Well, that’s a pretty nice day of baseball. After the Red Sox just barely got by for a win in the first half of the doubleheader, things got off to a tough start for game two. José Berríos had his A-stuff, and the Red Sox had no answer. Fortunately, Eduardo Rodriguez kept them hanging around long enough and the offense broke out in a big way in the fifth. That was more than enough for consecutive win number nine.
The Red Sox were riding high heading into this second half of the doubleheader on Wednesday, somehow squeezing by the first game with a victory. They were looking to take that momentum into the second game, but José Berríos had different ideas. Some may remember the Twins righty from an epic game back in 2019 when he was outdueled by Rick Porcello. Boston may have gotten the win that day, but Berríos was awesome, allowing just one run over eight innings with 10 strikeouts and no walks.
He wasn’t quite that good on Wednesday, but the Red Sox had few answers for the first half of this game. In fact, there’s really not all that much to report from his first three innings. They did get things started the right way with a Kiké Hernández base hit to lead off the game, but that was not representative of what was to come. Berríos retired the next nine batters he faced after that to get through three innings allowing just the single baserunner. He did it facing the minimum, too, because the single was followed up by a double play.
On the other side of things, Eduardo Rodriguez was looking to take a step forward from his last time out, which was solid but not exactly dominant. The stuff looked okay in this start, but the Twins are a good lineup and they were able to get some things going against the Red Sox lefty. Rodriguez started his day off with a strikeout, but then the Twins started to single him to death. To be specific, they hit three singles after that strikeout while mixing in a sacrifice fly in the mix as well to make it a 1-0 lead. There was a chance for it to get worse with Luis Arraez at the dish and two men on base, but Rodriguez got a big ground out to end the inning with the deficit only at one.
He would continue to work out of trouble as the start went along as well, although not before he cruised through a perfect second inning that featured a pair of strikeouts. After that, though, he allowed the first two batters to reach in the third before getting a couple of big ground balls, the second of which resulted in an inning-ending double play.
Meanwhile, the offense got a little bit of momentum in the right direction in the fourth inning, still training by a run. Alex Verdugo finally broke up the perfect streak by Berríos with one out, smacking a single. He’d then move up to second on a wild pitch before J.D. Martinez drew a walk. That put two on with one out, and Xander Bogaerts hit one well. Unfortunately, his line drive back up the middle was snagged by Berríos, who was able to easily double up Verdugo at second to end the inning.
After Rodriguez once again worked out of trouble in the bottom of the fourth — this time allowing a leadoff double but nothing else — the Red Sox were back out against Berríos in the fifth. This time they got going right away, with Rafael Devers starting the inning out with a double (that was almost robbed on a diving catch by Jake Cave) before Christian Vázquez drew a walk. After Bobby Dalbec hit a weak ground ball to the right side that went for an infield single, suddenly the bases were full with just one out.
That brought Franchy Cordero to the plate, and Berríos just totally lost his command. He threw four straight balls, and just like that the game was tied and the Twins were going to the bullpen. Tyler Duffey got the call with the bases still full and one out, with the top of the Red Sox order coming up. He won the first battle, striking out Hernández, He would not win the second. Verdugo ripped a base hit into right field, bringing home two runs and giving the Red Sox a 3-1 lead. Duffey then immediately threw a wild pitch, bringing Cordero home and suddenly putting Boston up by three.
Duffey then walked two more to reload the bases, leading to yet another pitching change. The pitching change didn’t lead to a change in results. Devers, who of course started the inning, kept it going with a big base hit into right field to make it a 6-1 ballgame. The inning would mercifully end from there, but it was suddenly a whole new vibe with Rodriguez coming back out for the bottom of the fifth.
There was some concern with the lefty coming back out after such a big layoff, and the last thing the Red Sox wanted was to give any of that momentum back. That would not be an issue, as Rodriguez was perfect for a very quick 12-pitch frame.
After Boston went down in order in the top of the sixth, Garrett Whitlock entered for the bottom, presumably with the idea of having him finish out the final two frames. He certainly did the job in the sixth, tossing a perfect inning with two strikeouts.
The Red Sox added one more run to the total with a home run from Alex Verdugo, and then they decided to go to a new pitcher. It was Eduard Bazardo, who got called up for the doubleheader today, coming in to finish this one out. He wasn’t perfect as he did issue a couple of walks, but that was all to end a really solid debut, and the ninth straight win for this team.
The Red Sox will go for a fourth straight sweep on Thursday as they finish out this series in Minnesota. They’ll have Garrett Richards on the bump going up against Michael Pineda.