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Pomeranz holds tight, but Boston bats quiet

August 31, 2018

CHICAGO -- Friday night started much like Thursday for the Red Sox. Nathan Eovaldi, as Rick Porcello had done the night before, struggled in the first inning against the White Sox, allowing three runs -- including a two-run homer -- in the first inning.Eovaldi's start differed in its length, however,

CHICAGO -- Friday night started much like Thursday for the Red Sox. Nathan Eovaldi, as Rick Porcello had done the night before, struggled in the first inning against the White Sox, allowing three runs -- including a two-run homer -- in the first inning.
Eovaldi's start differed in its length, however, thanks to a rain delay of 2 hours, 9 minutes in the bottom of the third inning. Once the tarp finally came off the field, Thomas Pomeranz came on and threw his longest scoreless outing of the season. That kept Boston within reach during its 6-1 loss to the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field despite a rare night of offensive struggles.
"Velocity's a little bit up, although tonight [Pomeranz] was 91, 90, the other day he was 93," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "Seems like the breaking ball has more power to it. Very aggressive, and able to throw up in the zone, down in the zone, seems like his fastball has a little bit more finish."
Early in the season, Pomeranz struggled to put things together as a starter, owning a 6.81 ERA through his first eight starts. After left biceps tendinitis sidelined him for about two months, he returned to the rotation and continued to scuffle at the end of July.
Pomeranz was ultimately moved to the bullpen when Chris Sale came off the DL earlier in August. He has yielded five runs in 15 1/3 innings over eight outings, though six of his appearances have been scoreless, including Friday.
Even more encouraging, Pomeranz did not walk a batter in his four innings. Friday was just his second outing during which he has not walked a batter, following a scoreless, 1-2-3 inning against the Indians on Aug. 20.
"He said that in Tampa [Bay], in his last one in Tampa, he found something that kind of clicked, and if that's the case, the timing is perfect," Cora said. "What we saw, they hit a few balls hard in the gap, and the throw by Mookie [Betts] and the throw by Ian [Kinsler], but it looked like he was in control.
"He made some good pitches. That fastball to [Yolmer] Sanchez down and in, that was a good one. He's looking better, a lot better."
Pomeranz has an 2.98 ERA in eight relief appearances.
Andrew Benintendi provided the only Red Sox offense, taking reliever Juan Minaya deep for his 16th home run in the eighth inning.

Since Eovaldi pitched only two innings, Cora said he would likely start next Monday in Atlanta, filling in David Price's usual spot. Price has been dealing with a sore left wrist after getting hit with a comebacker Wednesday.
"I felt really good today. Unfortunately I hit that first batter, and then felt like I made a good pitch to [Avisail] Garcia, but he was able to skip down the line," Eovaldi said. "I didn't throw very many pitches, so I think in three days I'll be fine. Just treat tomorrow as Day 1 and then I'll be ready to go Monday."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Arms and hammers: The Red Sox outfield showed off its arms Friday night, cutting down two runners on the basepaths in the middle innings. In the fifth inning, Mookie Betts threw out Matt Davidson trying to stretch a single into a double to strand Yoan Moncada at third.

In the sixth inning, on Yolmer Sanchez's double, Jackie Bradley Jr. threw a perfect relay to Kinsler, who cut down Kevan Smith by several strides at the plate.

HEATED 8TH LEADS TO EJECTIONS
The Red Sox showed frustration with home plate umpire Will Little's strike zone Friday. In the eighth inning, those frustrations boiled over.
Xander Bogaerts struck out looking to end the top of the eighth and was tossed after throwing his bat. In the bottom half of the inning, Porcello was ejected while arguing from the dugout.

Bogaerts said it was his first ejection at any level of baseball and that he was surprised Little tossed him.
"If I would have had something bad to say to him, I would have said it after I threw my bat," Bogaerts said. "I didn't, and I think he was probably frustrated because he had a long night also. I did not deserve it, though.
"I know we're down 6-1, but I get on base and who knows what could happen, especially after last night."

In the fourth inning, Ian Kinsler struck out looking and argued the call but was not thrown out.

Cora declined to elaborate on Porcello's ejection, but said with a smile, "he deserved that one."
HE SAID IT
"When he was warming up, we had the feeling that [Guaranteed Rate Field] was hyped up. He bounced a few sliders and the fastball was all over the plate, and then he hit Mookie, but give him credit, he reacted to that play. It was a bad decision, Mookie knows it, but for that kid to be the way he was in recognizing it, he was in control on that play. And then after that, he was able to breathe. Good stuff, good fastball." -- Cora, on White Sox starter Michael Kopech, whom the Red Sox traded in 2016 to acquire Chris Sale
UP NEXT
On Saturday, the Red Sox will continue their four-game series against the White Sox at 7:10 p.m. ET and send Eduardo Rodriguez (11-3, 3.44 ERA) to the mound. Rodriguez is coming off the disabled list from a right ankle sprain that has sidelined him since July 15. He has thrown 19 consecutive scoreless innings prior to his injury. Carlos Rodon (6-3, 2.70) is slated to start for Chicago.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.