Alex Cora has built a reputation for making smart decisions in his time as Red Sox manager. He beat himself again on Monday in Buffalo.
After seeing that the Red Sox’s offense struggles continued during their series loss to the Yankees, Cora didn’t hesitate to switch things up and collect a new lineup card. Rookie Jaren Duran is in second place, with JD Martinez and Alex Verdugo in fifth and sixth respectively.
“Let’s try it and see what happens,” Cora said before the game.
Here’s what happened: The Red Sox scored three home runs in the first innings, including a career bang from Jaren Duran and a Grand Slam from Hunter Renfro, who exploded a monstrous eight in the opening frame, and they haven’t looked back . In one of their best offensive performances of the season, the Blue Jays faced a Red Sox-heavy crowd 13-4 at Sahlen Field.
The lineup reshuffle, at least for one night, was exactly what the Red Sox needed, as they secured a game over the American League East with the Rays’ loss to the Orioles.
Cora’s decision was largely rooted in maximizing his output by slipping Martinez behind fellow All-Stars Rafael Devers and Xander Bogarts. The designated hitter seemed to have an advantage with a four-hit night, but the move also looked to activate the entire lineup.
Duran, who impressed with quality batsmen in his debut against the Yankees, was not surprised at the No. 2 spot as he roped an opposite-field homer, which made it to the left for his first career run. The Red Sox was running out of there. The line continued for Renfro, who smoked the Sox’ second Grand Slam of the season with a 403-foot shot.
Jaren Duran smashes his first career homer! pic.twitter.com/sFHL9fsCYD
— mlb (@MLB) July 19, 2021
After scoring just six runs against the Yankees in three games this weekend, the Red Sox matched it up quickly with a blast from Renfro as Jays starter Ross Stripling fired early on. He soon completed his eight run first with a two-run homer by Kike Hernandez, the first time he had done so against the Blue Jays since July 2, 2015. It was the first time he hit three homers in the top for the first time in franchise history.
It was a busy night of celebration in the Red Sox dugout, tied for the most runs this season, but they had to get creative. Instead of their traditional ride on the laundry cart after walking home, they had to use the water cooler. But nothing was cooling the Red Sox, who were up 11-0 after two and eventually hit six homers on the night – including a second off Hernandez – for the most games they had this season.
Other facts about Monday’s win:
– Nick Pivetta was gifted an eight-run lead before stepping onto the mound and cruised through most of the night. The right-handed batsman had some trouble in the fourth as he conceded four runs – including a homer to Cavan Biggio – and was intimidated by loaded bases against MVP contender Vladimir Guerrero Jr., but he managed to finish him. asked to fly. The shift over and over again was not threatened.
Pivetta eventually played 6 2/3 innings as he conceded 11 hits. After ending the first half on a sour note, losing to the Phillies and lasting only four innings, he started his second half on the right foot.
– Danny Santana returned from the injured list with his second three-hit game of the month as he scored two runs from home runs and two runs to give them three RBIs. It was a big night for the bottom of the lineup, as Renfro, Santana and Kevin Plavecki combined for five hits and seven RBIs.