In their second-to-last game of the season, the Red Sox exploded for 10 runs, seven of them coming off of Masahiro Tanaka in a trainwreck outing that lasted less than two innings.
Before the first pitch, the story of this game was Derek Jeter, starting one of the last games of his career in Fenway Park and in general. Joe Kelly welcomed him to this penultimate game with a three-pitch strikeout in part of a 1-2-3 first inning, and before his second at bat came up, the game was effectively over.
It was clear from the beginning that Masahiro Tanaka was not at his best, still relatively fresh off the disabled list. Mookie Betts led off the game for the Red Sox with a double, then scored on back-to-back singles from Daniel Nava and Yoenis Cespedes. The Red Sox were only kept from putting a crooked number on the board in that first frame by some bad luck, with Allen Craig hitting the ball well, but right to Stephen Drew at short, allowing him to double Daniel Nava up off of second.
In the second, however, the defense did not bail Tanaka out, instead making things more difficult for the pitcher as he began to struggle with control. It was a four-pitch walk to Rusney Castillo that got the Sox started in the second, and a two-out single from Christian Vazquez that put them on the board after a Castillo stolen base. Needing just one out to escape the frame, Tanaka gave up another four-pitch walk to Mookie Betts, then watched as that third out of his bounced skipped under the glove of Brendan Ryan (whose effort could be called lackluster at best) for a Xander Bogaerts single. Another ground ball that could have been an out went instead for a single, with Daniel Nava hitting a ground ball down the first-base line that banged off of Chase Headley's glove, allowing two more runs to come in.
Yoenis Cespedes would put a fifth run on the board, singling home Xander Bogaerts and ending Tanaka's day in the process. At the very least, though, Tanaka would receive some assurance that the bad defense was nothing personal when Preston Claiborne watched Allen Craig hit a line drive to center fielder Eury Perez, who managed to overrun the ball and let it come off his glove for another Red Sox run. Garin Cecchini would add an RBI double and Rusney Castillo, the man who started it all, an RBI single to make it 9-0 Red Sox before the third out was mercifully recorded.
That was pretty much the ballgame. There were still some offensive feats to come, with Daniel Nava and Rusney Castillo finishing the game with three hits a piece, the former driving in a tenth Red Sox run after Xander Bogaerts led off the sixth with a double. But those eight second-inning runs are basically the long and short of things.
If there's one last thing worth mentioning, it's that while Joe Kelly finished the game with four earned runs in seven innings, three of those runs came from the eighth, when he allowed four singles--three of them on the ground, and two of those never leaving the infield--before Tommy Layne came in to surrender a big double to Stephen Drew. Not a dominant performance, but perhaps not as mediocre as it would appear.
The Red Sox will call it a season tomorrow after one last game against New York.