The Red Sox have taken the rest of baseball by storm with a strong April, and they closed their opening month on Friday the best way they know how.
With their bats.
After what’s been an uncharacteristically cold week for the Red Sox at the plate, the offense finally woke from its slumber with four home runs on their way to a 6-1 victory over the Texas Rangers. J.D. Martinez, who wasn’t originally supposed to play, led the way with two homers, including a three-run shot in the first inning as the Red Sox ended April on a loud note at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
With the victory, the Red Sox finished April with a surprising 17-10 record, which was at least a tie for the most wins in baseball. Results were still pending for the Athletics, Dodgers and Giants, who all had 16 wins going into the night.
The takeaways from Friday’s win:
An opening surge: The Red Sox, who had scored just 11 runs in their previous five games, wasted no time getting things back in order. Christian Arroyo and Alex Verdugo each opened the game with walks off Rangers starter Kohei Arihara, who looked clearly rattled.
That brought up Martinez, who left Thursday night’s game with migraine-like symptoms and was expected to sit out on Friday. But he was good enough to play and he showed that right away, blasting the first pitch he saw to left-center for a three-run homer and a quick Red Sox lead.
Xander Bogaerts then made it back-to-back with a jack to center, his fourth of the year, and the Red Sox never looked back.
In the third, the Red Sox continued their Home Run Derby of sorts. Martinez opened the inning with his second blast of the night, a 440-foot shot for his MLB-leading ninth of the season to make it 5-1. He became the fourth Red Sox player to hit as many as nine homers before May, joining David Ortiz (10 in 2006), Hanley Ramirez (10 in 2015) and Manny Ramirez (9 in 2001).
Two batters later, Rafael Devers joined the party with a solo blast of his own. Red Sox manager Alex Cora said before the game that his third baseman had the most impressive batting practice he’s ever seen from him before Thursday’s game, and it showed as he continued to produce hard contact on Friday, including his blast to left-center, his seventh of the year, which made it 6-1.
The offensive performance was certainly a welcome sign for the Red Sox, who are now 14-0 this season when scoring at least four runs.
Eovaldi hits a milestone: The six runs were more than enough for Nathan Eovaldi, who bounced back from his worst outing of the season to earn his fourth win. He pitched six strong innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out five.
With his first out in the sixth, Eovaldi hit 1,000 career innings pitched. He also continued a run of not allowing a homer for 47 2/3 innings, which is the longest active streak in the majors.