BOSTON (AP) — After a lost year due to COVID-related heart problems, Eduardo Rodriguez is back atop the Red Sox rotation.
The Boston left-hander struck out eight Mariners in six innings to beat Seattle 5-3 on Sunday and remain unbeaten on the season. The Red Sox had lost three of four since his previous outing.
“That’s what aces do,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “They put their team on their back and they carry us to a ‘W.’”
Rodriguez (4-0) gave up six hits — five of them doubles — and no walks to help the Red Sox earn their major league-leading 11th comeback victory of the season. He won 19 games in 2019 and then missed all of last season with inflammation in his heart muscles as a result of COVID-19.
Asked if he felt like he was all the way back, he said, “I’m all the way back already. From the first start of the season.”
“Today was just one of those days you don’t feel too much power on your fastball,” he said. “But the command was there, and it was good to have it.”
Rodriguez has lasted at least five innings in 32 straight starts dating to May of 2019. The Red Sox have won his last eight outings and the team is 49-12 in his starts since the beginning of the 2018 season.
“I don’t call myself an ace. I just go and pitch all the time,” he said when told that Cora had named him the staff leader. “For me I don’t think I am. If he thinks it, I appreciate it.”
J.D. Martinez had two more doubles, giving him 10 for the year — the most in baseball. He also ended the game tops in hits, 30, tied with Xander Bogaerts, who had a double of his own to help the Red Sox split the four-game series and improve to .500 at Fenway Park.
“We believe that you have to dominate at home,” Cora said as the team ended a 10-game…