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J.D. homers twice in offensive outburst vs. O's

June 15, 2019

BALTIMORE -- The phrase “total team win” is a cliché oft-used by players to shed acknowledgement for an impressive individual performance, thereby building camaraderie and limiting any potential danger of look-at-me personalities in a clubhouse. It’s a phrase used all too frequently, but there’s nothing cliché about the Red Sox

BALTIMORE -- The phrase “total team win” is a cliché oft-used by players to shed acknowledgement for an impressive individual performance, thereby building camaraderie and limiting any potential danger of look-at-me personalities in a clubhouse.

It’s a phrase used all too frequently, but there’s nothing cliché about the Red Sox using it after Friday night’s 13-2 barrage of the Orioles.

"That's what good ballclubs do -- they are able to put things together as a team and everyone is pulling in the same direction, and that equates to wins," said Jackie Bradley Jr., who went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, a double and a walk in the matchup.

Box score

Outside of falling behind in the first, Boston could do no wrong in every aspect of play. When the lineup wasn’t mashing home runs -- which it did, six times -- it was making spectacular defensive plays and backing Eduardo Rodriguez’s bid for a stellar outing -- which he achieved via seven innings of one-run ball.

In every sense of the phrase, a total team win.

The Red Sox entered Friday lauding a “different vibe” in the clubhouse, as manager Alex Cora put it, following the five-home run win against the Rangers on Thursday. With six more long balls Friday -- including two from J.D. Martinez -- Boston put together consecutive five-plus home run efforts for the first time since July of 2002.

“I lost count after the third one,” Rodriguez said.

“Finally, for us, we are getting good weather,” Cora said of the balls carrying out of the park.

Martinez’s pair of blasts came after he drew a pair of walks. Patience and plate discipline from guys like Martinez not only helps set up Boston for success on a nightly basis, but it gives Cora the indication that things are coming around for the squad.

“It’s showing that guys are getting close to who they are,” he said.

The offense alone would have been cause for celebration, but the pitching was just as sharp. Rodriguez knew he needed to provide a long outing after the bullpen pitched 7 2/3 innings on Thursday, and he delivered. After a mistake to Trey Mancini in the bottom of the first, the lefty rebounded to throw 114 pitches across 6 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball.

“He knew it coming into the game, it was huge for us,” Cora said. “It kind of reset our bullpen, but not there yet.”

The defense behind Rodriguez can be boiled down to three plays.

The first came thanks to the quickness of Rafael Devers. On a Chris Davis bloop to left, the third baseman covered 111 feet with a sprint speed of 28.0 feet per second -- faster than both the MLB average and his season average -- to snag an over-the-shoulder basket catch to end the fourth.

“He reminded me of Adrian [Beltre],” Cora said. “[Devers has] become a beast at third base, the plays that he’s making, the confidence -- we are very proud of him.”

“Seeing Adrian Beltre do that -- because he was my favorite player growing up -- it was pretty cool to do something like that,” Devers said through interpreter Bryan Loor-Almonte.

The second and third defensive highlights came within a few pitches of each other.

In the sixth, Orioles catcher Pedro Severino sent a Rodriguez fastball 392 feet to dead center, but Bradley was able to catch up with the ball and deflect it just enough to keep it in the yard. It came barely a month after he did something similar a few dozen feet to left-center with an extra-inning highlight-reel robbery of Mancini on May 8.

Five pitches later, after Severino settled for a double and Mancini awaited on third, Martinez collected a lineout and fired back a 90.8 mph pinpoint throw to catcher Christian Vazquez, who cut Mancini down at the plate.

“As a pitcher you know when the ball is gone and I went like, ‘That’s a homer right there,’” Rodriguez said. “I thought I was giving up three runs that inning, and it turned into no runs. I love it when they play defense like that.”

And what’s more, all of this was done Friday without reigning MVP Mookie Betts, who was given the night off to rest and reset amid Boston’s current stretch of 33 games in 34 days.