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Boston's homer barrage secures split in Seattle

Devers, Bradley, Bogaerts go yard to back Rodriguez's strong starting performance
June 17, 2018

SEATTLE -- The drought that started midway through the game Friday night and didn't let up at all on Saturday was erased by an eruption from the Red Sox on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field.After going 17 innings without a run, the Boston bats livened up on Father's

SEATTLE -- The drought that started midway through the game Friday night and didn't let up at all on Saturday was erased by an eruption from the Red Sox on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field.
After going 17 innings without a run, the Boston bats livened up on Father's Day en route to a 9-3 victory that allowed manager Alex Cora's team to salvage a four-game split against the surging Seattle Mariners.
The big blows were homers by Rafael Devers (three-run shot), Xander Bogaerts (two-run blast) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (solo).
Not to be overlooked, however, was a nine-pitch walk by J.D. Martinez that loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the third. Mitch Moreland followed with a two-run single against Mike Leake.

And Devers capped the damage in the inning when he belted one off the scoreboard façade of the second deck in right field. Devers got all of a 1-2 slider from Leake and smoked it at an exit velocity of 105.8 mph and a projected distance of 408 feet to make it 5-0, Red Sox.
"Yeah, it was great," said Cora. "The at-bat by J.D., the walk, that was a good one. Obviously Benny getting on base and a big hit by Mitch not trying to do too much. And Raffy, he crushed that homer and he crushed one to right field."

With a cushion to work with, Eduardo Rodriguez (9-1, 3.59 ERA) took over the team lead in wins with his latest strong performance. This time, the lefty even pitched six innings, a plateau he had been unable to reach in six of his previous seven starts. Rodriguez limited Seattle to six hits, two runs and a walk while striking out nine.
"Eddie did a great job," said Moreland. "We were on him and all celebrating because he hit that six-inning mark, but he threw the ball great just like he has been pretty much the whole season. He pretty much led the way for us. It was a big game and a good win for us."

Rodriguez worked at a good pace throughout, and when Nelson Cruz temporarily interrupted his momentum by belting a solo homer, the lefty struck out the next three batters to end the bottom of the fourth inning.
"You have to go out there and sometimes you give up homers, sometimes you give up base hits, you have to get to the next hitter," said Rodriguez. "That's the mentality I had there. After the homer I was thinking to get the other guys out and that's what happened."
With the win, the Sox improved to 14-3 on getaway days this season. And they had some fun after the game, when every player and member of the team's traveling party wore soccer jerseys representing different countries in honor of the World Cup.
• See the Red Sox players' World Cup allegiances
"It's a sign they like to have a happy flight," said Cora. "It's a lot better to win when you're leaving. They finish series, that's great. Regardless of where we were, Houston, down two games and we came back and won the last two. Here, after the last two games, we bounced back. We're a good team. We know how to play the game and we turn the page very quick and we focus on the next one."

The Red Sox are 49-24, just percentage points behind the Yankees in the American League East, heading into an off-day on Monday.
E-Rod escapes: Clinging to a 5-2 lead with the bases full of Mariners and two outs in the fifth, Rodriguez had to face Cruz, who had homered an inning earlier. Cruz worked a strong, seven-pitch at-bat but Rodriguez made the pitch he needed to, inducing the slugger into a popup on a 93.6 mph fastball.
"With the score where it was, you've got to throw strikes and he did and he executed some pitches in that at-bat," said Cora.
JBJ gets positive result: In particular, the homer that Bradley hit -- just his fourth of the season -- was one that could pay dividends. Over the last 10 days or so, Bradley has ironed out some mechanics and gotten rid of his toe tap. Until Sunday's homer, he hadn't had many results to show for it.

"Just stay with the process, especially Jackie. He's hit some balls hard right at people. Finally, he hit one to straight center that went out. When he hit it, I was like, 'He's going to catch it.' It's gotten to that point. But that was good to see."
One win shy of 50 for the season, the Red Sox can thank their starting pitching for their strong start. That has been particularly true of late, as Boston starters have held the opponent to two earned runs or fewer in 12 of the last 14 games.
"Yeah, I think we're disappointed we didn't win Game 2. We've got to finish them. This is a team you've got to play nine innings and today, we did an outstanding job finishing the game and we got the W. Although that's OK, two out of four, we'll take it, but I think there was one that slipped away." -- Cora, on the split in Seattle
After an off-day on Monday, the Red Sox send ace Chris Sale to the mound for Tuesday night's opener of a three-game series at Target Field against the Twins. Sale has dominated in his last two starts, allowing a total of two runs and striking out 19 on 14 innings. He will face Jose Berrios, with an 8:10 p.m. ET first pitch.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.