Well, this was certainly one way to start the first series in which the Red Sox host the Yankees this year at Fenway Park. Boston is in a crucial stretch of this season, as we all know, and they need every win they can get. On Thursday. they wasted zero time in jumping out to a big lead. Boston scored seven runs off Masahiro Tanaka in the first and didn’t let up after that. This was a simple and massive blowout win. It all counts as one victory, but it felt like a big sigh of relief against a Yankees team that has dominated them this year.
Coming into this game, it felt like there was a really good chance we were going to witness a slugfest at Fenway Park. Both pitchers — Rick Porcello for the Sox and Masahiro Tanaka for the Yanks — have shown some real weaknesses of late, with the former in particular struggling mightily. Plus, these two matched up less than a month before this and the two teams combined for 12 runs in the first inning alone. We got exactly what we expected, with a whole lot of runs being scored in the series opener. Even better: The majority of those runs were produced by the Red Sox offense.
It was really Boston’s lineup that was the story of this game, as they were all over Tanaka from the very beginning and never really let up. After Rick Porcello started the game off with a 1-2-3 top half of the first, the Red Sox hitters took over. Mookie Betts started the game with a solid base hit before Rafael Devers drew a walk to put two on with nobody out. That brought Xander Bogaerts to the plate, and he’d absolutely demolish a fastball over everything in left field for a 451-foot homer. That was the longest homer of his career (or rather since 2015 when Statcast started measuring this) and it gave the Red Sox a 3-0 lead three batters into the bottom of the first.
They wouldn’t stop there, either. After the first out of the inning was recorded, Andrew Benintendi, Brock Holt and Mitch Moreland hit back-to-back-to-back singles to load the bases with one out, giving the Red Sox a real chance to break this thing open very early. Christian Vázuqez popped out, which threatened to squander the opportunity, but then Jackie Bradley Jr. ripped a double to put two more runs on the board. Eventually, after another hit from Betts, the Red Sox jumped out to a 7-0 lead after just one inning.
Boston went down in order in the second and stranded a pair in scoring position in the third. They also lost Brock Holt in that third inning when he was ejected after arguing balls and strikes. In the fourth, though, they got right back to it with Tanaka still in the game, clearly having to wear this one as the Yankees looked for rest for their bullpen. Instead, Boston kept beating him up.
It started right away with Devers, who took the first pitch he saw and hit an absolute laser into the Monster Seats for a solo homer. Eventually, they’d get three straight doubles later in the inning to tack on four more runs for a total of five in the inning. Tanaka was out of the game at that point, but the Red Sox would just come out and get three more in the fifth to give them a whopping 15 runs total.
So, Porcello had a massive lead with which to work and all he had to do was not implode. He did his best to scare Red Sox fans everywhere in the second inning, though. At that point it was still 7-0, clearly a blowout but not totally out of reach. He had major problems with efficiency here, struggling mightily to put batters away. After getting a strikeout on what was a gift strike three call, he gave up a double and two singles to get the Yankees to within six. He’d give up another single to load the bases before getting a strikeout, though that one took eight pitches. Porcello then faced a nine-pitch at bat against DJ LeMahieu that ended with an RBI single. That was all the Yankees would get there, as Aaron Judge flew out to deep center field to end the inning. Still, it took 47 pitches for Porcello to get through that inning, and Colten Brewer even had to get up to warm at one point.
The righty settled down in a big way after that, though. The Yankees did get one more run off him on a solo shot from catcher Kyle Higashioka, but other than that it was mostly clean for Porcello. In all, he ended up still getting through six innings despite the marathon second. In those six frames he allowed the three runs on six hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
After Porcello left the game, Darwinzon Hernandez got the first call out of the bullpen. The rookie southpaw had a hell of a frame, setting down the side in order with a couple of strikeouts.
Brewer, who as mentioned above warmed up earlier in this game, had the eighth. He had a 1-2-3 inning of his own.
After the Red Sox added three more against catcher Austin Romine in the eighth, Nathan Eovaldi came on for the ninth. He allowed a single but nothing more in a scoreless inning of work to finish off the rout.
The Red Sox will look to keep the momentum from this game going into Friday night for the second game of this series. In that one they’ll have Andrew Cashner on the mound to take on James Paxton. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.