Responding to a team-wide offensive slump that began before the All-Star break, Alex Cora re-worked his batting order for the Red Sox’ Monday night game against the Toronto Blue Jays. That change included moving Jarren Duran from the bottom of the order to the second spot, despite it being just his third major league game.
That adjustment paid dividends almost immediately, for both Duran and the whole team. After a leadoff double by Kiké Hernandez, Duran stepped in and knocked a 2-0 pitch from Blue Jays starter Ross Stripling over the left field wall.
Duran’s home run proved to be just the start of what was a monster offensive game for the Red Sox. Stripling didn’t even make it out of the first inning – he allowed six earned runs and recorded only one out. By the time the second inning was over, the Red Sox had put 11 runs on the board, going on to win 13-4.
The Red Sox ended up with five home runs in the game, including Duran’s. Hernandez added two from the leadoff spot, and had two doubles as well. Rafael Devers, Danny Santana, and Hunter Renfroe also went yard, with Renfroe launching a first-inning grand slam that kicked off the rout.
Although he didn’t hit a home run, J.D. Martinez also had a strong night despite hitting fifth in the batting order – the lowest he’s been since joining the Red Sox in 2018. Martinez finished 4-for-4 with two doubles, and with an additional walk reached base in all five of his plate appearances.
Nick Pivetta got the win for the Red Sox on the mound, improving his record on the season to 8-4. The 28-year-old allowed 4 earned runs in 6.2 innings. He was followed by the trio of Hirokazu Sawamura, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Adam Ottavino out of the bullpen. That group didn’t allow a single baserunner in the final 2.1 innings.
With the win and a Tampa Bay loss Monday night, the Red Sox were able to extend their AL East lead. Boston is now 1.5 games up on the Rays with a 57-38 record. They’ll be back at it Tuesday night, for game two of a three-game set with Toronto.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.