The game was scoreless through the first five innings until the Red Sox got on the board in the top of the sixth inning when Bobby Dalbec ripped an RBI double off Angels’ reliever Jimmy Herget to score Alex Verdugo.
“I was trying to stay inside of something,” Dalbec said afterward. “In the at-bat before I kind of pulled off on the heater up. So, I was just trying to stay inside of something, and whatever happens, happens.”
It proved to be all the run production the Sox needed to improve to a season-high three games above .500 (30-27).
Herget struck out Xander Bogaerts and Trevor Story to begin the sixth. But Verdugo negotiated a two-out walk, and scored all the way from first on Dalbec’s double down the right field line that hugged the right field wall. Verdugo’s run scored marked the second time he would score from first to decide a game this week. The first instance came Monday when he scored on a Christian Vázquez line drive to left-center. The Sox also won that game 1-0.
“It’s about your secondary leads,” Verdugo said, “and being in a good position to run. And as I’m running, it’s just taking nothing for granted, trying to be direct and cut my routes as best I can.”
The Sox gave Rafael Devers a breather for Wednesday’s game. Dalbec played third base, and Vázquez was at first for just the eighth time of his career and the first time this season. Devers is hitting .342/.374/.603 with a team-leading 12 home runs, and his lack of presence in the Sox lineup certainly showed up early on.
The Sox didn’t have many answers for lefthanded starter Reid Detmers, who, despite tossing just 4⅓ innings, allowed just three hits and no runs.
The Sox chased Detmers in the fifth inning, though. Kevin Plawecki was hit by a pitch. Then, Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded into a force out. Christian Arroyo doubled to left field, putting runners on second and third with just one out.
Angels interim manager Phil Nevin went to his bullpen, summoning Archie Bradley, who induced a Vázquez fielder’s choice and struck out J.D. Martinez to end the threat.
On the other side, Nate Eovaldi put together another solid showing for the Red Sox, working five scoreless innings and yielding six hits while striking out five.
The Sox rotation held a 1.03 ERA over their last seven starts heading into Wednesday, holding opponents to a .170 batting average.
Nevertheless, Eovaldi’s velocity was down on his four-seam fastball due to a tight hip, something he initially felt Tuesday.
“I just felt like I couldn’t really load up into my backside, where I usually get all my power,” Eovaldi said after Wednesday’s start. “I feel like I get my power from my legs. And it just felt tight when I tried to load up into it. I wanted to stay in the game. I felt good.”
Eovaldi typically averages 96.7 miles per hour, but Wednesday night, his average fastball velocity was 94 mph. Similarly, the velocity on his splitter and curveball were down more than two mph. It was Eovaldi’s lowest velocity since 2012 when the righthander had four starts with an average fastball of 94 mph or lower.
“He was battling the whole game and he kept pushing to be out there,” manager Alex Cora said. “He pitched well. He gave us five scoreless innings, the stuff wasn’t great but he did a good job.”
The bullpen followed up Eovaldi’s performance with a showing of their own. In the last two games , ox relievers have combined for 10 innings, allowing just one run.
“Excellent,” Cora said of the bullpen. “They’ve been throwing the ball well for a while. Overall, the last three weeks they’ve been amazing. So, another big win.”
Julian McWilliams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack.
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