BOSTON – (Staff report by Terry Lyons) – The Boston Bruins had a “must win” game last night and they came away victorious. The Boston Celtics are sure to have a “must win” game in the next two weeks as they begin their NBA Eastern Conference semifinal series against the top-seeded and NBA best Milwaukee Bucks. Chances are good with Celtics’ renewed chemistry, they’ll come through in that most difficult situation.
“Must win” major league baseball games come along in October, maybe September.
On April 24th of a relatively new MLB season, it’s far too early to proclaim any one spring game in a marathon 162-game season a “must win,” but tonight’s Red Sox game against the Detroit Tigers was a “better damn well win” game.
Starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez and the Sox complied, taking the Tigers down, 11-4, behind six innings of one-run ball tossed by the Boston lefty who allowed two hits and struck-out seven.
Leading 4-1, Boston broke open the game with a seven-run, bat-around 8th inning which came about after the Tigers’ reliever Jose Manuel Fernandez hit a batter (Michael Chavis) then played a large part in Detroit imploding with a series of five base-on-balls, three of them with the bases loaded and three coming from Fernandez’ relief of RHP Drew VerHagen before RHP Buck Farmer finally retired the side after coughing up a two-run single to Jackie Bradley Jr..
For the Red Sox, DH J.D. Martinez went 3-for-5 with an RBI, and Mookie Betts went 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI. All-in-all, Boston scored 11 runs on 12 hits and 10 walks as every member of the Sox starting lineup reached base multiple times.
Boston catcher Christian Vazquez went 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBI. He has 13 RBI in 20 games this season, 11 coming in the last 10 games. Meanwhile, third baseman Rafael Devers went 1-for-4 with a walk and two RBI which were the 100th and 101st of his career. At 22 years and 182 days, Devers joins Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Tony Conigliaro and Jim Rice as the only Red Sox players to reach 100 RBI at such a young age.
Rodriguez (2-2) recorded the win while Tyson Ross (1-3) took the loss.
The Red Sox have won four of their last six, seven of their last 13 and eight of their last 15 after starting the season 2-8.
NOTES: RHP Rick Porcello (0-3, 8.47 ERA) is scheduled to pitch the fourth and final game of this series pn Thursday, going up against Detroit’s Jordan Zimmermann (0-3, 4.94 ERA). … As a reminder, SP Nathan Eovaldi underwent successful elbow arthroscopy surgery to repair loose bodies in his right ‘bow. The surgery was performed by Dr. Christopher Ahmad at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Eovaldi is expected to make a full recovery and the time frame is six weeks. … Both the Boston Bruins (seven-game triumph over Toronto) and the Boston Celtics (sweep over Indiana) extended their playoff hopes and will play in the second round of their respective league post season tournaments. The Red Sox started a championship streak last October (’18) and the NFL’s New England Patriots continued with their Super Bowl win this past February. … Red Sox pitchers have combined to record 10+ strikeouts in nine of their last 13 games. Sox starter Chris Sale had 10 Ks himself in Tuesday’s series opener, a 7-4 Sox loss. Boston’s staff struck-out 14 batters tonight.