The Red Sox had won five in a row coming into this game, with the last few being good, gritty wins where they came from behind and/or got key hits late to hold on to the victory. Tuesday was not one of those games. Boston got a home run from Enrique Hernández on the first pitch of the game, and they were off to the races. Scoring in each of the first five innings, they put up a 16 spot through five to run away from it. Nick Pivetta contributed six good innings himself, and the good Sox made it six in a row.
More robust game notes below.
The Red Sox came into this series opener in Chicago playing phenomenal baseball, having just finished off a four-game sweep of the Mariners and having won eight of their last 10 games. With a day off before this Tuesday night game, however, there’s always the lingering question of whether or not this momentum will carry over as they head on the road to Chicago. They couldn’t have wasted any less time in showing people that this concern was unwarranted.
Enrique Hernández was in the leadoff spot for the Red Sox tonight, facing a very good pitcher in Dylan Cease. Boston made him look worse than he is throughout the night, starting with that first at bat. In fact, they started on the very first pitch as Hernández got a fastball over the middle of the plate up in the zone, and he smoked one out to left field for a solo homer, and the Red Sox were off to the races.
That inning would continue to bring good things for this offense, with Rafael Devers ripping a base hit and J.D. Martinez drawing a walk to put each of the first three batters on base (or rounding them in Hernández’s case). Although that was followed by two straight outs to risk wasting the inning with just one run, Trevor Story had different ideas. It seems his momentum was also unaffected by the day off and travel, as Story picked up right where he left off at Fenway, banging a 3-2 hanging curveball out to left-center field, and the three-run shot gave Boston a 4-0 lead.
This offense wasn’t going to stop at all in this game, either. The second inning started with back-to-back doubles from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Hernández to put another run on the board. Martinez then came through with an RBI single to make it a two-run inning. In the third, Franchy Cordero drew a walk then got over to third on a base hit before coming home on a ground ball. That was the only run of that inning, which was their lowest output in a single frame through the first five. They’d add two more in the fourth, one on a Devers home run and the other on a Cordero sacrifice fly, before tallying six in the fifth on RBI coming from Alex Verdugo, Story, and Cordero before Chrisitan Vázquez joined the party with a three-run homer. For those keeping track at home, that was 16 runs for Boston through five.
The offense was certainly the story of this game, but we shouldn’t lose sight of Nick Pivetta, who came into this start scorching hot and, like the offense, didn’t lose that momentum. The righty had to wait a bit longer to get going after his team’s big first inning, but he showed no signs of being affected by the wait, setting down the side in order on just nine pitches. He had another perfect inning in the second, this one with a pair of strikeouts, and another in the third to get through the order without a baserunner the first time through.
Tim Anderson did break up any potential perfect game bid to start off the fourth with a leadoff double, but Pivetta came through with two straight outs after that. José Abreu made sure it wasn’t a shutout either, though. Pivetta was working very aggressively in the zone throughout this game, which is what he’s supposed to do with this kind of lead. This time he caught a bit too much of the zone, and Abreu sent a middle-middle fastball out to straightaway center field to give Chicago their first two runs of the day.
There was a little bit more trouble for Pivetta in the fifth as well, though after recording two outs to start the inning. Andrew Vaughn kept the inning alive by ripping a ground rule double out to left field, and after a walk to the number nine hitter Adam Engel, Anderson ripped a base hit for his second hit of the day, bringing home Vaughn to make it a 16-3 game. Pivetta had one more inning in him, getting through without a run, giving up three runs over his six innings of work.
Now it was just on the bullpen to finish off the blowout. Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call for the seventh, who worked around a leadoff single and a wild pitch for a scoreless inning of work. Matt Barnes then took the eighth, working around a couple of walks for a scoreless inning. That left the final inning for Tyler Danish, who continued the theme with a scoreless inning of his own, finishing out an easy 16-3 win.
The Red Sox now look to make it four straight series wins if they can get a win on Wednesday. They’ll have Rich Hill on the mound to take on Lucas Giolito.