The Red Sox offense has shown us both ends of the spectrum in this series, on Tuesday breaking out for a massive 16-run performance before hitting a wall on Wednesday leaving runners on base throughout the night. In a rubber match on Thursday, it was much closer to Tuesday. Sparked by another leadoff homer from Enrique Hernández. They’ get another homer from Trevor Story as well with an eventual 16-7 blowout win.
More robust game notes below.
The Red Sox offense has been the big story of this in-season turnaround over the last couple of weeks, but after an explosion on Tuesday they came out flat Wednesday with runners on base, squandering multiple chances en route to a loss that snapped a six-game win streak. On the one hand, it was one rough game in a string of very good ones, which is just something that happens in baseball. On the other hand, they looked a lot like they did early in the season, and it’s always scary to think they might be regressing back to that version of themselves.
They quickly made sure that fear went away in the first inning, and they started things off almost just like they did in the series opener. In that game, Enrique Hernández blasted a home run on the first pitch. This time it took him two pitches to jump on a Dallas Keuchel sinker up in the zone, sending it out to left-center field for a lead off homer to give Boston the early 1-0 lead. They continued to tag the veteran lefty as the inning went along too, with Rafael Devers dropping in a double, J.D. Martinez hitting a single, and then Trevor Story and Alex Verdugo drive them in to make it a 3-0 game after the top of the first.
Into the second, things didn’t really change much. Devers hit his second double in as many innings to start the rally, and a Martinez walk put on a pair. That brought Story back to the plate, and he did it again. The hottest hitter in baseball jumped on a 1-1 cutter that caught too much of the plate, sending it out to left field for a three-run shot which opened up the game with Boston grabbing a 6-0 lead.
That left things up to Michael Wacha to make sure this big lead stayed intact in his second start since returning from the injured list. The first two innings went off without a hitch, with the righty giving up a leadoff double in the second but nothing else among the first seven batters. But the third brought some trouble. He didn’t get scorched with hard contact to set up the rally, but he gave up singles to each of the first three batters he faced to load the bases without recording an out. Andrew Vaughn then took advantage, smacking a double into right field to bring all three runners home and cutting Boston’s lead in half.
Wacha did come back strong after that, leaving Vaughn standing at second and then coming back out for a perfect fourth. The Red Sox offense added another run in the top half of the fifth on an RBI double from Verdugo, bringing Wacha back out for the fifth with a four-run lead. There was more trouble for him there, starting with a leadoff single. A couple batters later, Vaughn jumped on a first-pitch cutter and sent it out to center field for a two-run shot. John Schreiber came on to record the final two outs, but it was still just a two-run lead.
Schreiber came back out for the sixth as well, continuing to impress out of this bullpen with a perfect inning of work to keep the lead at two. Then, the offense opened things back up. Starting the inning off with a Xander Bogaerts walk and then spreading three singles out throughout the inning, Boston plated two more runs and made it a 9-5 game.
Tyler Danish then came on for the seventh, working around just a two-out single to keep the four-run lead intact. In the eighth, the Red Sox added two more runs on hits from Verdugo (hits fourth of the night) and Vázquez (his third). Three more came in before the end of the inning, thanks in part to some rough defense from the White Sox, and it was a nine-run lead for the bullpen to protect over the final two innings.
Matt Barnes came out for the eighth and looked extremely shaky, walking four straight batters to give up two runs, and requiring Hirokazu Sawamura to come on and finish the inning. Chicago added one more on a sacrifice fly with the new pitcher. Boston got those two runs right back on a Kevin Plawecki two-run shot in the ninth, allowing Austin Davis to come on and finish out the 16-7 win, giving Boston four straight series wins.
The Red Sox now head to Baltimore for a long five-game-in-four-days series against the Orioles. Garrett Whitlock will go for the Red Sox to take on Kyle Bradish. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET.