Shortstop Xander Bogaerts was an RBI machine in the Red Sox 4-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park.
Bogaerts drove in the only run Boston starter David Price would need with a sacrifice fly with no outs in the fourth. Bogaerts put the game away when he scored Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez with a two-run blast to the unoccupied section of the centerfield bleachers.
“I know its been hard scoring a lot of runs and I’m not saying I was going up there to hit a homer,” said Bogaerts. “That was definitely not what I was doing but in this game is you miss some pitches you have to hunt them and not miss them.”
The story behind Bogaerts second home run of the season was a tale of two sliders. Orioles reliever Josh Lucas befuddle Bogaerts with a down and away slider on his first swing. But when Lucas left his second slider up in the strike zone, Bogaerts took him to task.
“It’s about going up there with a plan and sticking to your plan,” said Bogaerts. “I was looking off speed the whole at bat and after he threw that first slider I was thinking “I’m going to be a strikeout.”
“His first slider was nasty down and away and it was “wow, that’s pretty tough.” The last one he left in the middle and I was happy that I didn’t foul it off.”
Bogaerts has reached base in 13 of 15 games and is battings .308 with a team high .413 OBP and a .519 slugging percentage.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora scratched centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who had come down with the flu. Cora had originally planned to give Andrew Benintendi the day off and use J.D. Martinez in left, Mookie Betts in right and Bradley at center.
Benintendi went back to left with Betts at center and Martinez in right. Benintendi fouled a ball off his right foot in the third but remained in the game to finish his at bat. Upon returning to the batter’s box, Benintendi smacked an opposite field double down the left field line. He was replaced in left field by Blake Swihart in the fourth.
“He’s day to day and sore, that was a good shot,” said Cora. “We’ll see how he feels but the x-rays were negative but we’ll stay away from him (on Monday). “
From DL to DH
Red Sox manager Alex Cora placed Dustin Pedroia at the DH and started Eduardo Nunez at second. Cora’s decision to DH Pedroia (knee), who had come off the DL for the home opener on Tuesday, was purely cautionary.
“We have got to be careful,” said Cora. “He is just like any other player and he understands we have to be careful with him and at the same time they have a lefty of the mound and we can take advantage of that.”
Pedroia went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and reached on a fielder’s choice. Pedroia is currently batting .133 but feels confident in his swing and believes the he will return to form.
“I feel good but I’m still grinding it a little bit at the plate,” said Pedroia. “It will come back to me and the hits are coming, the hits will be there.”