Bogaerts, Red Sox keep rolling
The Red Sox got by during a COVID-19 outbreak that cost them several key pieces. But now that they’ve returned, there seems to be no stopping them as they chase a playoff berth.With their division rivals hot on their tails in the wild-card race, two of the Red Sox’ most valuable players came through when they needed to. Kiké Hernandez got things started with a game-tying home run and Xander Bogaerts took care of the rest as the Red Sox won their sixth consecutive game, a come-from-behind 6-3 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.The win was another pivotal one with less than two weeks remaining as it kept them on pace with the Blue Jays and Yankees, who each won on Tuesday. The Red Sox (87-65) remained 1 1/2 games up on the Jays and two games ahead of the Yankees atop the wild card standings with 10 games to go.Bogaerts continued his impressive 10-game stretch since returning from the COVID IL, but he needed some redemption to do so.The game was scoreless in the third when the Red Sox loaded the bases with no outs against Mets starter Marcus Stroman. But they came up empty in large part because of an uncharacteristically poor at-bat from Bogaerts, who grounded into a rare 5-2-3 double play. Rafael Devers followed with an inning-ending pop out, ruining a huge chance.But Bogaerts eventually made up for it and then some.The Mets cashed in on their own bases-loaded, no-out opportunity in the fourth against Eduardo Rodriguez, who issued three walks, including one that forced in a run, in the frame, as the Red Sox fell in a 2-0 hole. But they finally got to Stroman in the fourth, when Bobby Dalbec and Christian Vazquez each hit two-out doubles to cut the Sox’ deficit in half.The Red Sox carried that momentum into the fifth as Hernandez hit his first home run since Aug. 25 — he went on the COVID IL on Aug. 27 after testing positive — before Bogaerts redeemed himself. Kyle Schwarber doubled before the shortstop cleared the Green Monster on Stroman’s 3-1 fastball for a two-run, go-ahead shot, a lead the Red Sox didn’t relinquish.Bogaerts added on an inning later. Given another bases-loaded opportunity, the shortstop stung a sharp grounder through the right side for a two-run single that gave the Sox a much-needed cushion into the late innings. It was Bogaerts’ second four-RBI game in his last three.Other takeaways from Tuesday’s win:— The Red Sox’ bullpen continued its recent dominance. Garrett Richards gave up an eighth-inning homer to Pete Alonso to spoil a scoreless night for the ‘pen, but they patched together 4 2/3 innings to preserve the victory. The bullpen now has a 1.21 ERA in their last 29 2/3 innings.