Story (4 hits), Duvall (3-run HR) in sync for series win

On Sunday, during a hot and steamy afternoon at Fenway Park, the Sox saw the benefits of having both right-handed hitters in the middle of the lineup.

With Story batting third and Duvall in the five hole, the duo led the Red Sox to a 6-3 victory over the Tigers in the rubber match of a three-game series.

In particular, Story stood out. The shortstop, playing in just his fifth game of the season, showed off his full skill set. Story went 4-for-4 that included three doubles, two runs and two stolen bases.

“Definitely more comfortable,” Story said. “The at-bats are a lot better and I’m more consistent with the timing. And driving the ball the other way, that’s always a good sign for me. I can catch breaking balls in front and maybe pull them. Yes, it’s a great moment for me and I’m definitely happy with the last two days.”

At his best, Story was always good at filling a score. He took it to the extreme on a Sunday that will go down in the annals of Red Sox history. Story joined John Valentin (June 13, 1995) and Dom DiMaggio (April 20, 1941) as the only players in club history to record at least three extra base hits and two stolen bases in the same game.

“It’s awesome, honestly, to have him back on the field,” said Red Sox right-hander Kutter Crawford, who held the Tigers to two runs over 4 2/3 innings. “We know what he is capable of. He’s great at the club. He is a great teammate. The big goal was to get him back on the pitch and I think the rest will take care of itself.”

While Story makes the difference in every way on a baseball field, Duvall’s clear strength is his power. And he showed it with a three-run rocket that soared over the Green Monster and onto Lansdowne Road as part of a four-RBI day.

The homer came off Duvall’s bat at 106.9 mph and traveled a Statcast-predicted 403 feet. It obviously wasn’t a Fenway-only homer. per Statcast, he would have left all 30 MLB parks.

“I haven’t watched it much,” Duvall said, “but it feels good to know, with that wall at 310 [feet], that he is going to go. Anytime you can get the barrel to that side of the court, he’s got a chance.”

With the win, the Sox remain three games behind the Blue Jays for third place in the American League Wild Card. Boston is also two games behind the Mariners as the first team out of the final AL Wild Card spot pending the outcome of Seattle’s game with Baltimore on Sunday.

After years of playing against each other in the National League, Story and Duvall are relishing the opportunity to play together.

“Being on the same team and seeing the impact it has on the lineup, it’s real,” Story said. “And I think more or less our lineup is very dangerous, and [Duvall’s] a huge part of that, and it showed today.”

Duvall’s job as a hitter is easier when the speedy Story is on base, giving opposing pitchers something else to worry about.

“To get two stolen bases there [in the third] and then I was able to throw a punch in it was nice,” said Duvall, who later had Story walk home ahead of him at home. “Having him, he’s a threat on the bases, which is good. He’s just an athlete.”

With Story and Duvall — who missed two months this season with a left wrist injury — in the lineup together, the Red Sox have a more formidable offense against lefties, as Eduardo Rodriguez learned the hard way Sunday. For much of the season, the balance of the club’s lineup has tilted significantly to the left.

“It felt good, just from an offensive team, and overall, we had a lot of opportunities with runners on and we were able to cash in there,” Duvall said. “I felt like we were in a groove on offense.”

The Sox will look to stay in that groove as they embark on a three-city road trip in which they will face the Nationals, Yankees and Astros.

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