For all of the Red Sox’ pitching woes this season, their offense has had the ability to cover them up, even if it hasn’t helped them avoid a deep hole in the playoff picture.
Given the state of their rotation, they’ll need more days like Sunday to stand a chance.
Nathan Eovaldi was a mess in his return to the starting rotation, allowing five runs in just two innings, but the offense overcame it. The Red Sox used a six-run sixth inning, and Rafael Devers continued his monster season, going 4-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and four RBI to lead them to a 13-7 victory of the Baltimore Orioles and complete a series sweep at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox (67-59) won their fifth consecutive game and stayed at 6½ games back of the second wild card spot as the Rays walked off against the Tigers. They did it despite Eovaldi, who made his first start since April 17 and was shelled.
The Red Sox trailed 6-0 in the third inning but luckily for them, no deficit is too large to overcome against the lowly Orioles (39-85), who lost their seventh straight.
The Sox slowly chipped away, using a Sam Travis solo shot to center to make it a 6-3 game before their sixth-inning explosion.
J.D. Martinez opened the frame with a double as the Red Sox ultimately batted around. The Orioles used three different pitchers, but it was no use, and the Sox benefitted from a major defensive gaffe that aided the rally.
After Christian Vazquez hit an RBI double to make it 6-4, Mitch Moreland pinch-hit for Sandy Leon with runners on second and third and lofted a harmless pop-up to shallow left field. But the ball dropped in between three Orioles. Travis easily scored, and after the relay throw landed at the backstop, Vazquez came around to tie it.
Three batters later, Devers continued his recent hot streak. After slamming a double earlier off the left-field wall earlier in the game, the third baseman swung at five consecutive sliders — three of which went foul — from Paul Fry before crushing his 47th double of the season to left for the go-ahead run.
The Red Sox hit home 10 times in the sixth and seventh as they ultimately won in a run away. Devers finished his huge day with a two-run homer on a mammoth shot to right in the seventh for his 27th blast of the season. The 22-year-old now has an MLB-leading 101 RBI this season.
His performance masked an underwhelming start for Eovaldi, who was all over the place. His outing began with a leadoff double from Jonathan Villar, a wild pitch and a walk before a 3-2 hanging curveball to Renato Nunez ended up clearing the Green Monster for a three-run homer.
Cora was hoping to get 55-60 pitches from Eovaldi, but he didn’t really get close. He threw another wild pitch and issued two more walks in the second before giving up a two-out, two-run single to Trey Mancini to put the Red Sox behind 5-0.
Almost nothing went right for Eovaldi, who ended up throwing 43 pitches and just 23 for strikes. But after Darwinzon Hernandez gave up a run in the third, the bullpen pitched five scoreless innings, allowing Devers and the offense to heat up for 13 unanswered runs.