After dropping two of their last three games against the Angels and finishing the West Coast road trip with a 3-3 record, the Sox returned to their comfort zone at Fenway.
The Sox won their ninth straight game at Fenway with an 11-5 victory Friday night over the Phillies.
Brandon Workman worked a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth, which included two strikeouts, to seal the victory. Boston is 28-17 at home this season.
“We talked about it before the season. For us to get to where we want to go, we have to make this place home field advantage again,” manager Alex Cora said afterward. The Sox were a combined 49-63 in the two previous seasons.
“We didn’t do it in 2019 and we won 84 games. And last year, it was a struggle and you saw how we ended up. We have to play well here. And we’ve been doing that.”
J.D. Martinez drove in four runs, including a go-ahead three run home run in the second inning. Martinez was one of six Red Sox with two hits each — Kiké Hernández, Alex Verdugo, Hunter Renfroe, Christian Vázquez and Bobby Dalbec were the others, as the team finished with 14 hits.
“It was a good day offensively for the team,” Martinez said. “We grinded out a lot of at-bats, spoiled some pitches and were able to take advantage of some mistakes.”
The onslaught on those mistakes began in the bottom of the first inning.
After Garrett Richards allowed a run in the top of the first inning, Hernández hit his fifth leadoff homer in a Sox uniform this season off Phillies starter Vince Velasquez in the bottom of the frame to tie it at 1. Verdugo, Martinez and Rafael Devers all drew walks to load the bases with one out, and Verdugo scored on a Renfroe fielder’s choice.
The Phillies jumped out to a 3-2 lead in the second behind three straight singles against Richards. Hernández didn’t field Didi Gregorius’s single to him in center field, allowing the Phillies shortstop to get to second on the bobble. With runners on second and third, Alec Bohm laced a single to right field that put his club back on top.
That wouldn’t be the end of the Sox, who have been a tough offensive bunch at Fenway this year, scoring 248 runs in 45 games this year at home.
Dalbec began the bottom of the second with a double to left and Verdugo walked again. That set the table for Martinez, who took a 2-2 heater from Velasquez and punched it into the right-center field bullpen for his 18th homer of the season.
Martinez, who had been scuffling at the end of June, his average dipping below .300 on June 28 for the first time since the first game of the season, is finishing this first part of the season strong. He was hitting .321 with a 1.095 OPS entering Friday and only increased both of those by game’s end.
“I feel better the last two games,” Martinez said. “Just trying to just keep it simple, use my hands. Go up there and kind of just play pepper with the ball. It quiets down my body. I’m just trying to put the barrel to the ball.”
The Sox poured it on some more in the third, starting with a solo shot by Devers to center. After a Renfroe double and Vázquez single, Velasquez’s night was over with Phillies manager Joe Girardi electing to go with Enyel De Los Santos.
The Red Sox didn’t give in against the Phillies reliever either. An RBI single by Verdugo that found its way through the right side made it 8-3, and then Martinez’s double on an 11-pitch at-bat brought the Sox run total to nine on the night. The 11-pitch at-bat by Martinez was his longest since June 29, 2017 and is tied for the longest of his career ending in an extra-base hit.
Hernández added to his RBI total in the fifth when his ground-rule double down the right field line scored Vázquez, who walked and went to second on a groundout.
Meanwhile, Richards made it through five innings after a shaky first that included a leadoff triple by Jean Segura and an RBI double by J.T. Realmuto. After struggling for much of June and July, Richards delivered his second consecutive start in which he pitched five innings, surrendering five runs total.
“I’m starting to figure some things out sequence-wise, grip,” Richards said. “I’ve been filling up the zone a lot, throwing a lot of strikes.”