It wasn’t pretty, but a potent Red Sox offense was up to the task of bailing out a shaky Rick Porcello. Backed by multiple hits from Dustin Pedroia and Rusney Castillo and a two-run triple courtesy of Hanley Ramirez, the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-4 on Saturday afternoon.
Rick Porcello wasn’t that good, but he was markedly better than either Clay Buchholz or Joe Kelly.
Porcello pitched six innings, and allowed four earned runs. All four runs scored on a pair of no-doubt-about-it two-run home runs off the bat of Jose Bautista. All told he gave up seven hits, walked one and racked up seven strikeouts, 69 of his 105 pitches were strikes.
To the Red Sox credit, the offense just kept on producing. No Brock Holt grand slam, no David Ortiz in the lineup, no problem.
Dustin Pedroia had three hits including an RBI double. Rusney Castillo was given his first start of the season and responded with a nice 2-for-4 effort. Mookie Betts was hitless in his first three at-bats, which meant that he had not had a hit for 15 consecutive at-bats, but that streak was snapped with a single in the top of the sixth.
Xander Bogaerts was 1-for-4 with an RBI ground rule double and a walk. The only member of the Red Sox who was hitless was third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
Sandoval did not make the most of his first start of the season. He was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and made a throwing error which did not lead to any runs being scored. Along the way Sandoval also managed to swing through a fastball and break his belt, an unfortunate incident which led to a flurry of belt related twitter jokes.
Ramirez’s two-run triple was aided in large part by a bad hop that went over the head of Jays right fielder Jose Bautista.
Porcello didn’t go exceedingly deep into the game, but he did get through six innings, considerably more innings than either Joe Kelly or Clay Buchholz who combined pitched only seven frames.
Then there’s bullpen, yea they’ve been overworked, but it cant be overlooked that in two games against the Blue Jays, the Red Sox bullpen has thrown nine scoreless innings. Saturday it was one scoreless frame from Koji Uehara followed by two perfect innings from Robbie Ross Jr.
The Red Sox are now 3-1 and assured of taking the field above .500 for their home opener Monday afternoon.
They’ll look to finish off a sweep of the Blue Jays Sunday afternoon at 1:07 pm ET. Knuckleballer Steven Wright will make his first start of the season for the Red Sox. The Blue Jays will activate Marco Estrada from the disabled list, and then send him to the mound for his season debut.