Eovaldi sharp in Red Sox debut; Boston beats Twins 3-0
BOSTON (AP) — Nathan Eovaldi pitched seven impressive innings in his first start with Boston, J.D. Martinez drove in all three runs to increase his major league-leading RBI total to 89 and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 3-0 on Sunday for their 18th victory in 22 games.
Martinez had a double, single and walk, and Andrew Benintendi added two hits and a walk for the Red Sox. The AL East-leaders improved to a majors’ best 74-33 by winning three of four in the weekend series.
The Twins finished 5-5 on a 10-game trip that saw them give up a bit on making the playoffs after they traded two players Friday night.
Acquired in trade from Tampa Bay for a minor league pitcher on Wednesday, Eovaldi (4-4) gave up four hits, striking out five without issuing a walk. Matt Barnes pitched the eighth and Craig Kimbrel got the final three outs for his 33rd save.
Eovaldi was sharp from the start, relying on a 95-97 mph fast ball with a slider and curve. The 28-year-old righty was hammered two starts ago by the Twins, giving up eight runs and nine hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Jose Berrios (10-8) was in trouble every inning, giving up three runs on nine hits with three walks and five strikeouts in 4 2/3 in his first career start in Fenway Park.
Martinez’s RBI double made it 2-0 in the second. In the fourth, Benintendi doubled off the Green Monster and Martinez followed with a hard single halfway up the left-field wall.
It could have been a bigger lead, but Boston stranded 10 baserunners — and left the bases full twice — in the first four innings.
GOTTA SEE IT
Red Sox CF Jackie Bradley Jr., running at full speed, made a backhanded catch on Bobby Wilson’s liner into the left-center gap. After the catch, he tumbled over at the edge of the warning track and slid on his back hard into the left-field wall.
He got a standing ovation and when he headed to the dugout at the end of the inning, his teammates were lined up waiting to give him ‘High 5s.’
LOOK WHERE I’M PLAYING
Back-up catcher and infielder Blake Swihart made his first career start at third. He even started a nifty DP in the fourth, snagging a hard grounder as he went to his knees, got up and turned the 5-4-3 play.
FUN UNDER THE SUN
The Red Sox improved to a majors’ best 26-5 in day games, and they’ve won 20 of their last 22.
Red Sox: Placed 3B Rafael Devers on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring he sustained running the bases a night earlier.
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (0-0, 5.40 ERA) makes his second start of the season after returning from surgery on the middle finger of his pitching hand in February as Minnesota opens a three-game series Monday at home against AL Central-leading Cleveland.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (11-6, 4.17) is set to start Monday’s opener of a two-game interleague series at Fenway, facing Phillies’ righty Aaron Nola (12-3, 2.42). Price went a scoreless inning in his last start Wednesday in Baltimore before the game was rained out.