Red Sox lineup pounds Cardinals without benefit of a home run

BOSTON, MA - JULY 19: Hanley Ramirez
BOSTON, MA - JULY 19: Hanley Ramirez /

The Boston Red Sox scored 10 runs in a win over the St. Louis Cardinals despite that they didn’t hit a home run in the game.

Who needs home runs? Sure, we all dig the long ball, but there are other ways to pile up runs. The Boston Red Sox proved that once again in their win Tuesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Red Sox hitters crossed the plate 10 times in the game without the benefit of a home run. They did so with an unrelenting attack that tallied a total of 15 hits. Eight of those hits came in an eight-run fifth inning that blew the game wide open. After Jackie Bradley flied out to begin the inning, the next ten consecutive batters reached base on a hit, walk or hit by pitch.

Only two of the 15 hits went for extra bases, both doubles. Hanley Ramirez smacked a bases loaded double to drive in two in the fifth inning. After Boston reloaded the bases later that inning, Sandy Leon doubled to center to drive in two more. The other four runs scored in the frame were tacked on a base hit at a time, while another was added on a bases loaded walk by Bradley in the sixth.

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Stringing together hits is no revelation for this team. Boston ranks fourth in the league with a .269 batting average with runners on base and .274 with runners in scoring position. They are also tied for third with a .334 OBP, so we know those opportunities have been plentiful.

The Red Sox have now won an MLB-high 21 games this season in which they did not hit a home run. These aren’t all pitcher’s duels either. Boston has scored at least 10 runs on three of those occasions, including last night.

Home run power has been a widely discussed flaw for this team all season. Boston still sits last in the American League in homers, although the margin has narrowed. The Los Angeles Angels have hit only four more than Boston’s 124 home runs, plus the Angels have the benefit of having played one extra game so far.

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Since the break, the Red Sox have hit 32 home runs, tied for 13th in the league. That still puts them near the bottom, although they aren’t far from the middle. The 7th ranked Yankees only have five more home runs since the break and they’ve played two more games than the Red Sox have.

The emergence Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers has helped the Red Sox improve their power output. The pair of rookies have accounted for the team’s last seven home runs, the longest such streak in franchise history.

It’s also worth noting that while the lineup isn’t known for mashing home runs, the pitching staff doesn’t cough up many either. Red Sox pitchers have allowed 139 home runs this season, fourth fewest in the AL.

Tuesday’s starter, Rick Porcello, has been one of the few Red Sox pitchers plagued by the long ball. He’s allowed 28 home runs this season, third most in the league. Porcello did not allow a home run to the Cardinals last night, the first time in his last six starts that he hasn’t given up at least one. Porcello did his part to earn the win by keeping the ball in the park.

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The recent power uptick is a promising sign, one that should help keep this lineup more consistent going forward. However, it’s good to see they are still capable of an offensive explosion even when the ball isn’t being hit over the fence.