It wasn't a pretty game, but Boston pipped Chicago Sunday afternoon with seven runs to six, completing their sweep of the paler Sox in Fenway Park.
This, really, was a tale of two halves: a barnburner beginning, and a stingy ending. At first, it really seemed like the Red Sox would be able to walk away with an easy win as they took advantage of the wild Andre Rienzo. After stranding a pair of runners in the second inning, the Sox cashed in on Rienzo in a big way in the second. Once again facing a two-on, two-out situation, Chicago's starting pitcher just could not come up with a third out, allowing a two-run single to Jacoby Ellsbury, and walking both Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia to load the bases. With Rienzo having just thrown eight-of-eleven pitches for balls, David Ortiz was all over the first pitch strike, smacking a rocket of a ground ball into right field to make it 4-0.
With Stephen Drew adding a fifth run on a solo shot to center field, the game felt generally over. Felix Doubront, after all, had been on a fine roll through the first three frames. But the fourth proved an absolute disaster. After striking out Leury Garcia to start the inning, Doubront completely lost the ability to put batters away. Despite starting out both Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko with 0-2 counts, Doubront would give up a pair of singles, followed by a full count walk to load the bases.
Doubront would finally get his second out of the inning on a sacrifice fly that made it 5-1, but the third would be a long time in coming. Once again failing to put away batters away, Doubront surrendered a wall ball double to Dayan Viciedo, and singles to Conor Gillaspie and Tyler flowers, each with two strikes. By the time Brandon Workman finally got the Red Sox out of the inning, it was a one-run game at 5-4.
Then things got a little weird. In the bottom of the inning, with Jacoby Ellsbury ninety feet away, Dustin Pedroia hit a line drive to Connor Gillaspie at third base. Gillaspie made the grab, held onto the ball as he hit the ground, then made a lunge for third to try and tag the bag before Ellsbury could get back. As he lunged, though, Gillaspie lost the ball, and third base umpire Paul Nauert ruled that the catch hadn't been made, prompting a throw to first from Gillaspie which completely missed the mark, allowing Ellsbury to score and Pedroia to reach second.
That David Ortiz followed up that mess of a play with a hit meant at least one run would have scored either way, but given how the game ended, that extra run from Pedroia ends up looking awfully big. Because while the bullpen did enough to hold on, they only did just enough, with Brandon Workman allowing a fifth Chicago run in the top of the fifth, and Craig Breslow surrendering a solo shot to Tyler Flowers in the eighth, leaving the Red Sox with just a one-run lead as the Chicago bullpen finally quieted Boston's lineup.
Thankfully, though, the Sox were able to get it to the ninth, where Koji waited for the save, automatic as ever.
A sloppy game, and a few scary incidents given that by the end of the game both Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino were out of the game. But John Farrell says neither situation is serious, with both outfielders possibly ready to play again as soon as tomorrow, and the final score had Boston on top. September may have fired a warning shot, but it started out, on the whole, with a positive note.
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