ARLINGTON — Despite Boston’s offensive struggles this season, Jackie Bradley Jr. claimed last week that the team’s confidence was unwavering.
At that point, the Red Sox had lost three straight — and would eventually lose their next two after that — and just weren’t able to get things going at the plate, leaving almost no margin for error for the pitching staff.
It seemed that way heading into the series against the Rangers, too. Before what would be an explosive sixth inning for the Red Sox on Friday, the team was a combined 2-for-17 at the plate with five strikeouts and two walks. Rafael Devers struck out to lead off that sixth inning, which was followed by Boston scoring four runs in almost a blink of an eye.
The Red Sox maintained that consistency on Saturday in an 11-3 win over the Rangers at Globe Life Field, and they didn’t wait until the latter half of the game to show it.
“We know we have a good team,” manager Alex Cora said. “Nothing has changed. We just got off to a bad start. We didn’t expect to get off to a slow start offensively, but the last few days have been better.”
A two-out homer off the bat of J.D. Martinez in the first inning got Boston started. The bottom half of the lineup then pushed things even further in the second inning, with the first three hitters reaching base to open the frame. It was capped off by an RBI single from Bobby Dalbec, a Kiké Hernández sac fly and a two-out, two-run home run from Devers.
In the end, every single Red Sox batter reached base, with six of them logging two-hit games. Trevor Story was the only Boston hitter to leave the night without an RBI, while Hernández led the way with three.
Boston registered a season-high 14 hits en route to its first series victory — second overall — since Mid-April when the Red Sox took two of three against Detroit. Now, they have a chance to accomplish something that has been out of reach all season: a series sweep.
“Offensively, we’re getting there,” Cora said. “The bottom of the lineup did an amazing job.”
Boston’s offense has scored 30 runs over the last four games, compared to a combined five in the four games before that.
The streak continues
Martinez reached base in four of his five plate appearances on Saturday, extending his on-base streak to 31 games and his hitting streak to 15 games. The on-base streak dates back to Sept. 29 of last season and is the longest active in the Majors.
Martinez is 4-for-7 this series with three runs, three walks and one RBI.
Rich Hill’s return
Hill was back on the mound Friday after being on the COVID-IL for almost a week.
While in quarantine, Hill said he went out to a field and practiced pitching into a net so that he’d stay game ready for whenever he was cleared to play.
In his first start since May 5, Hill turned in six innings and earned his first win of the season, improving to 1-1. He allowed two earned runs off seven hits, striking out four with no walks.
“It’s just that one-pitch-at-a-time approach,” Hill said in reference to his progress this season. “You remove yourself from the results. That’s the biggest thing, and if we’re pitching for the moment and understanding each pitch is its own entity, its own moment, then we can look back at the end of day and be satisfied with the way the ball came out of your hand.”