The host Bosox blitzed the Phillies with 8 runs in the 4th inning, and then coasted home to a 9-2 victory on Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park.
It all began to unravel for Phils’ rookie hurler Alec Asher with one out in that 4th inning. Until that point, his 2nd career big league start was going relatively smoothly, as he was shutting out the hosts, matching Boston starter Wade Miley.
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But with that one out and a runner on in the bottom of the 4th, the Red Sox began to bang away at the rookie. Three consecutive base hits, including an RBI single off the bat of Blake Swihart, put Boston on top 1-0 and loaded the bases.
That brought the scorching hot Jackie Bradley to the plate. Bradley, who is now hitting to an incredible .405/.468/.833 slash line over the last month, ripped a two-run double to right field, pushing the lead out to 3-0.
Now the bases were still loaded, but there were two outs, and Asher had a shot at getting out of the inning with relatively minimal damage. It didn’t happen, as Xander Bogaerts lined a bases-clearing double to right field, making it 6-0 and ending Asher’s afternoon.
Asher (0-2) would be charged with 7 earned runs on 8 hits across just 3.2 innings. He labored through 83 pitches, just 47 of which were strikes. For the 2nd straight outing, the 23-year old who was part of the Cole Hamels trade showed nothing to inspire confidence that he might be counted on as a part of a future Phillies starting rotation.
At that point, interim manager Pete Mackanin brought in converted starter Jerome Williams to try to stem the tide. Instead, veteran Bosox leader David Ortiz put a punctuation mark on the huge inning. ‘Big Papi’ drove a 1-1 pitch from Williams out on a line to right center for his 30th home run of the season, the 496th of his PED-tainted career.
The Phillies bats would make a little noise in the top of the 5th, scoring twice on a 2-out, 2-run double off the bat of the veteran Chooch. That would be it for the Phils’ offense on the day.
Boston got one more run in the bottom of the 8th to make the final score of 9-2. The win combined with a loss by Baltimore pulled the Red Sox within 2 games of the Orioles in a race to avoid the AL East basement. It’s a disappointing race for both teams, each of whom began the season with postseason aspirations.