EDUARDO NUNEZ & MOOKIE
A TEAM THAT COULDN'T
GET THE JOB DONE ...
Sox cruise with a huge 5th inning
The Red Sox did
it behind a massive fifth inning from their bats. The lineup that has
struggled to come through with runners in scoring position so often
this year couldnít stop getting big hits in that inning and it
propelled them to a stress-free 10-3 win. Specifically standing out
in the lineup were Hanley Ramirez, Xander Bogaerts and, of course,
Although that fifth inning
is where the Red Sox did the majority of their damage, they actually got going
early on in the first inning. After a couple of quick outs to lead off the
game, Andrew Benintendi started a two-out rally with a single. After
Hanley Ramirez followed that up with a single of his own (though, for what itís
worth, it would have been a home run if not for that big olí wall out in left
field), Devers came through with an RBI single to put the Red Sox up 1-0 early
on. The Sox would load up the bases after that, but Mitch Moreland left the
bases full of Red Sox with the same 1-0 lead.
In fact, after that Devers
RBI single things were pretty frustrating for the Red Sox offense for a few
innings. Cardinalsí starter, Mike Leake was making quick work of Bostonís
lineup, only allowing a few baserunners and not really allowing anything
resembling a rally. This is the Leake that was around for much of the first half
as he just induces quick, weak contact to roll through lineups.
That changed in the fifth
inning as the Red Sox hitters decided enough was enough. After Jackie Bradley
started the frame with a flyout, the hits just kept coming. Eduardo NuŮez and Mookie
Betts had back-to-back singles and Benintendi was hit by a pitch to load the
bases for Ramirez. Hanley smoked another ball off the Monster ó another one
thatís likely a home run in most parks ó and that scored two runs. With a 3-0
lead and runners on second and third, St. Louis opted to intentionally walk
Devers to load the bases in the ultimate sign of respect for the young slugger.
It backfired. After the intentional walk, Leake and reliever Matt Bowman
combined to allow five consecutive hits (four singles and one double from Sandy
Leon) and in the blink of an eye the Red Sox had a 9-0 lead. It was one of the
most productive innings in recent memory for the team. Theyíd load the bases again in the sixth, though they
werenít able to take as much advantage of this situation. They did get another
run, though, to give them ten on the day.
On the mound, it was a strong effort for Rick
Porcello, though it certainly wasnít perfect all the way through. Still, things
were good early on and he had enough run support that the rough patches were
fine. A few things stood out for the 2016 Cy Young winner in this game. The
first was that, particularly in the early innings, Porcello was locating his
two-seamer with wonderful precision. In the first inning he had a couple of
great strikeouts on two-seamers that crossed back over the plate on his
glove-side at the last second. The strike zone was a bit wide, to be fair, but
Porcello recognized that and took advantage with some borderline calls going in
his direction. The fastball, as always, was his money pitch on Tuesday.
In addition to the location of his fastball,
Porcello also got back to his groundball roots for the evening and induced some
big ones when they were needed. Over the first five innings, he got a total of
seven outs from three ground balls. For those who arenít great at quick math,
that includes a triple play. The Red Sox turned their first triple play since
2011 in the fourth inning of Tuesdayís game. The Cards started the frame with a
couple of quick singles before Yadier Molina hit a ground ball right to Devers.
The rookie stepped on the bag and they simply went around the horn for a
relatively routine triple play. Technically speaking, nothing was difficult
about the play but it was a heads up play by Devers, particularly the fact that
he didnít rush because Molina isnít exactly a burner on the bases.
After Bostonís lineupís big
fifth inning, Porcello ran into the only bit of trouble heíd get into all night.
It wasnít a horrible inning, as he was singled to death and some better defense
could have possibly gotten him out of it earlier, but it wasnít great. Porcello
ended up allowing three singles and a double in a sequence that allowed three
runs to cross the plate. In all, heíd allow just those three runs over seven
strong innings of work with two walks and six strikeouts.
In the bullpen, Joe
Kelly came out for the eighth and did not do too well. The score was lopsided
enough that his performance didnít matter much in this game, but he didnít
inspire confidence for moving forward. While he didnít implode by any measure,
he allowed one run on a couple of hits and also threw a wild pitch. The ninth
belonged to Robby Scott, and the southpaw shut down the Cardinals without
allowing a run.
In the big fifth inning,
Benintendi was hit by a pitch. He remained in the game after being struck above
the knee, but in the sixth he was removed for Chris Young.