Rafael Devers was given a couple of days off earlier the week. The move seemed to pay dividends immediately upon his return.
Dever swatted a three-run homer in the fourth inning as the Red Sox overcame an early three-run deficit to post a 5-4 interleague victory over the Cincinnati Reds. The win improved the Sox to 14-4 in games against National League opponents this season.
The win, coupled with a Yankee loss in Toronto, gave the Red Sox a four-game lead in the American League East with nine games remaining. The Red Sox magic number to clinch the East is now six.
Rick Porcello stumbled in the first, allowing a grand slam to Scooter Gennett. It was Gennett’s fourth grand slam of the season, but it was also the last run scored by the Reds.
The Sox, who scored a run in the first off starter Sal Romano, begin chipping away in the fourth when Christian Vazquez doubled home Mookie Betts. With two on, Devers belted his first homer since Aug. 19, 107 at-bats ago.
David Price took over for Porcello in the fifth and contributed 2.2 innings of scoreless relief. Addison Reed got the next four outs before Craig Kimbrel closed things out in the ninth.
GAME NO.: 153
WHO: Red Sox (88-64) vs Cincinnati Reds (66-87)
WHERE: Great American Ballpark
RADIO: WEEI (93.7 FM)
PITCHERS: RHP Rick Porcello (10-17, 4.46) vs. RHP Sal Romano (5-6, 4.07)
BOX SCORE: MLB Gameday
- The mixture of Rick Porcello, the Reds lineup, and Great American Ballpark looked like it could be combustible, and it didn't take long to play out that way. In the first inning, the Reds loaded the bases and Scooter Gennett hammered a pitch into the right field seats. That was the 36th homer allowed by Porcello, among the major league "leaders.'' Porcello's penchant for giving up home runs is one of worries about him as the post-season draws closer.
- For the Red Sox, it had to be encouraging to see Rafael Devers respond the way he has tonight. The Sox benched Devers Wednesday night in Baltimore after he had committed five errors in the previous five games. The feeling was that Devers was wearing down, having never before played into September. But his offensive numbers had also slipped, and the two days -- out of the lineup Wednesday and off Thursday with the rest of the team with a scheduled day off -- seemed to help at the plate, too. Devers carved a double to left in his first at-bat, then positively hammered a pitch deep into the bleachers in right to bring the Sox from down two runs to up by a run in the fourth.
- It will be fascinating to see how David Price is used tonight. He came into the game relatively early (fifth inning) and with Price's spot in the order coming up in the bottom of the sixth, will John Farrell allow Price to hit and extend his night? He threw 21 pitches six days ago, so he could, conceivably, go another inning. (UPDATE:) Well, there's our answer. Not only is Price going another inning, but he hit for himself and collected a single, his first hit in seven years.
SERIES TO DATE: This is the first game of a weekend interleague series and the first meeting between the two teams since 2014. The series continues Saturday and Sunday, which will also conclude the Red Sox’ interleague schedule for 2017. So far, the Sox are 13-4 against National League opponents this season. Historically, the Sox are 9-1 against the Reds, including 6-0 in the last six.