The Red Sox fell to the Yankees 3-1 Tuesday night thanks to one big error from Travis Shaw.
Honestly, whenever the deciding runs are the result of a defensive gaffe, inevitably a bit too much emphasis is placed on that error. And this game is no different. Yes, the one big moment of the game came in the fifth. Rick Porcello had been cruising, and not just in old school Rick Porcello fashion.It wasn't ground ball after ground ball, but strikeout after strikeout. Getting ahead of batter after batter, Porcello would retire five of the first six men he faced by way of the K.
Two more strikeouts in the fourth would leave Porcello with seven before the fifth began, and after a leadoff single from Alex Rodriguez, he sat down Chase Headley and Greg Bird to make it nine strikeouts and get him within an out of escaping the inning.
Then came the error. A ground ball from Didi Gregorius straight past Travis Shaw and into right field. It should have been out three. Instead, it put runners on the corners for Stephen Drew. And for once, Porcello found himself behind in the count 2-0. His third pitch was a changeup that stayed too high, and Drew lined it into left field. In the blink of an eye, we went from inning over to lead gone.
That is the story of the game. Also the story of the game--the one that will be less frequently told--nine innings with just one run from the offense. On a night where Rick Porcello was striking out just about everyone who came to the plate, Michael Pineda was doing a fine job of keeping up. Only Jackie Bradley Jr. seemed capable of doing some damage, doubling in the third to set up Pablo Sandoval for an RBI single that put the Red Sox ahead 1-0, and doing the same in the fifth before Mookie Betts struck out to end the inning. Unfortunately, when he had the chance to make the difference in the seventh, with Brock Holt and Blake Swihart reaching base to start the inning, he would be the one falling victim to the strikeout to end the frame.
It could certainly be worse, ultimately. If the Red Sox lost, Rick Porcello backed up his successful return with a fantastic performance on the mound against a contender. That, and big hits from JBJ on a night where there was precious little offense to be had are the sort of things that give fans reason to hope that 2016 will be different. No small comfort even on a night when, yes, the Red Sox lost to the Yankees.