Coming off his worst start of the season and with the Red Sox mired in a four-game losing streak, Nathan Eovaldi couldn’t allow things to snowball any further.
With just a few mechanical adjustments, Eovaldi was as sharp as he’s looked all season. The result was six shutout innings to help the Red Sox blank the Baltimore Orioles 6-0 on Wednesday.
“I had a good feel for my curveball and splitter, I mixed in my cutter in there more than I have recently, the only pitch I felt like wasn’t great tonight was the slider,” said Eovaldi, who did not have his curveball or splitter working last time out against the Yankees. “If I’ve got four out of the five pitches working, that’s a good recipe for me.”
Eovaldi was in full control up until the sixth inning, when he allowed a leadoff double and a walk to put two men on with no outs. The Red Sox led 3-0 at the time, and Eovaldi made sure things stayed that way after recording a flyout, a strikeout and another flyout to end the inning.
He finished with no runs allowed on four hits and a walk plus seven strikeouts, and Ryan Brasier, Hansel Robles and Matt Barnes combined for three scoreless innings of relief to close out the win.
Offensively, the Red Sox bounced back from Tuesday’s three-hit debacle with a 13-hit outburst. The offense was limited early thanks to three rally-killing double plays in the first five innings, but J.D. Martinez came through with a solo home run in the second and a two-run double with men on second and third in the sixth to give Boston some daylight.
Alex Verdugo effectively put the game away with a two-run single in the top of the eighth, and then Hunter Renfroe added a solo shot for his 30th home run of the season in the top of the ninth for added insurance.
Combined with the Toronto Blue Jays’ thrilling 6-5 win over the New York Yankees, the Red Sox now trail the Yankees by just one game in the AL Wild Card race and maintain a one-game lead over the Blue Jays. The Seattle Mariners, who played Oakland late on the west coast, came into the day trailing Boston by a half-game in the standings, and with the win the Red Sox ensured the Mariners couldn’t get any closer than that for now.
The Red Sox will try to take two out of three from the Orioles on Thursday as Nick Pivetta (9-7, 4.52 ERA) takes the hill against Alexander Wells (1-3, 7.61). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Camden Yards.
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