Mookie Betts has the first walkoff hit of his major league career, singling home Xander Bogaerts in the ninth to give the Red Sox a much-needed 6-5 win over the Blue Jays.
Coming off an 18-7 defeat in Baltimore, the Red Sox really needed to get off to a good start Monday night, if only to show that particular mess was left behind in Camden Yards. Instead, after a half-hour rain delay, Joe Kelly came out and surrendered three runs in the first on a pair of singles, a walk, and a double.
It's not hard to imagine the Red Sox crumbling in that scenario. It wasn't just that nothing had been going right for the team since the top of the 11th on Saturday night. It was just how wrong it had all gone. A walkoff loss leading into what will go down as one of the worst defeats of 2015 and now a 3-0 deficit right out of the gate? That's pretty soul crushing for just 11 innings of baseball.
And then Mookie Betts got caught stealing after a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first. The perfect cherry on top. But Dustin Pedroia drew another walk all the same, David Ortiz doubled, and Pablo Sandoval singled both of them home. The Red Sox had life.
Joe Kelly, for his part, had a night every bit as bizarre as you'd expect from, well, a member of this Red Sox rotation. It wasn't bad, exactly. Or at least as not-bad as a five-run effort can be. Maybe the delay got him off to a bad start, but after Russell Martin's double, Kelly got a fly ball from Michael Saunders, then struck out six of the next seven batters he faced.
That other batter? Devon Travis, who crushed a solo shot to center in the third. Then Kelly followed those six strike outs with a pair of walks to start the fourth, leading to a fifth Toronto run before getting a double play and striking out three more batters in a clean fifth and sixth. Somehow, Kelly managed to produce a mess and a gem in the same game. Unfortunately, when it comes to the scoreboard, it's the mess that takes precedent.
Good thing, then, that the Red Sox offense was still producing. Pablo Sandoval produced his second homer in as many nights in the fourth after a long drought to start the season, and then a good old fashioned defensive blunder gave the Red Sox another run when Mookie Betts doubled and came around to score on a Dustin Pedroia tapper that Aaron Sanchez threw away. Sandoval would later leave the game with a sore neck after making a diving play on a bunt pop-up.
Don't be fooled into thinking this is another instance of a better-lucky-than-good Red Sox lineup, though. The Jays' gloves saved more than they surrendered tonight thanks to a ridiculous eighth inning. Roberto Osuna would find himself in trouble immediately after entering the game for the Jays. Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia got ahead in the count and jumped on fastballs for a pair of singles, with Betts' of the extra bases anywhere but Fenway variety. David Ortiz likewise got ahead 2-0, but was given the base for free after a bouncing changeup got away from Russell Martin.
With the bases loaded and zero outs, the Red Sox had a golden opportunity to not just tie the game, but take a pretty significant lead. And the way Hanley Ramirez and Daniel Nava ended up hitting the ball, Koji Uehara should have been taking the mound in the ninth to close out the game with a comfortable lead. But Hanley Ramirez' line drive was stabbed just above the ground by a fully horizontal Dalton Pompey, and after Allen Craig struck out looking, a rocket off the bat of Daniel Nava was snagged out of mid-air by a leaping Josh Donaldson. The Sox got their tying run on Ramirez' line drive, with Betts tagging up and scoring from third. But it could very easily have been a much bigger inning but for a pair of highlight plays by Toronto.
It was an inning that would've haunted the Red Sox if Koji Uehara had not looked like the Koji Uehara of 2013 and most of 2014, striking out two and getting a pop-up to end the ninth. Or if the game had ended in an extra innings loss. But Boston's youngest (and one of their oldest) batters would not hear of it. After Brock Holt struck out swinging at a 2-2 changeup from Miguel Castro, Xander Bogaerts got the Sox a baserunner with a ground ball into left. Ryan Hanigan jumped on a first-pitch fastball for a single up the middle, moving Bogaerts to second, then both advanced on another bouncing pitch that got past Martin.
That wild pitch would turn out to be awfully important, as it drew the infield in to keep Bogaerts from scoring on a well-placed ground out. That opened up a hole up the middle, and Mookie Betts took full advantage of it, squeezing a bounding ground ball just to the right of Jose Reyes at short. With Bogaerts just 90 feet away, there was no play at the plate, just Hanley Ramirez delivering a Gatorade shower (if a slightly inaccurate one) to Mookie, the night's walkoff hero.