Red Sox Roll over Pfaadt, Diamondbacks

Alex Verdugo of the Red Sox scoring a run against the Diamondbacks.
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Red Sox 7, Diamondbacks 2

PHOENIX, May 26 — Triston Casas went 3-for-5, falling a home run short of the cycle, to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 7–2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday night at Chase Field. The Red Sox first baseman drove in a run and scored two himself. Red Sox right fielder Alex Verdugo also went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored in the victory. Five of the Red Sox runs came at the expense of rookie Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon Pfaadt, the highly touted prospect who has struggled since his call-up on May 3.

“Today didn’t work out anything like we had hoped,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “They made Pfaadt pay for every mistake that he made. There were some misses out over the plate, and they were ready to jump on him. That’s a dugout full of very experienced hitters. And (the Red Sox were) hunting spots, hunting mistakes, and they didn’t back off. So you gotta give them credit.”

Red Sox Slug Way to Early Lead over Diamondbacks

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The Red Sox got to Pfaadt in the second. Left fielder Rob Refsnyder led off with an infield single to third and scored on a follow-up triple by first baseman Triston Casas. Consecutive strikeouts by shortstop Enrique Hernandez and second baseman Enmanuel Valdez gave Pfaadt a chance to get out of it with only one run allowed, but catcher Connor Wong scrapped that idea with a ground-rule double to left. Tapia followed with a single to right, scoring Wong. Verdugo grounded into a 6–4 force play to stop the bleeding, but the Red Sox led, 3–0.

It became a 5–0 game in the top of the fourth, with Pfaadt on the business end once again. Casas led off with a single to right, bringing up Hernandez, who launched a no-doubt homer to left. A single by Tapia, up next, chased Pfaadt out of the game. New pitcher Luis Frias coughed up a single to Verdugo that sent Tapia to third, but a strikeout by third baseman Justin Turner stranded the runners. Pfaadt’s final line was five runs on eight hits with no walks, four strikeouts, and a home run across 3 2/3 innings.

Diamondbacks Avoid Shutout, but Red Sox Extend Lead

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The Diamondbacks got one of the runs back in the bottom of the fourth off Red Sox starter Chris Sale. Third baseman Emmanuel Rivera led off with a single to right. Left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a triple to the right-center-field corner. This scored Rivera to slash the deficit to 5–1.

The Red Sox padded their lead in the sixth and eighth innings off Luis Frias and Kevin Ginkel, respectively. In the sixth, a two-out double to right by Verdugo gave Turner an RBI opportunity, and the Red Menace cashed in with a single to center. The eighth inning saw a one-out double by Wong and a two-out single by Verdugo extend the Red Sox lead to 7–1. In the bottom half, the Diamondbacks made it 7–2 off reliever Josh Winckowski with three consecutive singles from catcher Jose Herrera, second baseman Ketel Marte, and Rivera.

Diamondbacks reliever Jose Ruiz kept the deficit at five with a scoreless top of the ninth. Red Sox reliever Brennan Bernardino quelled all hopes of a Diamondbacks rally in the bottom of the ninth, with the lone baserunner coming on a two-out walk.

Red Sox Pounced on Mistakes, Diamondbacks Did Not

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Lovullo felt Pfaadt never got into a “rhythm or routine.” He explained further, “The fastball command was something that was missing. (He) couldn’t really get to the secondary stuff. There were moments where he was exploiting the top bar of that strike zone, got some swing and miss. But overall, I the fastball command caught up to him. And those mistakes started to really show up in a big way with some with some good at-bats by the Red Sox.”

Lovullo added that the Diamondbacks offense mirrored the pitching. “We couldn’t get anything moving in a good direction,” he stated. “I felt like we had a couple of opportunities to push some runs across or perhaps get a little bit of slug and get right back into the game, but it didn’t happen. We had the right guys in the right spot, but this game is tough. It just goes to show you that there’s no perfect science to delivering a blow. But it’s one game. We just got to digest it and come back at it tomorrow.”

Quick Hits

Frias and Ginkel each pitched multiple innings, with Frias going 2 1/3 and Ginkel tossing two. This saved the rest of the Diamondbacks relief corps from being overtaxed in the first game of a ten-game homestand with no off-days. “Bullpen is in really good shape right now,” Lovullo said. “We will have the right guys ready to go tomorrow.” … Marte, with his eighth-inning single, extended his on-base streak to a career-high 25 games. … Rivera went 2-for-4 in the game, scoring a run and driving in another. Herrera also had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a run scored.

Looking Ahead

Sale (5–2) earned the win with a five-inning performance, allowing one run on four hits while walking one and striking out three. Pfaadt (0–2) took the loss. The Red Sox (27–24) and Diamondbacks (29–22) will play the second game of their three-game series Saturday afternoon in a Fox national broadcast. Garrett Whitlock (1–2, 6.19 ERA) will take the hill for the Red Sox against Zach Davies of the Diamondbacks (0–0, 5.79 ERA) in a battle of right-handers. Neither pitcher is currently on the active roster, so each team will have to make a corresponding roster move between press time and the first pitch Saturday, which is 4:15 pm Arizona Time.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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