What a roller coaster of a game this one was. The Red Sox offense got off to a strong start, and Bryan Bello worked through some early issues to keep his lead, but petered out let the Brewers back in it. Departing with the game tied 3-3, Kaleb Ort came out wild to give the Brew Crew the lead.
And then the 8th inning happened.
Justin Turner and Masataka Yoshida went back-to-back to give the Red Sox a 5-4 lead. For the first time in what feels like all season so far, they didn’t stop. Connor Wong knocked home two on an RBI single, the Sox showed patience, and Justin Turner elicited a bases-loaded walk to tack on another. Then, of all people, Macho Man Masataka launched his first career grand slam—his second dinger of the inning—to really salt this thing away. If this doesn't count as a breakout for Yoshida, I don’t know what does. It’s as close to WBC Yoshida as we’ve seen all season. It’s at-bats like these that can boost your confidence when you’re learning a new style of game, rules, league, city, language, basically everything. He also joins an elite crowd of multi-homer inning Red Sox sluggers.
Most recent Red Sox with multiple home runs in an inning:— J.P. Long (@SoxNotes) April 23, 2023
Masataka Yoshida (4/23/2023 at MIL)
David Ortiz (8/12/2008 vs. TEX)
Nomar Garciaparra (7/23/2002 vs. TB)
Ellis Burks (8/27/1990 at CLE)
Red Sox take the rubber game, 12-5, and win their third series in a row after being swept by Tampa just two weeks ago.
Justin Turner (.342 WPA, 2-for-3, 2 RBI, 1 HR, 2 BB, 2 runs scored)
How’s this for impact? Turner continues to make an indelible mark on the Red Sox lineup. We talked about players who need to step up in the wake of losing Adam Duvalll so early, and Justin Turner has been one of those guys.
Masataka Yoshida (.263 WPA, 2-for-3, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 runs scored, 1 K)
Speaking of players stepping up, I singled out Yoshida directly in that article as someone who would need to find his pop. Did he ever today.
Alex Verdugo (.134 WPA, 1-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K)
If the 8th was stellar for Turner and Yoshida, the 1st and 2nd is where Verdugo shined. A leadoff single, hustle to force a fielding error on Justin Turner’s single and get himself to third base, and a stellar starfish slide to evade a tag from Victor Caratini on a sac fly from Yoshida to put the Sox on the board first. Then working a bases-loaded walk in a full count to bring home the Sox’s second run. Verdugo’s breakout has for sure been one of the biggest takeaways of the first few weeks of the season, and he’s showing that he doesn't want to slow down.
Rafael Devers (-.212 WPA, 0-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K)
Devers still feels like he’s forcing things. It’s a product of his violent swing, but still, there’s something about his mindset that has to change going forward. His only productive AB was a walk in the 8th to keep the ball rolling for Turner and Yoshida.
Kaleb Ort (-.163 WPA, 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 BB)
A wild, wild inning for Ort. Lucky to be credited with a win, but he could have thrown the game right away in the bottom of the 7th.
Bryan Bello (-.141 WPA, 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 HR, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)
Bello had his ups and downs today but showed some promise. Worked though some 1st inning issues to keep the game scoreless and tossed effective innings in the 2nd through the 4th but fell apart in the 5th. His game is coming. I wonder somewhere in my head if he’d be more effective as a reliever for now, but if they keep him starting regularly, his confidence will come.
Who was the Red Sox’s Player of the game in their 12-5 win over the Brewers on 4/23/2023?
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Other (answer in the comments below!)