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With different 'vibe' in dugout, Sox mash 5 HRs

Price (6 runs) manages just 4 outs, but 'pen stymies Rangers
@IanMBrowne
June 14, 2019

BOSTON -- To have a happy late-night flight to Baltimore (well, departure time actually turned to early morning), the Red Sox needed to have a launch party at Fenway Park. They also needed to have a lockdown performance from the bullpen in the aftermath of David Price turning in one

BOSTON -- To have a happy late-night flight to Baltimore (well, departure time actually turned to early morning), the Red Sox needed to have a launch party at Fenway Park.

They also needed to have a lockdown performance from the bullpen in the aftermath of David Price turning in one of the shortest outings (1 1/3 innings) of his career.

It added up to a 7-6 victory that goes down as one of the most satisfying of the season for the 36-34 Red Sox when you consider they came back from an early 6-1 deficit. And when you consider that Boston started this homestand at 1-5, finishing it at 3-5 wasn't so bad.

Box score

The fact that it took four hours and six minutes didn't bother anyone. The Red Sox, who are now 6 1/2 games back in the American League East, needed this one badly.

"We went to some guys that did different roles today in the [bullpen]," said manager Alex Cora. "They did an outstanding job, kept the game in check. The offense, it was fun today hitting the ball out of the ballpark, putting [together] good at-bats. We found a way to win today instead of finding a way to lose."

First, about that launch party. The Sox belted a season-high five homers from five different players.

J.D. Martinez struck first with a solo dinger in the bottom of the first. It might not have seemed big at the time, slicing the deficit to 4-1, but it was a momentum-starter.

"We answered back pretty quick," said Price. "J.D. hit the solo home run in the bottom of the first and we had back-to-back singles in that second inning and Jackie [Bradley Jr.] with that big, three-run homer."

Yes, Bradley's three-run homer to center was probably the biggest of the quintet, in that it sliced the deficit to a mere two runs.

"I think it felt different when Jackie hit it out, you know?," said Xander Bogaerts. "I think we were down 6-1? I don't remember exactly, but at that point, it's like, it's hard [to come back]. Jackie hit that home run and we kind of got going. I think at that point we were feeling good about ourselves."

The solo homer by Michael Chavis in the fourth was a bit contorting to watch, as it looked like it was going to go foul but somehow stayed fair. The rookie also was down on one knee when he swung, going deep after a homer drought of 72 at-bats.

Rafael Devers provided the equalizer, a towering homer to center that went a projected distance of 443 feet in the fifth.

"And Chavis, Devers put up homers, and the game kept getting closer and closer and it kind of felt like we were gonna win it," said Bogaerts.

Just to make sure they did, Bogaerts roped a no-doubter that soared into the Monster Seats with two outs in the seventh to at last give the Red Sox their first lead.

"I told Devers once he hit that home run, I feel like I'm due for one and I might come up clutch later in the game, and I said it and I did it," Bogaerts said. "It's not like I was looking for a home run that specific at-bat, but it worked out perfectly and you probably think I'm a magician now."

Magician or not, that type of swagger Bogaerts expressed in mid-game is what has been missing from the Red Sox this season.

"Honestly, today, we felt good from the get-go regardless of the score," said Cora. "Obviously we wanted David to go deep and pitch well, but we never felt that we were out of the game. J.D. put a good at-bat and then Jackie did what he did. But honestly, today was a different vibe in the dugout, which was good."

The different vibe might have been nothing more than the sweet sounds of the Red Sox barreling the baseball with the type of authority that had been lacking in recent days.

"It's always offense," said Cora. "I feel like guys are finding their stride. They're finding their swing. It's hard to create energy when you're not swinging the bat well. Right away J.D. goes deep. Jackie goes deep. Raffy goes deep and that's how you get energy. It's offense. I felt they were putting on good at-bats, good swings from the get-go."

As impressive as the offense was, the win wouldn't have been possible without the work by six relievers to get the final 23 outs. To end it, Cora turned to an unlikely closer in Josh A. Smith, who recorded his first career save. This, on a night Heath Hembree was unavailable due to right forearm tightness he felt while warming up in the seventh.

"That's our new closer," quipped Cora.

Smith, who has been riding the Pawtucket shuttle this season, has mainly been a swingman in his career. He was happy to try something different on a night his team needed it.

"That was a lot of fun," Smith said. "First save. That's as much as you can really say about it. It's a big win for us. Hopefully we can carry some momentum."

Price, who has been a rock this season, was elated his team picked him up on a night he simply didn't have it.

"Gave up more runs than outs I got," Price said. "Bullpen came in, did an unbelievable job getting the last 23 outs of that ballgame and kept them right where they were. Offense bailed me out and helped us win that game, and that's the type of game we can rally around and get stuff going."

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