Martinez’s two-run homer propels Red Sox over White Sox
BOSTON (AP) – J.D. Martinez looked bad on a swing, went to the video, took some hacks in the cage and made sure he didn’t miss his pitch the next time up.
Martinez hit a tiebreaking two-run homer, David Price pitched six solid innings to win his fifth straight decision and the Boston Red Sox rebounded from a series-opening loss with a 4-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.
“Whatever it is that I want to work on, I go in the cage and work on it before my next at-bat,” said Martinez, who hit his team-leading 21st homer. “I felt like early in the game I was jumping off my back side. I was just kind of going into the cage and working on staying on my back side, not twisting.”
After looking completely fooled with an awkward swing to strike out on a high, 93 mph fastball in the third inning, the slugger hit a hanging changeup into Boston’s bullpen, pushing the Red Sox ahead 4-2 in the fifth. It marked a promising return to the lineup after Martinez sat out Friday night’s 1-0 loss to rest his achy back.
“I really don’t feel like he’s gotten that hot, as hot as I’ve seen him get,” said Price, who played with Martinez in parts of the 2014 and ’15 seasons. “He can get hotter.”
Jackie Bradley Jr. added a solo shot for Boston, which avoided tying its season-high three-game losing streak. The Red Sox on Friday with ace left-hander Chris Sale on the mound.
Jose Abreu had an RBI double for the White Sox.
Price (7-4) held Chicago scoreless after allowing two runs in the first. He gave up five hits, struck out six and walked three, improving to 5-0 in his past six starts with a 2.89 ERA.
Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save.
Carlos Rodon took the loss in his season debut, giving up four runs – two earned – and six hits, striking out seven and walking two in five innings. The 24-year-old lefty started the season on the disabled list after left shoulder surgery last September.
“I was just happy to get through it and be healthy,” he said. “Obviously wish I would’ve made some better pitches and got ahead of guys. I fell behind, led to some more pitches.”
Three of Chicago’s infielders made an error: shortstop Tim Anderson booted a grounder, and second baseman Yoan Moncada and first baseman Abreu each had one throwing.
“To be honest, I thought we just didn’t help him defensively,” manager Rick Renteria said.
Boston had erased a 2-0 deficit by scoring a run in the first and second. Bradley’s homer into the center field seats tied it after Eduardo Nunez’s fielder’s choice grounder drove in a run.
Price gave up a run before getting an out in the first when Abreu doubled off the Green Monster after a single and walk. Kevan Smith’s groundout scored the second run.
Red Sox: Manager Alex Cora said OF Mookie Betts (10-day disabled list, left abdominal strain) “actually felt better” after taking BP on the field. “If everything goes well, we’ll do it again tomorrow,” Cora said. “He seems like now he’s gaining momentum.” The plan is likely for him to play a game on a rehab assignment. … The news wasn’t as good for 2B Dustin Pedroia (DL, left knee inflammation). Cora said his baseball activities are being “limited.”
WORE BOTH SOXS
Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk was the former Red Sox player honored in the middle of the third inning. He played with Boston from 1969-80 and the White Sox from 1981-1993.
Each game, the Red Sox show highlights of a past star and have him on the video board if they’re in town.
GET SOME ICE
Cora joked about the coaches having to pitch to Martinez in the cage behind the dugout during games.
“There’s a few sore arms on the coaching staff throwing during the game,” he said. “But we’re happy, there’s plenty of ice for them after the game.”
White Sox: RHP Reynaldo Lopez (1-4, 3.42 ERA) is scheduled to make his first career start against the Red Sox in the series finale Sunday. He’s 0-3 with a 4.86 ERA in seven road starts this season.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (8-2, 3.59) looks to keep his solid season going before Boston heads out on a 10-game road trip.