After Friday’s blowout win over the Mariners it was logical to assume the Red Sox wouldn’t been so lucky facing Seattle’s ace, Felix Hernandez.
But Hernandez wasn’t himself and the Red Sox capitalized early and often, knocking King Felix from the game after just 2.1 innings. Boston’s offense was explosive all afternoon long, piling up hit after hit and run after run.
When it was over, the Sox had scored 22 runs on 26 hits, marking the first back-to-back games of 15+ runs in over 17 years. Those games, back on July 2-3, 1998, came against the White Sox and the now defunct Montreal Expos. You have to go back to June 17-18, 1953 to find back-to-back Red Sox games with 15+ runs against the same opponent. Those wins came against the Tigers.
It was the most runs allowed by the Mariners since the club came into existence in 1977. The 2008 Rangers were the last club to allow 15+ runs in back-to-back games on September 17 (facing the Tigers) and September 19 (facing the Angels).
Saturday’s run production was Boston’s greatest since a 25-8 win over the Marlins on June 27, 2003. It was the Sox most hits in a game since belting 27 against the Yankees on May 28, 2005.
At times it seemed as though the hits wouldn’t stop coming with the Sox batting around in the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th innings, a feat they haven’t achieved three times in a game since May 20, 1986 against the Twins. It marked the first time Boston has batted around in back-to-back games this season.
Efficient Wade Miley worked quickly through 7.0 full innings allowing just 2 earned runs and 4 hits. He walked 3 but struck out 8. Commenting after the game Miley said he didn’t mind waiting in the dugout during the sometimes lengthy Red Sox hit parade. With the way the Sox bats have come to life, Miley’s main focus was on getting his team back to the plate. “You want to keep them on the field,” Miley said. “They make the third out, you want to get them back in there as fast as possible.”
When Miley left the game it was 19-2, a comfortable margin, to say the least. But also a margin the bullpen would need as Tommy Layne, once so reliable, struggled and newcomer Ryan Cook all but immediately handed Seattle 5 quick runs. With one down in the 9th and now eight Mariners runs scored, Interim Manager Torey Lovullo had seen enough and was forced to go to Robbie Ross, Jr. to finally shut things down.
It’s understandable for fans to wonder whether Jackie Bradley has found his bat for good this time. There’s no denying his outstanding defense, but suddenly his offense is matching that excellence.
Bradley homered in the 2nd inning, doubled in the 3rd, struck out in the 4th, and doubled again in the 6th. But when he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and no one out in the 7th, it’s fair to say fans had visions of one run scoring in a likely double play. That’s how it has gone for Bradley so many times. But not this time. Instead, he doubled for a third time to drive in two more runs giving the Sox a 17-2 lead. He’d plate two more runs with a second home run in the 8th inning. It was the first multi-HR game of his career.
In all, Bradley set a single-game franchise record with five extra-base hits, becoming one of just two players in major league history with 5 XBH in a game at age 25 or younger. The other is Larry Twitchell, who had a home run, a double, and 3 triples exactly 126 years ago on August 15, 1889 at age 25 years, 178 days old. The last major leaguer of any age with 5 extra-base hits in a game was the estimable Josh Hamilton on May 8, 2012 with the Rangers.
After the game Interim Manager Lovullo praised Bradley saying, “We’re all so proud of Jackie for what he’s been doing over the past several games. He’s been grinding, as we all know, and he has completely turned himself around, and he deserves all the credit.”
Xander Bogaerts and Blake Swihart both had a 4-hit day. With Bradley it was the first 9-inning game with three or more Red Sox collecting four or more hits since September 20, 2005 when David Ortiz, Manny Ramírez, Trot Nixon, and Jason Varitek each had 4 hits facing the Rays. Bogaerts now has six 4-hit games this season, the most of any player in baseball and the most in a single season by a Red Sox player age 22 or younger since at least 1914.
Ortiz Rolls On
With each game, more records fall for David Ortiz, who continues to scorch the baseball. Ortiz was 3-for-3 Saturday with a double and 3 more RBI.
The double was Ortiz’ 1,078th career extra-base hit, tying him with Cal Ripkin for 22nd place on MLB’s All-Time XBH list. Ortiz will need 11 more to tie Jim Thome at #21, next.
The 3 RBIs give Ortiz 72 on the season marking his 12th season with 70+ RBI, which ties him with Jim Rice for 4th most in club history. Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski have the most seasons of 70+ RBI in Red Sox club history (16 each). Bobby Doerr had 13 such seasons.
Saturday’s win assured the Red Sox a victory in the season series against the Mariners. The Sox lost season series to Mariners 1-5 in 2014 but have won the season set in 5 of the last 10 seasons.
On Sunday the Red Sox will go for their first sweep of the Mariners at Fenway since July 30-August 1, 2013.