Batting around: Boston puts up 6-run sixth

August 26th, 2020

The Red Sox had arguably their best victory of the season on Tuesday night. They came back from a four-run first-inning deficit and downed the Blue Jays, 9-7, at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, N.Y. Boston snapped its two-game losing streak and improved its record to 10-20.

“We are playing better ball. … The hitting is certainly better. Even though we started as bad as we did tonight, we did not let it get out of hand,” Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said. “It gave us the bullpen pieces to do well and give the offense a chance.”

After the Red Sox fell behind early, it could have been easy for them to check out. However, after scraping back one run in the top of the second inning and two more in the fourth, the bats really came to life in the sixth against three Blue Jays pitchers. Starter Chase Anderson opened the inning by walking Mitch Moreland. In came right-hander Wilmer Font, who also struggled to get outs. With one out, Jackie Bradley Jr. reached base on an infield single that allowed Moreland to score and trim Toronto's advantage to two runs at 6-4.

After José Peraza was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Alex Verdugo singled to right field, scoring Christian Vázquez. Blue Jays right-hander A.J. Cole entered the game and was also unsuccessful. Rafael Devers came to the plate and cleared the bases with a triple to give the Red Sox a three-run lead. Devers then came home on a sacrifice fly by J.D. Martinez.

“We are feeling a little bit better. We are having some better at-bats,” said Moreland, who went 2-for-3 and walked twice. “We are throwing the ball better [and] I feel we are catching our stride. I don’t know if it’s too late or not, it’s a crazy year. We’re trying to make the most of it.”

Prior to the season, Roenicke pictured his offense being much further ahead than it was before Tuesday’s game, but it is still doing better than most. Entering Wednesday’s action, the Red Sox rank ninth in the Major Leagues in batting average (.255).

“It’s hard to figure out the offense sometimes,” Roenicke said. “Like I said before, this year, offense is down. I’m looking through the league, there are great hitters that aren’t hitting. So for whatever reason, the offense is down. I don’t know why.

“I like our offense. In the last week, we have been doing a good job. Hopefully, we will continue with that and try to figure out the pitching. It’s been up and down, too.”

After their six-run outburst, the Red Sox's bullpen -- Darwinzon Hernandez, Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes -- took over and allowed one run in the final four innings, with Barnes picking up his second save of the season.

“It was really good,” Roenicke said. “Darwinzon coming in, we wanted him to go two innings, maybe three. Brasier is doing a really good job lately. His stuff is better, his command is better. And then we went to Barnes. Good job coming out of the 'pen.”

Said Moreland: “This game was good for us. It was something we were trying to do all year, but haven’t been able to do it. Tonight, we were able to [score runs].”