BOSTON (AP) — The first round of the rematch between Los Angeles and Boston turned out much like the 2018 World Series. The Red Sox beat the Dodgers handily.
Xander Bogaerts hit a three-run homer, Eduardo Rodriguez struck out 10 and the Red Sox beat the Dodgers 8-1 Friday night.
“We have to come out aggressive because we know these guys are one of the best teams in the game,” Bogaerts said. “Obviously, they’re going to come here, try to beat us pretty bad for last year. I think it was a good way for us to start.”
The Red Sox, who beat the Dodgers in five games to win their ninth World Series title, returned from the All-Star break with their fifth straight victory.
Rafael Devers and Christian Vázquez also homered for the Red Sox, who broke the game open with a five-run rally that was interrupted by a one-hour rain delay in the seventh inning.
“That was a good baseball game all around,” manager Alex Cora said. “We did a good job putting together at-bats. We ran the bases well, played good defense and obviously Eddie was outstanding on the mound.”
Rodriguez (10-4) tied his season-high for strikeouts and held the Dodgers to five hits in seven innings. He has won four straight decisions and is the only Boston pitcher with 10 victories this season.
“He just kept pounding the zone,” Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes said. “He threw the ball well. He mixed and matched with both sides of the plate.”
The Dodgers were well represented in their return to Boston with enough blue-and-white clad fans to drown out “Red Sox” during the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Red Sox fans countered with Boston’s signature “Beat LA!” chant, and the Red Sox did just that, topping the club with the best record in the majors.
“It was fun. It was good. I think everyone contributed,” Bogaerts said.
The Red Sox have won six of seven. The Dodgers lost their fourth straight and fell to 1-6 all-time in regular-season games at Fenway Park.
Alex Verdugo hit his 10th homer and Kenta Maeda struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings for the Dodgers.
Kenta Maeda (7-6) struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings for Los Angeles. Maeda allowed three runs, two on solo homers by Devers and Vázquez that hit the giant ads on top of the Green Monster.
“The first homer I gave up, I caught a little too much of the plate,” Maeda said through a translator. “The second one was a 3-2 count. I felt like I needed to throw a strike and it ended up as a homer.”
Devers’ RBI double in the sixth put Boston up 3-1 and the Red Sox rallied for five more in the seventh, when the rain got heavy and the game was put on hold for an hour after Brock Holt’s RBI double.
The delay didn’t slow the Red Sox. Mookie Betts put Boston up 5-1 with a sacrifice fly following the rain delay, and Bogaerts broke it open with a three-run shot off the top of the Green Monster.
Bogaerts thought he had doubled and went sliding into second base before noticing the umpires had signaled a homer — tying J.D. Martinez for the team lead with 18.
“I didn’t even worry about it going out. I knew it was a double,” Bogaerts said. “It went out. I didn’t even know.”
Verdugo tied it in the second with a solo homer to right. It was the 10th homer of the season for Verdugo, who became the sixth member of the Dodgers with 10 or more homers.
CATCH AND RELEASE
Jackie Bradley Jr. caught a deep fly by Max Muncy at the base of the wall in left-center to end the top of the sixth, then punctuated the catch with a throw all the way across to Betts at the right-field line as the Red Sox returned to their dugout.
Fans were still applauding the catch when Bradley delivered the ball on a beeline to Betts’ glove.
Bradley also started the seventh-inning rally by running out an infield single.
Dodgers: Activated CF A.J. Pollock (elbow infection) from the 60-day injured list. Pollock started in center and batted sixth in his first game since April 28. … To clear roster space, the Dodgers traded LHP Adam McCreery and C Josh Thole to the Los Angeles Angels for cash considerations.
Red Sox: 1B Mitch Moreland (right quad strain) will spend the weekend with Triple-A Pawtucket, manager Alex Cora said. RHP Nathan Eovaldi (right elbow) threw a bullpen session Friday. Cora said the Red Sox were still trying to determine when Eovaldi could return.
Dodgers RHP Ross Stripling (3-3, 3.79 ERA) faces Red Sox LHP Chris Sale (3-8, 4.04) on Saturday night.
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