The Red Sox have not come out as hot as they were hoping to in this long five-games-in-four-days series against the Orioles, swapping wins and losses over the first three games to fall behind in the series two games to one. Still, they had a chance to win the set if they could take the last two, and Sunday provided no problems whatsoever. Boston’s offense was hot from the get-go, smashing five home runs off Orioles starter Bruce Zimmermann en route to a plenty big enough lead for Nick Pivetta and company. Now they have a chance to take this series on Monday.
More robust game notes below.
The Red Sox offense hasn’t really cooled off over the last few games, but they’ve been a bit more inconsistent than they had been at the peak of their hot streak, which of course makes some sense as they were never going to stay as hot as they were. That would have effectively made them perhaps the best offense of all time which, ya know, they’re not. But they’re still good, and they showed poor Bruce Zimmermann that was indeed still the case with an absolute onslaught on Sunday afternoon at Fenway.
They actually didn’t push anything across in the first inning, settling for just a single, but once the second rolled around they stopped playing around. After Christian Vázquez dropped a double into left field with one out, Bobby Dalbec showed some his August 2021 stuff, smashing a 3-2 changeup left in the middle of the zone 390 feet out to left field, putting Boston on the board with a 2-0 lead. That was only the start of the home run party. Franchy Cordero came up a couple batters later with the bases empty, and he got a 1-0 slider a bit down and away that he had no trouble handling it. Cordero hit an absolute moon shot 448 feet out to center field to extend the lead to three.
Any time the Red Sox hit as many home runs as they did on Sunday afternoon, you know Rafael Devers is going to join the party at one point or another. That time came in the third, when Zimmermann threw a 3-2 fastball right down the heart of the plate. You can’t ever throw Devers a pitch in that spot, and he showed why with a moonshot of his own, this one traveling 434 feet to make it a 4-0 game. They’d add two more homers in the fourth — one from Christian Arroyo and then another from Enrique Hernández — to make it five homers off Zimmermann for the game, and put six runs on the board.
Six runs was plenty for Nick Pivetta, who came into this game as Boston’s hottest pitcher and left with that same title. While his offense was giving him oodles of run support, Pivetta was keeping this Orioles offense out the board, pitching particularly well with runners on base. He worked around a one-out double in the first, and then in the third had to work around a double and a walk. But he still maintained a shutout going through three innings, and kept it going in the fourth as well thanks to an inning-ending double play to cancel out the leadoff walk.
Baltimore was finally able to get on the board against the Red Sox starter in the fifth, with those baserunners catching up to Pivetta. Although he did get two quick outs, Cedric Mullins kept the inning alive with a double, and Trey Mancini brought him in with an RBI single. Pivetta worked one more inning, leaving the game with the score 6-1, having worked around five hits and three walks to finish off a strong game.
The bullpen also didn’t have to worry about too much, as the Red Sox offense continued to add on. Cody Sedlock came in after Zimmermann, and while he was mostly very good over his first three innings of work, allowing just a run in the fifth. But he was asked for a fourth inning, and that’s when the wheels fell off. Boston loaded the bases before recording an out, drawing a leadoff walk followed by back-to-back singles, and then Cordero brought two of those runners home with a double. That ended the game for Sedlock, but the Red Sox kept adding. J.D. Martinez brought in one run with a bases loaded walk before Xander Bogaerts brought in two more with a double. By the time the dust settled, the Red Sox had a 12 spot on the board.
Finishing out the day of pitching for Boston was first Tanner Houck, who came on after Pivetta and gave the Red Sox two scoreless innings of work. That just left the ninth, which was left to Phillips Valdez, just called up this weekend. He’s been pitching well in Worcester, and got the job done here, allowing one run but not forcing anyone else to get up in the bullpen, finishing out a 10-run win.
The Red Sox can now finish this one off with a win on Monday. They’ll have Rich Hill on the mound, with first pitch set for 7:10 PM ET.