BOSTON (AP) — Nathan Eovaldi pitched seven impressive innings in his first start with Boston, J.D. Martinez drove in all three runs to increase his major league-leading RBI total to 89 and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 3-0 on Sunday for their 18th victory in 22 games.
Martinez had a double, single and walk, and Andrew Benintendi added two hits and a walk for the Red Sox. The AL East-leaders improved to a majors’ best 74-33 by winning three of four in the weekend series.
The Twins finished 4-6 on a 10-game trip that saw them give up a bit on making the playoffs after they traded two players Friday night.
Acquired in trade from Tampa Bay for a minor league pitcher on Wednesday, Eovaldi (4-4) gave up four hits, striking out five without issuing a walk. Matt Barnes pitched the eighth and Craig Kimbrel got the final three outs for his 33rd save.
Eovaldi was sharp from the start, relying on a 95-97 mph fast ball with a slider and curve. The 28-year-old righty was hammered two starts ago by the Twins, giving up eight runs and nine hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Jose Berrios (10-8) was in trouble every inning, giving up three runs on nine hits with three walks and five strikeouts in 4 2/3 in his first career start in Fenway Park.
Martinez’s RBI double made it 2-0 in the second. In the fourth, Benintendi doubled off the Green Monster and Martinez followed with a hard single halfway up the left-field wall.
It could have been a bigger lead, but Boston stranded 10 baserunners — and left the bases full twice — in the first four innings.
GOTTA SEE IT
Red Sox CF Jackie Bradley Jr., running at full speed, made a backhanded catch on Bobby Wilson’s liner into the left-center gap. After the catch, he tumbled over at the edge of the warning track and slid on his back hard into the left-field wall.
He got a standing ovation and when he headed to the dugout at the end of the inning, his teammates were lined up waiting to give him `High 5s.’
LOOK WHERE I’M PLAYING
Back-up catcher and infielder Blake Swihart made his first career start at third. He even started a nifty DP in the fourth, snagging a hard grounder as he went to his knees, got up and turned the 5-4-3 play.
FUN UNDER THE SUN
The Red Sox improved to a majors’ best 26-5 in day games, and they’ve won 20 of their last 22.
Red Sox: Placed 3B Rafael Devers on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring he sustained running the bases a night earlier.
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (0-0, 5.40 ERA) makes his second start of the season after returning from surgery on the middle finger of his pitching hand in February as Minnesota opens a three-game series Monday at home against AL Central-leading Cleveland.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (11-6, 4.17) is set to start Monday’s opener of a two-game interleague series at Fenway, facing Phillies’ righty Aaron Nola (12-3, 2.42). Price went a scoreless inning in his last start Wednesday in Baltimore before the game was rained out.
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