Both starters were carrying some momentum into this game. Jose Berrios entered the game allowing just two earned runs in his last two starts. His counterpart, Rick Porcello, was coming off of a start in which he retired 18 of his last 20. So, it makes slightly more sense that they only allowed 1 run combined between their 15.0 combined innings.
Berrios Dominates After Rough Beginning
Berrios had a tough first three batters, and that was pretty much all the success the Red Sox offense would experience against the starter. Mookie Betts lined a single to left, then Andrew Benintendi hit a missile of the right field wall. But, the ball was hit so hard that Twins’ right fielder, Marwin Gonzalez, was able to field the ball off the first bounce and throw Benintendi out at second base. Betts still advanced to third and was driven in by the next batter, J.D. Martinez, on a single to left. Then, Berrios decided that he had had enough and ran the “retire-the-next-19-batters” play. After Martinez’s single, he went 7.2 IP, allowing no runs, two hits, walking no one and striking out 10. What really worked for him was his changeup. He did a good job keeping it down and making hitters swing at it because it had the look of a fastball.
Porcello Dominates Without a Rough Beginning
It was a very Rick Porcello start from Porcello, as he was unbelievably efficient. He had just 31 pitches through the first three innings, and just 74 through the first six. He retired 12 of his first 13, and ended up allowing only five baserunners through 7.0 shutout innings. And even with that efficiency, he was still able to find a way to strike out eight batters.
Alex Cora went to the bullpen after Porcello had a shaky 7th inning and 94 total pitches under his belt. He went to Colten Brewer for the 8th, which looked like a bad decision after his first two batters, who singled and walked respectively. Then from a very odd decision, the American League’s leader in batting average, Jorge Polanco, laid down a sacrifice bunt, making it second-and-third with one out. The next batter, Nelson Cruz, hit a soft grounder that could not get past the pitcher. The man on third, Jonathan Schoop, still went on what I’m assuming was a contact play. He found himself in a pickle where he was eventually tagged out. And to completely get out of the jam, Brewer induced a groundout to first, keeping the score 1-0.
In the top of the ninth, the Red Sox scored a pivotal insurance run after two doubles; one being from J.D. Martinez and one being from Xander Bogaerts. Then in the opposite half of the ninth inning, Ryan Brasier had a 1-2-3 inning to get his 7th save of the season.
This win makes it six wins in a row for the Red Sox. It was also a very good sign to see Porcello and the bullpen shut out what is currently the best offense in the MLB.