With just 10 games left to do its worst, the 2014 season has delivered one of the most hilariously awful endings to a Red Sox game yet with Boston unable to bring home the tying run from third with nobody out in the ninth.
For having such a remarkable ending, this was an entirely unremarkable game. As they have for most of this series, the Pirates looked like the better team early on, scoring in the bottom of the first as Brandon Workman found himself the victim of a nickle-and-dime attack. Christian Vazquez managed to erase a leadoff single from Josh Harrison, gunning down the Pirates' third baseman at second, but Will Middlebrooks made up for the catcher's good defense with his own bad, allowing Andrew McCutchen to reach on an error after Travis Snider drew a walk. A well-placed, poorly-hit infield single from Starling Marte kept the inning alive, and Workman couldn't find the strike zone against Ike Davis, bringing home a run with the bases loaded walk.
It was actually quite the mess of an inning, but the Pirates found themselves up by just a run. but the night would actually not be a complete loss for Brandon Workman. In fact, compared to the performances of Ranaudo and Buchholz before him, Workman turned in a fairly solid night on the mound. He managed to limit damage in the fourth inning to one more run after allowing the first three batters to reach, once again hurt by an infield single--albeit one he himself could not handle this time. Then, in the fifth, it was a none-too-fast fastball golfed out of the bottom of the zone by Starling Marte for a solo shot that pegged Workman for his third run (second earned) of the night.
Still, it was a serviceable performance from Workman once he got back under control after the first. He hasn't really had many of those lately, making it noteworthy if not particularly impressive.
The offense, unfortunately, was not capable of making anything out of it. Mookie Betts got the Red Sox back into a tie game in the fourth, singling Christian Vazquez home and even stealing second base before Xander Bogaerts grounded out to end the inning. Bogaerts would later manage to cash in on an RBI opportunity, but only with a sacrifice fly in the eighth, leaving the Red Sox still trailing by a run come the ninth.
And there? There, to borrow an underused phrase, it all went pear-shaped. The first three batters of the inning technically reached base for the Red Sox. Allen Craig was hit by a pitch, with Jemile Weeks pinch-running, and Daniel Nava followed it up with a base hit to move him to third. Will Middlebrooks, too, produced what will go down in the record books as a single.
The only problem? That single hit Jemile Weeks as he dove back to the bag. In fair territory. That left Weeks as the first out of the inning, pushing the tying run back 90 feet to second base where it would stay, with Jackie Bradley Jr. being called out on a borderline strike and Christian Vazquez grounding to second to end the game.
The tying run hit at third by a batted ball in fair territory for the first out of the inning. 2014, you've outdone yourself in the worst possible way.