Red Sox

Bogaerts, Martinez, Nunez homer as Red Sox beat Nats, 11-4

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Bogaerts, Martinez, Nunez homer as Red Sox beat Nats, 11-4

WASHINGTON -- Boston's big hitters have consistently done the job this year, helping the Red Sox post the best record in the majors.

It's been a very different story for the Washington Nationals, and that's been abundantly clear through the first two games of their interleague series.

Xander Bogaerts hit a three-run homer during a six-run fifth inning, J.D. Martinez and Eduardo Nunez also went deep, and Boston beat Washington 11-4 in sweltering conditions Tuesday.

"A lot of guys stepped up," Bogaerts said. "The weather's not the best. It's hot. It's better than cold. A lot of guys swung at good pitches and had good at-bats."

Martinez drove in four and leads the majors with 26 homers and 71 RBIs. Boston has won 17 of its last 19 interleague games, including 11 of its last 12.

Washington has lost four straight and 16 of 21 to fall to 42-42, its first time at .500 since it was 17-17.

"It's hard to play from behind," Washington manager Dave Martinez said. "Our starting pitching right now is not giving the offense a chance. When we do try and make a run and come back, we got to have shutout innings. It's not happening."

Red Sox starter Brian Johnson allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings. Brandon Workman (1-0) pitched a perfect seventh.

Boston scored first, opening the second with consecutive singles before Nunez homered into the left field bullpen off starter Tanner Roark (3-10). Mark Reynolds and Roark had RBI singles in the fourth to pull the Nationals within 3-2.

The Red Sox responded in the fifth, collecting five consecutive singles before Bogaerts ripped Roark's fastball to center to make it 9-2.

"We did a good job today against Roark," Nunez said. "I think he made a lot of mistakes up with the sinker and we took advantage."

Brian Goodwin and Pedro Severino hit solo homers for Washington.

Roark allowed a career-high nine runs in seven innings and is 1-8 with a 5.19 ERA in 12 appearances (11 starts) since May 5.

"Other than two pitches I feel like they just base hit me to death, so what are you going to do?" Roark said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: 1B Mitch Moreland left in the third inning with back spasms and is day to day. "I wasn't planning on playing him tomorrow, so definitely he won't play tomorrow now," manager Alex Cora said. ... LHP Drew Pomeranz (biceps tendinitis) allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings Monday for Triple-A Pawtucket in his first rehab appearance since Boston placed him on the disabled list June 5. ... 2B Dustin Pedroia (left knee inflammation) is likely to remain in New York all week for further testing.

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (shoulder inflammation) threw about 60 pitches Tuesday. Martinez said Strasburg's next step could be a simulated game sometime this weekend. ... Martinez said 1B Ryan Zimmerman (right oblique strain) could begin a rehab assignment this weekend. Zimmerman has not played since May 9.

ROSTER MOVE COMING

Cora said Boston will activate RHP Tyler Thornburg (shoulder surgery) on Wednesday. Thornburg was acquired from Milwaukee in December 2016 but has not pitched in the majors since. The Red Sox intend to send RHP William Cuevas to the minors. Cuevas allowed a run in two innings Tuesday in his first appearance with Boston this season.

NATS SIGN TOP PICK

Washington signed first-round pick Mason Denaburg on Tuesday. The right-hander was selected No. 27 overall out of Merritt Island High School in Florida in last month's draft.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (9-3, 4.11 ERA) faces Washington for the first time as the three-game interleague series concludes.

Nationals: RHP Erick Fedde (1-3, 6.00) is coming off his first career victory and gets the nod for Washington's annual Independence Day morning start.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Merloni: Why Alex Cora could return as Red Sox manager in 2021

Merloni: Why Alex Cora could return as Red Sox manager in 2021

Alex Cora and the Boston Red Sox mutually agreed to part ways last week as a result of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. But is there a chance he could return as Boston's manager in 2021?

That'll depend on the length of Cora's impending suspension. The ex-Red Sox skipper is expected to receive at least a one-year ban for his role in the Astros scandal, and it could exceed that if MLB finds wrongdoing by the 2018 Red Sox in their current investigation.

The Red Sox, though, believe they'll get off scot-free. If that's the case, Cora could be a managerial candidate again in 2021 and thus a reunion with Boston would be a possibility.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Thursday on NBC Sports Boston's "Boston Sports Tonight," Lou Merloni explained why it would make sense to hire an interim manager like bench coach Ron Roenicke for the 2020 season and then explore options -- potentially Cora -- next offseason.

To me, I don't think Chaim Bloom his first hire for a manager he goes out and hires the best of what's left ... The next manager, I don't think you want to just take what's best. You want to wait and, you know, that's why you want to go interim for a year, and then you look at a bigger pool. One that may include Alex Cora ... 

Cora's a longshot. But we've got to see what happens with the investigation. We've got to hear from him after the investigation. We've got to see how the summer goes, the PR, how Roenicke does. I think you say, 'Ron, you're the manager of the team. We'll re-evaluate at the end of the year, there's no promises, I'm not going to give you a four-year deal, and you'll be up for the job next year too. We'll see what happens.'

Given Cora's current reputation around the league for his involvement in the Astros cheating scandal, it's difficult to imagine the Red Sox bringing him back. However, owner John Henry reportedly had every intention of keeping Cora, so maybe it wouldn't be so farfetched after all.

Tomase: Handicapping the Red Sox managerial candidates

Lou Merloni: Red Sox 'believe they will [get off scot-free]'

Lou Merloni: Red Sox 'believe they will [get off scot-free]'

The Boston Red Sox are facing a lot of unexpected uncertainty at this stage in the offseason. The team fired their manager Alex Cora amid a sign-stealing scandal from his time with the Houston Astros. And now, they're searching for a replacement.

At this point in the offseason, there aren't a lot of options available. And most of the best candidates may come internally.

That said, the Red Sox will want to make sure that none of those internal candidates, namely Ron Roenicke, were involved in any sort of sign stealing during Cora's Red Sox tenure.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

And just how would they do that? Lou Merloni offered up a potential solution on NBC Sports Boston's Early Edition on Thursday night.

"What you do is you don't even name the manager," Merloni said. "You go into spring training if you have to, whenever this investigation is over. Roenicke runs the team. [Jason] Varitek has more responsibility in camp.

"And when the report comes out -- and if it's what they believe it is, that they're clean -- then Roenicke's the manager, 'Tek's the bench coach and you go from there with no promises of the future and you just say this is the way we go. I think that's the easiest transition for everyone in that locker room."

This definitely would be a sensible route for the team to take. Essentially, they can have Roenicke continue to serve as the manager without officially naming him the manager until they know the results of the investigation.

And according to Merloni, the team does believe that Roenicke and other members of their staff are clean and as a result, the team won't be punished.

"I'm hearing that they believe they are [going to get off scot-free]," Merloni said. "They believe that what they're told is true and that they didn't do anything. And if they didn't do anything, there's no reason for punishment."

It's unclear exactly when the MLB's investigation will be complete, but this will certainly be something to watch moving forward. For the time being though, the Red Sox seem content to stick with what they have provided that everything comes back clean.