Rick Porcello and Ryan Hanigan

Game 86 Recap: Red Sox 6, Marlins 3

A big third inning and a solid outing from Rick Porcello was enough to give the Red Sox their first four-game winning streak of the season. Boston swept the two-game series against the Giancarlo Stanton-less Marlins with a 6-3 win Wednesday night.

Top Play (WPA): David Ortiz’s two-run, opposite-field home run in the third inning (.135) was the game’s top play, extending the Red Sox’s lead to 4-0. Ortiz’s shot further justified John Farrell’s decision to bench Mike Napoli and put Ortiz at first base for the second time in the last three games. Boston’s four-run third was sparked by an error by pitcher Tom Koehler on a ball back to the mound by Mookie Betts (.096).

J.T. Realmuto gave Miami its first run of the game in the fourth with a single to center to score Michael Morse, good for a .093 mark and the game’s third-best play. The Marlins appeared on their way to a big inning, but Porcello held them to just two runs before escaping a bases-loaded jam.

Bottom Play (WPA): Porcello got into trouble in the fourth inning as Miami cut the Sox’s lead to 4-2. But Dee Gordon grounded out to third with the bases loaded and they got the force at home for the second out of the inning. Gordon’s fielder’s choice gave Boston a critical out, and was tied for the game’s worst play at -.091. Realmuto’s inning-ending double play with two on in the second also earned a -.091 mark.

Key Moment: The Red Sox are suddenly looking like an opportunistic team, capitalizing on a Marlins error on a Betts-hit ball for the second straight night. This time Betts smacked a one-hopper right back to Koehler with one on and one out in the third. Koehler looked to second and fired to first, but his throw was wild, putting Betts and Ryan Hanigan in scoring position. The Sox took advantage. Brock Holt grounded a sacrifice to second to score Hanigan and Xander Bogaerts followed with an infield single to score Betts and put Boston up 2-0.

Those two runs were enough to deem Koehler’s error the game’s key moment. But Ortiz made the miscue look even costlier with his two-run home run over the left-field wall to extend the Sox’s lead to 4-0. Boston got another run off a pair of errors in the seventh.

Trend to Watch: There was plenty to like about Porcello’s outing. Granted, he got himself into multiple jams and still can’t get a shutdown inning, but two runs over six innings is sufficient compared to the duds we’re used to seeing from him lately. Porcello was especially effective with his fastball, throwing it eight times in his nine-pitch, 1-2-3 first inning and 45 times for the game. He consistently kept the ball down, forcing weak contact and getting ground ball outs. He used his secondary stuff to create swings and misses.

Wednesday’s start was a positive step for Porcello, who finally looked like the pitcher the Sox acquired from Detroit in the offseason and awarded a big contract before throwing a pitch with the team. He will have about a week and a half before his next start with the All-Star break coming up. Perhaps the righty is finally prepared to shake off what has been a putrid last two months and get back to what he was doing well in April and early May.

Bogaerts’ RBI single in the third inning extended his hitting streak to seven games. The shortstop is 13-for-30 over that span, driving in eight runs, four of which came in this series.

Coming Next: The Red Sox play three games against the division-leading Yankees at Fenway Park in their final series before the All-Star break. The Sox are surging, and finally gaining ground in the AL East standings, so this series is a big one. Clay Buchholz and Michael Pineda are the probables for Friday’s opener.

Photo by Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports Images

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