Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar was forced out of tonight’s game against the Rockies after being hit on the left hand with a fastball thrown by Jon Garland. Escobar left immediately and Ryan Roberts came in to take his spot on first base. After the inning, Roberts took over at second base and Ben Zobrist moved from second to shortstop.
Escobar was struggling, entering the night with a .174 average and .507 OPS. He is listed as day-to-day according to Mark Topkin. The Rays could continue to use Zobrist at short and Roberts at second, or they could use Kelly Johnson — who has logged 78 defensive innings in the outfield — at second as well.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.