Red Sox come away with Father's Day win, but it wasn't pretty

Amin Touri
June 16, 2019 - 6:54 pm
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They needed a 10th inning to do so on Sunday afternoon, but the Red Sox bats stayed hot to complete a weekend sweep of the Baltimore Orioles, bailing out the bullpen in an 8-6 win.

The Boston lineup exploded for five runs in top of the 10th inning to total eight for the day and 28 for the three-game series. The 14 hits were spread around nicely, with eight Red Sox earning hits and all nine reaching base.

In 13-2 and 7-2 wins on Friday and Saturday the offensive output weren’t all that necessary, but with the bullpen remaining inconsistent, it was needed on Sunday. The Boston relievers combined to pitch seven innings, giving up five runs and seven hits in the process.

Inheriting a 2-1 lead in the seventh, Marcus Walden picked up his second blown save of the season when he gave up a run in the eighth, before Travis Lakins gave up another in the same inning to complete another bullpen collapse.

The Sox bats bailed them out as Marco Hernandez tied things up with a solo shot in the top of the ninth. Boston suddenly found its groove in extras, with five runs in the 10th to turn a 3-3 game into what looked like a blowout at 8-3.

Mookie Betts finished the day 3-for-5, Christian Vazquez was 2-for-6, Xander Bogaerts was 2-for-3 with a couple of walks, Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers were both 2-for-5 — aside from a quiet day from J.D. Martinez, it was an all-around hot day at the plate.

Sunday was just a continuation of what was a confidence-building trip to Baltimore for the Boston bats, as the group put up 13 runs — including a season-high six homers — in Friday’s blowout, before tacking on seven more runs and 12 more hits on Saturday.

The Red Sox finished the weekend 42-for-122, a scorching .344 team batting average and well above the .261 clip the team had been hitting at for the season.

Of course, the flip side is the bullpen — once Boston had hung five runs on the board to take a commanding lead in the 10th, things remained nervy, as no lead seems quite safe. Josh Smith, three days removed from his first career save in a 7-6 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday, was shaky in shutting things down on Sunday, giving up three runs on two homers in the bottom of the 10th.

After Stevie Wilkinson and Trey Mancini went deep to cut the lead to 8-6, Smith managed to get the job done, but even a five-run lead in the 10th inning didn’t seem fully safe.

There’s plenty of reason for optimism for the Red Sox as they head to Minnesota on Monday, with one of their best offensive series of the season in the rearview mirror, and a sweep is a sweep. But the team’s number one concern — the bullpen — reared its ugly head again.

It was another shaky performance, and on Sunday, the hot bats were there to save the bullpen — some nights, they won’t be.

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