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Red Sox rebound, romp behind JBJ's 2 HRs

July 21, 2019

BALTIMORE -- The Red Sox slinked back into the visitors’ clubhouse Friday after what they called their worst loss of the season -- a nine-run defeat at the hands of the last-place Orioles -- changed back into their street clothes and somberly reflected upon the manner in which they dropped

BALTIMORE -- The Red Sox slinked back into the visitors’ clubhouse Friday after what they called their worst loss of the season -- a nine-run defeat at the hands of the last-place Orioles -- changed back into their street clothes and somberly reflected upon the manner in which they dropped to 4-4 out of the All-Star break.

“It seems like every team that comes to play against us, they are playing extra,” shortstop Xander Bogaerts said then. “They really want to beat us and humiliate us. ... It’s a bad moment to have one of these losses. ... They’re not one of the leading teams in any category or one of the top teams.”

It took just 24 hours for that sobering wake-up call to manifest in a change, as the Red Sox scored a season high in runs en route to a 17-6 win over the Orioles on Saturday night.

Box score

“Anytime you take a loss you want to turn around, turn the page and go out there the next night and have a good night,” said Rick Porcello, who took the win despite being tagged for six runs over five innings. “And we were able to do that.”

The Red Sox know that games like Saturday will be imperative if they have any hopes of staying alive in the Wild Card hunt. It’s what made Friday so aggravating. Boston knows what is it capable of -- it leads the Majors in runs scored -- but it’s been the consistency of playing that way that has been a thorn in its side.

“We have the talent to do it so we have to go out there and play like we know how we can,” said Jackie Bradley Jr., who belted a pair of three-run homers Saturday. “We know how crucial these games are.”

“We feel good offensively. We do,” added manager Alex Cora. “We always talk about don’t stop playing regardless of the score, and tonight we did.”

The Red Sox showcased that talent on a humid mid-Atlantic night where the ball simply could not stay in the yard. Boston’s offense combined for 17 hits, five homers, three doubles and a triple. Every batter apart from late-inning replacement Sam Travis reached base in some format -- including Marco Hernandez, who replaced Michael Chavis (back spasms) in the fifth inning -- and six collected multi-hit nights.

Playing relatively close to his hometown of Richmond, Va., and with family and high school friends in attendance, Bradley led the charge with his six RBIs -- one short of his career high. And it was the second time in as many years he launched a pair of long balls close to home.

“It reminds you of playing back in high school ball -- family’s always there, people that grew up with you,” Bradley said. “It’s pretty cool to be able to have a performance like that for them.”

Orioles killer Mookie Betts -- who has been turning it up in the second half -- poured it on with his 15th homer in 46 games at Camden Yards via a two-run shot in the fourth. Betts finished a triple shy of the cycle, and the Red Sox tacked on six more runs in that fourth inning -- capped off by Bradley’s second long ball -- and three more in the fifth.

All of this came only after the Orioles tortured Porcello for five quick runs in the third, continuing for him a string of five consecutive starts in which he’s given up at least four. In that span is included an outing that lasted one-third of an inning and an ERA that has all too quickly inflated from 4.31 to 5.61.

His night can be boiled down to that third inning, and partly due to bad luck at that. Two batters after a Trey Mancini RBI double, Renato Nunez soared a three-run blast 169 feet up into the ether only to land in the first row of the left-field stands. Similarly batted balls have an expected batting average of .110, per Statcast, and the 48-degree launch angle is the highest-hit ball that turned into a home run by an Oriole since Statcast started tracking in 2015.

“It’s been a grind,” Porcello said. “I know I have to be better. I’m more than frustrated inside. I promise you I am doing everything I can physically and mentally to get it right. I just have to keep grinding. Trust me, I want the results more than anybody, they’re just not coming right now.”

Porcello, however, is somehow 3-1 in this five-game span after Saturday’s result. It’s not a sustainable model for him to depend on the offense each outing, but he knows the most important box on his stat line is a “W” or “L” next to the final score.

“We know as a team we can score runs. We know what we are capable of,” Bradley said. “Now it’s all a matter of doing it.”