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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JUNE 14: Starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox pitches at the top of the second inning of the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on June 14, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo : Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
The Boston Red Sox ended their three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays on a high, eking out a narrow 2-1 win at Fenway Park on Monday. Nathan Eovaldi starred in the series finale for the Red Sox who remained three games behind leaders Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East standings.
Eovaldi delivers much-needed pitching gem
The Boston Red Sox entered Monday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays with their starting pitching in shambles. Boston’s starters had been abysmal of late, going 0-4 with a 12.00 ERA in their last six outings. During this stretch, Red Sox starting pitchers have allowed 10 homers and a .400 opponent batting average.
Fortunately for the Red Sox, the one on the mound for them on Tuesday was Nathan Eovaldi, the last starter who picked up a win on June 4. He once again delivered the goods against the Blue Jays, hurling 6 2/3 innings of scoreless, three-hit ball to lift Boston to a dramatic 2-1 walk-off victory.
Eovaldi was outstanding over the first six innings he pitched, allowing just two baserunners in the top of the fourth inning and nothing more. The only jam that Eovaldi faced in this outing was during the seventh inning when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Teoscar Hernández reached on consecutive singles with nobody out. After a mound visit, the Red Sox right-hander went to his off-speed pitch, getting a huge double-play ball from Randal Grichuk on a slider. Eovaldi exited with Guerrero standing on third base, but reliever Josh Taylor ended the threat after fanning the Jays’ Rowdy Tellez.
Guerrero homers again
A day after both sides combined for 22 runs on 26 hits, it was the pitchers’ turn to dominate in this contest. Toronto rookie Alek Manoah matched Eovaldi in a pitchers’ duel, surrendering one run on four hits and a walk and striking out five over six innings of action. After Guerrero connected with his MLB-leading 22nd home run off closer Matt Barnes with two outs in the ninth, the Red Sox bounced back quickly at their bottom half of the inning. Alex Verdugo, who drove in Boston’s first run, and J.D. Martinez led off with back-to-back singles off Rafael Dolis (1-3). One out later, Rafael Devers delivered with a deep single to center, hitting a line drive off the Green Monster to bring Alex Verdugo home and record the walk-off victory.
The key for the Red Sox in this contest was preventing Toronto from launching long balls. After the Blue Jays exploded for 13 homers in the previous two meetings, they managed just one Monday – Guerrero’s solo blast in the ninth inning. It was a morale-boosting win for the Red Sox who had lost four of the previous six games, with their starters allowing a whopping 31 runs in 25 innings. In Sunday’s defeat to the Blue Jays, the Red Sox allowed season highs of 18 runs, 20 hits and 11 extra-base hits. The Blue Jays hit eight home runs in that contest, a record for a road team at 109-year-old Fenway Park.
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