox have done just that as they continue to put that opening weekend sweep (being on the wrong side of that one) in the rearview with their sixth straight win. This one was a power display on both sides, but with the Red Sox having the advantage there as well. And specifically, J.D. Martinez led the way with three long balls on the afternoon, while Rafael Devers also contributed a pair. Throw in a fine start from Nick Pivetta that saw a few too many baserunners but solid enough results, and you get that second consecutive sweep.
The Red Sox and Orioles were coming off a long game on Saturday that saw a lot of back-and-forth, and as Boston was looking for a second consecutive sweep, not to mention revenge for being on the wrong side of a sweep to Baltimore to start the season, they were looking for something easy. For the most part, that’s exactly what they got, although things were pretty uneventful on both sides to start this game.
With Nick Pivetta going up against Jorge López, it was reasonable to expect a lot of offense. Instead, the first two frames went by in the blink of an eye. The Red Sox got a pair of baserunners in a scoreless first before going down in order in the second. On the other side, the Orioles had one baserunner in each inning and sent a total of seven players to the plate.
Boston’s bats started to wake up in a big way in the third inning, however, showing off some unrelenting power against López. The Orioles righty doesn’t have terrible stuff, but he throws a whole lot of fastballs and that can catch up to you quickly at this level no matter how good the pitch is. The inning started with a pair of singles, the first of which was of the infield variety from Franchy Cordero. He was actually called out at first, but it was a terrible call and overturned on what was perhaps the quickest review I’ve ever seen.
Third up in the inning was Alex Verdugo, who hit the first of a few homers on the day for the Red Sox offense. The whole offense liked the opposite field shots throughout this game, and that trend was started here when he sent one out to left field for a three-run shot to give Boston the 1-0 lead. J.D. Martinez stepped up after that, hitting an opposite field shot of his own. The back-to-back homers gave Boston the 4-0 lead.
Now, it was up to Nick Pivetta to make sure the momentum stayed with his side. It was an interesting inning, to put it lightly. Although Pivetta was certainly solid in this game, just like in the first one he worked around some command issues to get the results. As we mentioned following that start as well, it may not work out as well against better lineups, but all in all it’s not disastrous command and he’s certainly looked the part of a back-end starter at the least.
Anyway, things got a little dicey in that bottom of the third inning. After a quick first out, Pivetta gave up a pair of singles to put two men on. Then a ground ball was hit to the right side that could have been two, but Cedric Mullins was running from first to second and screened Bobby Dalbec, who couldn’t make the play. As a result, Baltimore had the bases full with one out and a good chance to answer back Boston’s big inning. Instead, Pivetta got a gift of a strike three call to set down Anthony Santander on strikes.
At this point, the weirdness hit a crescendo. In the next at bat, Christian Vázquez let a ball bounce off his glove behind him. Freddy Galvis, who was on third, thought it got further away from the plate than it did. Pivetta was all over the play and immediate made a beeline to the plate. It was a very close play, but Galvis was called out. There was some complaint about blocking the plate, but this looked like a clean play from my perspective. To me the bigger question was whether or not Galvis actually got his foot in before the tag. The replay was inconclusive, and since it was originally called an out the Red Sox managed to escape the inning with the 4-0 lead still in hand.
Pivetta had a little bit more trouble in the fourth inning as well with the score still 4-0. It was Ryan Mountcastle starting things out for Baltimore this time with a leadoff double, and a couple batters later he’d be driven in on a base hit from Maikel Franco. The bad news is it was the first run Pivetta allowed this year. The good news is he got a double play right after that to end the inning, not allowing things to snowball.
With the score 4-1 heading into the fifth, the rout was about to begin and the game was all but over in the blink of an eye. Boston got three straight singles to start off this inning to put one run on the board, and then Rafael Devers absolutely obliterated one for the second three-run shot of the day for the Red Sox and their third homer overall. They’d eventually load the bases as well, too, and got one more run on the board after Kiké Hernández was hit by a pitch. In the following inning they’d get yet another homer from Martinez, his second on the day and fourth of the year, to blow it open to a 10-1 ballgame.
Pivetta, meanwhile, worked into the sixth where things started to take a turn for the worse. The inning started with a leadoff triple for Baltimore, and a couple batters later Pivetta put another batter on with a one-out walk. That brought Franco to the dish, who smacked a three-run shot to bring Baltimore back to within six. Pivetta did bounce back after that with a couple of outs. In all, he allowed the four runs over six innings of work on seven hits (a homer, a triple, a double, and four singles) and three walks with seven strikeouts.
For the seventh, it was Austin Brice coming in and things started to get a little too interesting. he had no command in this one, walking each of the first two batters he faced. That brought Trey Mancini to the plate, and he took advantage. He gave Baltimore their second straight inning with a three-run homer, and just like that it was a 10-7 game, still with nobody out in the seventh. Brice, to his credit, did come back with a pair of strikeouts before he was pulled for Hirokazu Sawamura, who quickly got a pop up to end the inning.
The Red Sox were able to answer back a bit thanks again, at least to start, to Martinez. The slugger smashed his third homer of the day — insert shameless shirt plug here — this one out to center field, to make it an 11-7 ballgame. Xander Bogaerts then followed that up with a double, which was then followed up with Devers’s second homer of the day. Throw in an abysmal defensive sequence for the Orioles leading to another run, and Boston’s lead was back to seven by the time the dust settled.
To finish things off, Sawamura tossed a scoreless inning for the eighth before Phillips Valdez got the ball for the ninth. He struggled a bit, giving up a couple of runs on a couple of hits, a pair of walks and a wild pitch. It was not what you wanted to see, as it forced Matt Barnes to need to get up and get warm. Valdez did finally get out of it, though, striking out Rio Ruiz to end the game and officially make it six straight for Boston.
The Red Sox now head out of Eastern division play for the first time since 2019, going to Minnesota to take on the Twins. Martín Pérez will be on the mound for Boston while the Twins counter with J.A. Happ. First pitch is set for 2:10 PM ET.