The Red Sox cannot be stopped right now and finished up a great homestand with a fifth straight win to complete a four-game sweep over the Mariners. On the mound, Nathan Eovaldi bounced back in emphatic fashion after a terrible outing on Tuesday in the team’s only loss of the week. The offense got a few home runs as well, but Hansel Robles couldn’t lock down the ninth. This game went into extras, but Boston finally got their first win of the year in that situation thanks to a walk-off grand slam from Franchy Cordero.
More robust game notes below.
With the Red Sox playing their best baseball of the season so far, their only loss over their last six games came with Nathan Eovaldi on the mound for what was perhaps the worst outing of his life, and at the very least the worst inning of his professional baseball-playing life. Going up against the Astros earlier in the week, the Red Sox ace joined the record books in a way he certainly did not want to, allowing Houston to smash five home runs off of him in the second, an inning he didn’t even finish.
The mark of a good pitcher is to be able to put those outings behind you, though, and take the ball five days later with a clear mind ready to dominate. Your mileage may vary on what exactly qualifies as domination for Eovaldi, but he certainly put that Tuesday fiasco behind him and led the way with a good start on Sunday against the Mariners.
Eovaldi made his way through the first five innings completely unscathed, and really dominating over the first few. In those first three innings, he allowed just one batter to reach on a single, and he struck out three in each of the second and third frames. After working around a leadoff double in the fourth, he once again came back and was perfect again for the fifth to keep Seattle on the board.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox offense has really found its stride in the last week-plus, and were looking to keep that up against a talented but inexperienced Logan Gilbert. The righty had no issues with the top of the lineup, retiring the first five batters he faced in order, but then Christian Arroyo broke up that rhythm in a big way. The utility man hasn’t played a ton this year, but he finally connected for his first homer of the year on Sunday. Jumping on a first-pitch fastball that stayed middle-in, Arroyo demolished one 431 feet out to left field off the National Car Rental sign above the Monster Seats for a no-doubt, solo shot, giving Boston the 1-0 lead.
They’d add on again in the third as well, this time with a bit more finesse. Things started on a Kevin Plawecki ground ball that ricocheted off Gilbert and into right field for a one-out single, and then an Enrique Hernández double off the Monster to put a pair in scoring position. Seattle wasn’t taking their chances against Rafael Devers, who was intentionally walked to load the bases, but Xander Bogaerts got the job done with a sacrifice fly to double up Boston’s lead. The bases filled up again after a Trevor Story walk too, but Franchy Cordero’s rocket was hit right at Mariners first baseman Ty France to end the inning and leave the runners.
So it was a 2-0 game as we entered into the sixth, and Eovaldi hit his first real speed bump of his afternoon. The righty walked Taylor Trammel to start the inning, and then his home run problems crept back up. This time it was Adam Frazier, who got an inside curveball that stayed a bit too high. Frazier curled it right around Pesky’s Pole for a Fenway special homer, and with that swing the game was all tied up at two runs apiece. To his credit, Eovaldi came back after that and retired the next three batters he faced to keep the game tied.
And to the offense’s credit, it didn’t take very long at all to get back out in front. One of the big stories of this past week has been the emergence of Trevor Story after an incredibly slow start to his season, and he had another big swing here in the bottom of the sixth. Leading off the inning, he went out and got a fastball that stayed right over the plate, putting it into the first row of Monster Seats in left-center field to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead.
With his team now back in front, Eovadli came back out for the seventh and retired the first two batters he faced, one with what would be his 11th strikeout of the day, setting a new career-high. But Mike Ford kept the inning alive with a two-out single, and that was the end of the line for Eovaldi. He did give up yet another homer, but otherwise it was a really strong showing to come back from the blowup earlier in the week. Austin Davis got the call to finish things off, and he did so by striking out Cal Raleigh to keep the Red Sox up by a run.
After the offense went down quickly and in order in the bottom of the seventh, it was Davis coming back on to start the eighth. He retired the first batter he faced, but then gave up a one-out single to end his day, with Hansel Robles coming on with one out and the tying run on base. He quickly gave up a single of his own to put runners on the corners, but then came back to induce a massive double play to end the inning and keep the Red Sox out in front.
It was still a one-run game for the ninth, with Robles coming back on looking to close this one out. He got the first two outs in order, but things took a turn in the next at bat. Eugenio Súarez was looking for a slider to start the at bat, and he got one right over the plate. That pitch was crushed into the Monster Seats, tying the game at three and giving Robles a blown save.
Now the offense had to add another run in order to avoid extra innings, and after a couple of quick outs Jackie Bradley Jr. kept things alive with a double. That left it up to Bobby Dalbec, with both J.D. Martinez and Alex Verdugo on the bench but unavailable. Dalbec couldn’t get it done, hitting a routine fly ball out to right field to end the inning and send this one to the 10th.
With the Manfred Rule runner on second to start the 10th, Jake Diekman got the ball for Boston. He did get a quick first out, but then back-to-back singles put the Mariners in front 4-3. Fortunately the lefty was able to limit the damage to just the one, but now the offense had some more work to do.
Christian Vázquez came on as pinch hitter and got the job done to start off the inning, shooting a base hit into right field to put runners on the corners for the top of the order. Hernández then followed that up with a base hit of his own, bringing home the tying run and putting the winning run in scoring position with nobody out. Devers then followed that up with a single, which should have loaded the bases. Instead, Vázquez was sent home and cut down at the plate. It was a borderline call (I thought he was safe) that was challenged and upheld, but it seemed like a questionable risk to take.
Story couldn’t get the run home, hitting a fly ball too shallow for Hernández to score, leaving it up to Cordero. He hit a couple of line drives in this game that found gloves, so he decided he should just hit it over everybody. For his first home run of the season, he launched a walk-off grand slam to complete a four-game sweep with an 8-4 win.
The Red Sox now have a well-earned day off on Monday before heading out to the Midwest to start a three-game set against the White Sox in Chicago. That series starts on Tuesday with first pitch at 8:10 PM ET.