The Boston Red Sox rolled to an easy 12-5 win on Monday afternoon, scoring ten straight runs in the middle innings after falling behind 3-0 to the Cleveland Indians.
Things started well for the Indians on Monday, but quickly took a turn in the opposite direction after the Red Sox got their first looks at right-hander Jefry Rodriguez. After two effective innings to open his afternoon, Boston piled up ten runs in a six-inning span to bury the hapless Tribe, which dropped below the .500 mark at 25-26 on the year while losing for the seventh time in the last eight games.
Cleveland got to long-time nemesis Rick Porcello with two runs in the first. Francisco Lindor opened up the day’s action with a second-pitch single to left. Oscar Mercado grounded sharply up the middle, but the ball ate up shortstop Xander Bogaerts, allowing Mercado to reach safely and Lindor to alertly scamper to third. Mercado stole second before a strikeout of Carlos Santana for the first out, but Jason Kipnis came through two pitches later with a single to score Lindor while leaving Mercado at third. Jake Bauers was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Roberto Perez grounded a slow roller towards short. Bogaerts was able to get the force at second, but the Red Sox could not attempt to complete the double play. Mercado scored on the fielder’s choice to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead. Mike Freeman flied to left to strand runners on the corners.
Rodriguez struck out a pair in an easy first inning and worked around a two-out single by Michael Chavis in the second. He was stranded at second after a wild pitch on a groundout to first by Brock Holt.
The Indians gave Rodriguez another run of support in the top of the third. Mercado was in the mix once again as he led off the inning with a single and stole his second base of the game. Santana joined him on base with a walk and Kipnis moved the pair up with a sacrifice down the third base line handled by Porcello. Bauers grounded to second, knocking in Mercado, before Perez struck out looking.
Momentum began to shift in the home half of the third as the Red Sox got on the board with a big inning. Rodriguez got the first two batters to start the frame before Andrew Benintendi walked in a ten-pitch at bat. He stole second as Rodriguez dozed on the mound and was slow to attempt to gun him down at second, where a nice swim move by the runner helped him to avoid the drop tag of Kipnis. Mookie Betts followed the stolen base with a single to right that short-hopped Mercado and rolled to the warning track. Benintendi scored with ease and Betts advanced to third on a two-base error. A wild pitch through the five hole of Perez allowed Betts to score Boston’s second run before Rafael Devers grounded out to Santana at first.
The Indians left the bags full in the fourth in a costly missed opportunity. Freeman singled to center and moved to second on a sacrifice by Greg Allen. Leonys Martin moved him to third with a grounder to short. Lindor was intentionally walked and stole second base before Mercado loaded the bases with a nine-pitch walk, but the team’s go-to run producer in Santana flied to right to leave three big runs on base.
Boston tied the game in the fourth with three straight base hits. After J.D. Martinez struck out looking against Rodriguez, Bogaerts and Chavis each singled to put runners on second and third. Holt delivered the game-tying hit with a single to left, driving in Bogaerts to make it 3-3. Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a walk to load the bases, but Rodriguez got out of his own mess by getting Sandy Leon to fly to left before striking out Benintendi swinging.
The Indians wasted a one-out double by Bauers in the fifth before the Red Sox claimed the lead for good in the bottom half. Betts singled to left and advanced to second on a balk. Devers doubled to center, knocking in last year’s MVP with the go-ahead run. After a liner to center by Martinez, Bogaerts joined in the fun with a double of his own to left, scoring Devers to make it a 5-3 game. Chavis was intentionally walked and Oliver Perez was summoned from the bullpen by manager Terry Francona, and after some shoe-related issues that slowed down the pace of play for a minute, he got a force out at second off of the bat of Holt for a big second out. It would not matter though, as Bradley Jr. came through with an RBI-double to left to drive in Bogaerts and Leon cleared the Monster in left with a 3-2 three-run home run to make it a 9-3 game, capping a six-run, nine-hitter inning for Boston.
Porcello retired the Tribe in order in the sixth before Martinez delivered an extra run of support with a solo shot the opposite way to right off of Dan Otero, making it a 10-3 game with ten straight runs scored over a four-inning span. The ball hit the top of the wall and appeared to be deflecting back into the field of play, but bounced off of the glove of Mercado and over the short wall there in front of the bullpens.
The Indians finally got to Porcello again in the seventh and knocked him out of the game with a mini rally. Mercado singled for his second hit of the game and moved to third on a double by Kipnis that followed a Santana strikeout looking. Bauers struck out looking for the second out before Perez singled to right, scoring Mercado to make it 10-4. Heath Hembree entered in relief for Boston skipper Alex Cora, but he quickly gave up a double to left to Freeman to make it 10-5. With runners on second and third and two outs, Allen had a chance to deliver big in the clutch (as he had done on this date one year ago with a walk-off homer against the Houston Astros in the bottom of the 14th), but his deep drive to right-center went to the deepest part of the park and was reeled in by Bradley Jr. to end the inning with two more men stranded on base.
Boston scored for a fifth straight inning in the bottom of the seventh against rookie left-hander Josh Smith, on for his second career appearance. He hit Chavis with a 1-2 pitch to open the inning. Holt grounded into a force at second, but Bradley Jr. padded the Boston lead with a double deep to left that scored Holt from first with the Red Sox’s eleventh run of the day. Smith struck out a pair around a two-out walk of Benintendi to prevent further damage.
Ryan Brasier pitched a 1-2-3 eighth in relief of Hembree before the Red Sox closed out their scoring with one more mark on the scoreboard. Adam Cimber retired Devers on a grounder to first, but he left one in Martinez’s nitro zone and the Boston DH parked the pitch on top of the Green Monster for his second homer of the day and eleventh of the year to give the Red Sox a 12-5 edge.
Hector Velazquez pitched the ninth, getting two groundouts before walking Bauers. Perez struck out looking to drop the Indians back below the .500 mark. The Red Sox improved to 29-25 on the season with the win.
Porcello lasted six and two-thirds innings for Boston, allowing five runs (three earned) on eight hits to improve to 4-4 on the season. He walked three and struck out four, throwing 110 pitches on the afternoon. The bullpen worked two and one-third innings of one-hit relief, striking out one and walking one.
Rodriguez dropped to 1-5 on the year with another tough outing. He gave Francona four and one-third innings of work, throwing 101 pitches on the day. He was charged with seven runs (six earned) on eight hits with three walks and six strikeouts. The Red Sox struggled with him the first trip through, but his results changed drastically the second and third times through the order. Every Indians relief allowed at least one earned run, with O. Perez tagged for two on two hits in two-thirds of an inning, while Otero, Smith, and Cimber each allowed one run on one hit.
“He started out good. Second time through the lineup, they started making their adjustments,” said Francona. “Some things happened when they scored the first two. We gotta hold the ball because we think he’s running and he is running. He stepped off, threw to second just a little bit late. Then we get the line drive to right that Oscar probably got in no-man’s land. That ended up costing us two runs. To the Red Sox credit, they keep coming at you once they kinda smell some blood.”
Five different Red Sox batters put up two-hit games. Martinez was 2-for-5 with a pair of solo homers. Bogaerts and Bradley Jr. had a single and a double each, with Bogaerts driving in one and scoring twice while Bradley Jr. scored once and drove in two while walking in another plate appearance. Devers had a single and a double of his own, while Chavis reached three times with two singles and a walk.
Mercado drove the Indians offense out of the two-hole with a two-hit day. He went 2-for-4 with a walk and scored three of the team’s five runs on the day. He also swiped the first two stolen bases of his career. Kipnis and Freeman both went 2-for-4 and contributed RBI.
Slumping Jose Ramirez was given a day off to start the Indians’ seven-game road trip through Boston and Chicago.
Prior to the game, it was announced that long-time Major Leaguer and former Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner had died at the age of 69 after a battle with dementia. Better known for his role in the outcome of the 1986 World Series matchup between Boston and the New York Mets, the underrated Buckner spent 22 years on the MLB stage, owning a career .289/.321/.408 slash with 174 home runs while playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, the Red Sox, the California Angels, and the Kansas City Royals from 1969 to 1990.
The Indians will need to make a roster move ahead of Tuesday night’s game to add a starting pitcher for the night. Right-hander Zach Plesac will join the 25- and 40-man rosters prior to the game from Triple-A Columbus, where he had made just three starts as a member of the Clippers in his first looks at the top farm level of the minors. The Red Sox will send left-hander David Price (2-2, 3.24 ERA) back to the mound in his first start since exiting last Saturday’s outing against the Houston Astros after just 15 pitches with flu-like symptoms.
First pitch of the middle game of the series from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.
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