SAN DIEGO — Eduardo Rodriguez pitched one of the best games of his career on Friday night, shutting down the San Diego Padres over seven innings in a game the Red Sox won, 11-0.
The lefthander allowed five hits — all singles — struck out six with one walk, and got 13 outs on groundballs thanks to a changeup that darted around the strike zone.
But as well as he pitched, that won’t be what Rodriguez remembers about the game. This was the night he finally scored his first run.
Rodriguez toured the bases in the sixth inning after reaching on an error, going 90 feet at a time before stamping his foot on home plate when Xander Bogaerts singled.
As his teammates cheered from the dugout, Rodriguez pumped his fist. It was the first time he scored in 10 years of pro ball.
“I try to have fun every time I have an opportunity to get an at bat,” Rodriguez said. “I haven’t got a base hit yet. But at least I scored a run for Bogie right there, an RBI. That was the first time I run hard to third base. It was really good.”
When Rodriguez made it to third, coach Carlos Febles jokingly congratulated him on getting there.
Rodriguez hit three home runs when he took batting practice at Fenway Park on Tuesday and boasted he would finally get his first career hit against the Padres.
He was 0 for 3 but the run made up for it. Rodriguez also got down a sacrifice bunt in the second inning to cap a six-pitch plate appearance. It led to two runs scoring.
“I know they were all laughing at me in the dugout,” said Rodriguez, who made contact all four rimes.
J.D. Martinez, who homered twice and drove in a career-high seven runs, grinned when asked to assess Rodriguez’s form at the plate.
“Throw him a fastball down the middle and he’s got no chance. I think it’s that’s bad, honestly,” he said. “He’s got a lot of work to do at the plate.”
It was a fun start to a three-city, eight-game road trip for the Red Sox, who have won six of their last eight. They are 6½ games out of a wild card spot, now with 32 games left to play.
It was also was their first victory in three years wearing the Players Weekend uniforms. The Sox had been 0-6 but broke through wearing all-black uniforms that left them looking like a gang of athletic cat burglars.
“I like them, I guess,” Martinez said. “I had a good game in them. If I do that tomorrow I might not take them off.”
Rafael Devers was 3 for 5 with a double and one RBI. Bogaerts added two hits and two RBIs. The Sox had 14 hits in all.
Padres starter Chris Paddack, a 23-year-old righthander, came into the game with a 3.44 earned run average and 0.98 WHIP. He was finished after 2 1/3 innings.
Mookie Betts led off the game with a double and went to third on an infield single by Devers. They both scored when Martinez homered to left center.
Mitch Moreland drew a walk and Brock Holt singled to start the second inning. Rodriguez, somehow wielding the bat expertly, worked the count full and put down a sacrifice bunt.
It paid off when Betts’ fly ball to left field scored Moreland. Devers and Bogaerts followed with doubles and it was 6-0.
Devers helped produce another run in the fourth inning when he singled off reliever Robbie Erlin. After Bogaerts walked, a wild pitch moved the runners up and Devers scored on Martinez’s line out to left field.
The Sox added four more in the sixth inning, three when Martinez hammered a hanging curveball from rookie Eric Yardley into the left field seats for his second homer.
Martinez, who had four RBIs in 10 previous games at Petco Park, now has a .957 OPS, 30 home runs and 82 RBIs.
As the Red Sox piled up runs, Rodriguez handled the Padres efficiently.
San Diego did not advance a runner into scoring position until the fourth inning when Manuel Margot singled and Francisco Mejia walked.
Villainous Manny Machado grounded into a double play when Rodriguez located a changeup down and away. Then Hunter Renfroe struck out.
Rodriguez has been far and away the team’s best starter this season. He is 15-5 with a 3.92 earned run average with the Sox winning 20 of the 27 games he has started. Over his last 11 starts, Rodriguez is 7-1 with a 2.63 ERA.
At 26, Rodriguez is fulfilling the promise the Sox have long clung to with him. With five weeks left to play, he already has career highs in wins, starts (27), innings (160 2/3) and strikeouts (155).
“It means a lot to the organization. We know the talent,” manager Alex Cora said. “I’m his biggest critic. I push him to be great because I know he can be great. For him to do the things that he’s doing, it’s pretty special.”
Rodriguez lined up to start Wednesday in Colorado, another interleague game. He is still searching for his first hit.
“My confidence is high,” Rodriguez said. “Just swing hard.”