Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello was roughed up early, but the Red Sox clawed back of a 4-0 first inning hole to beat the Phillies 6-5 on a Dustin Pedroia single in the 11th inning.
The night started as poorly as possible, with Porcello giving up back-to-back hits to leadoff hitter Odubel Herrera and old favorite Daniel Nava, who hit a double to put runners at second and third. Aaron Altherr struck out and Howie Kendrick grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Herrera nabbed at home. WIth two outs, it looked like Porcello might actually escape the danger unscathed.
He didn’t. Three consecutive hits by Tommy Joseph, Andres Blanco and Maikel Franco gave the Phillies a bucket of runs before the Sox even got to back. It also brought out the boo-birds in full force, who are perhaps fed up by Porcello’s uncanny ability to give up hits:
42 hits in 26 innings is hard to do! https://t.co/V6kyn6f3ho— Matthew Kory (@mattymatty2000) June 12, 2017
As if that wasn’t all bad enough, the Sox wasted a Mookie Betts leadoff double to begin the game, with Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts and Mitch Moreland subsequently being retired in order by Phillies starter Jerad Eickoff. On the bright side, Porcello had a relatively breezy top of the second, with only Nava managing a two-out, first-pitch single to left-center. He’d be stranded when Altherr flew out to center field.
That’s when Andrew Benintendi led off the bottom of the second with a solo donger, also to center, which put the Sox on the board and cut Philly’s lead to 4-1:
It’s nice to see Bennie heating up along with the weather, but Hanley Ramirez was not as of this point, and he followed up with a groundout to second. The scorching-hot Jackie Bradley Jr. walked, but Josh Rutledge and Sandy Leon struck out to end the threat.
Porcello’s bad night could have continued in the third when Kendrick led off with a two-strike single to center, but he subsequently got Joseph to pop up to first base after two pickoff attempts. He then kept up the pickoffs against Blanco, with three more — he was really worried about Kendrick, I guess — and maybe it threw off Blanco’s timing, because he struck out swinging. The inning looked to be over when Franco grounded to first base, but Mitch Moreland let it through his legs for an error, extending the inning and sending Kendrick into scoring position for all of about 30 seconds before Andrew Knapp grounded out.
The leadoff barrage continued for Boston in the third, when Betts again doubled, a ground-rule job to left, to start things off and then, to show he meant business, stole third base. An RBI fielder’s choice by Pedroia cut Philly’s lead to 4-2. After Bogaerts struck out swinging, Moreland ripped a single to center. A wild pitch sent him to second, at which point Benintendi did his thing again, also singling to center on a fastball to cut the lead to 4-3. Bonus: He advanced to second on the (close) throw home! But Ramirez grounded out to third to end the inning.
Porcello got Freddy Galvis to fly out to center to start the fourth on two pitches, then Herrera grounded out to third, also on two pitches. Nava then singled to left... but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double by Benintendi, who was having quite a game by that point, and whose arm got Porcello out of the inning on a scant nine pitches. Red Sox Nation was happy:
I LOVE ANDREW BENINTENDI. I LOVE ANDREW BENINTENDI. I LOVE ANDREW BENINTENDI. I LOVE ANDREW BENINTENDI. I LOVE ANDREW BENINTENDI.— Mario Ferretti (@MFerrettiESPN) June 13, 2017
Eickoff, who was struggling, barely got had time to breath before Boston got another crack at him. Could they break through?
Yes! Bradley reached on an error by Kendrick to start the frame, but then Rutledge struck out looking on a slow 1-2 curveball that froze him solid. (Hitting righties isn’t exactly his thing.) Leon then laced a single up the middle, just out of Kendrick’s reach, to put runners on the corners with one out. It was then, in the fourth inning, that Betts hit his third double of the game, scoring Bradley and tying the game at 4. Pedroia would fly out to center in the next at-bat, and the lead-footed Leon would be thrown out trying to score.
Unfortunately, the Sox had barely returned to the field before Altherr hit a leadoff double and Kendrick singled to knock him in. Joseph then absolutely laced a ball to right field that Betts just managed to track down going to his left in a pretty damn wonderful play:
This Markus Lynn Betts guy can cover some ground pic.twitter.com/JSZSG8tGRA— Dan O'Mara (@Dan_OMara) June 13, 2017
Kendrick then attempted a stolen base, and when Leon made an absolute bullseye of a throw to Bogaerts in plenty of time it looked good for the half-second before Bogey plain dropped the ball. Blanco walked on the next pitch, and Kendrick later stole third easily (his third steal of the game, too) when Leon couldn’t get off a clean throw over Franco who, for his part, lined out to Bogaerts on the next pitch. Knapp lined at Bogey just after that and Xander managed to grab it on the short-hop and make a nice throw to Moreland to end the half-inning.
Bogey also led off the fifth; he grounded out to third. Moreland flew out to center. Benintendi, finally looking human, struck out. If Eickoff had been on the ropes, he had gotten a temporary reprieve.
Porcello came out to start the sixth and pounded the left-handed hitting Galvis high and outside before getting him to ground out 3-1. He then K’ed Herrera swinging and finally got Nava out for the first time on the evening, albeit on a scorcher to Pedroia. Once plodding, the game was starting to move along swiftly. Along those lines, Hanley promptly flew out to Nava in left to start the bottom of the inning.
Then Bradley walked on four pitches, and it looked like something might be brewing, especially when Rutledge laced a ball toward third base that looked like it could go for for extra bases if it made it out of the infield. It didn’t, and the Phillies tried for the double play, but they couldn’t finish it, and Kendrick threw the ball away. Rutledge moved to second, but he’d stay there when Leon grounded out to Galvis at short to end the inning.
Fan favorite Joe Kelly would replace Porcello, who left with a decent final line given that he was down 4-0 after three outs:
Porcello: 6 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, BB, 4 K.— Sam Leweck (@samleweck) June 13, 2017
Kelly would get Altherr to pop out to the foul side of first base, but Kendrick would follow with a hard-hit single up the gut. Joseph flew out to center, and Kelly got Blanco to ground out to third base on a 3-2 count to send the game to the bottom of the seventh, when the Sox would face submariner righty and avid baseball card collector Pat Neshek.
Betts would single to center to open the inning (putting him at 4-4 for the night with 7 total bases) before Pedroia popped out to short and Bogaerts grounded into a double play faster than I could switch back from the basketball game.
Robby Scott replaced Kelly in the eighth and walked Franco on a 3-2 count to open the inning. Oops. This again brought up Knapp, someone I definitely had heard of prior to this evening someone who had also gotten robbed by Bogaerts a half an hour earlier, and he struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Galvis flew out to Mookie and Scott threw a wild pitch to Herrera, putting Franco at second, but Herrera lined out to Moreland to end the threat.
Joaquin Benoit, who has a secure place in Red Sox lore, came on to pitch the eighth for Philly and got Moreland to strike out and Benintendi to ground out to second before Hanley Ramirez did this:
Hanley Ramirez with a HR over everything in left to tie the score a 5 pic.twitter.com/dE34SXA9Aa— Boston Sports Info (@bostonsportsinf) June 13, 2017
I will not be shushed! 5-5! Tie game! 452 feet!, 111.7 MPH? I’ll take it. Keep it going? Sure! Bradley singled to follow Ramirez, but then Pablo Sandoval, making his first at-bat since Friday, flew out to right field (he’d replace Rutledge at 3B). Still: All knotted up headed to the ninth.
The best reliever in the American League then entered the game and did what he does. Craig Kimbrel got Nava to line out to third then struck out Altherr before Kendrick also grounded to third... only this time, Sandoval couldn’t come up with the ball, because he’s bad at fielding it, which is partially why hasn’t been playing. Kimbrel had two strikes on Joseph when Kendrick went for his fourth stolen base of the night and was just thrown out by Leon in a play that the Phillies unsuccessfully challenged. The Sox now had a chance to walk it off. The first inning felt like ages ago.
Casey Fien would pitch for the Phillies, and I totally knew who he was too, for sure. Leon struck out on four pitches. Then Betts made an out (the horror!) and it was up to Pedroia to attempt to end the game in the normal allotment of innings. He absolutely hammered a ball off the Green Monster that, if it was five feet higher, would have ended the game; instead, he hit it so hard it went for a single base, which left the problem to the 0-4 Bogaerts. He’d fly weakly out to center. 0 for 5.
It was at this point Matt Barnes replaced Kimbrel to start the 10th, for which one could preemptively have blamed the Panda:
Barnes has the 10th. Kimbrel done after his 16-pitch ninth.— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) June 13, 2017
Joseph, of course, singled on the second pitch he saw, but Barnes got Blanco to strike out before leaving a spicy changeup to Franco up on the first pitch. Franco doubled to right by Mookie made a ridiculous play to limit the damage, and the Phillies pinch-ran Ty Kelly for Joseph to get some speed on third base. Barnes stayed away, away, away to Knapp and, in a huge spot, got him to strike out swinging. Then he got Galvis to strike out swinging. Barnes isn’t always a good pitcher, not even in the same appearance, but that was huge.
With the 4-5-6 hitters coming up, the Sox could be forgiven for thinking they could end it in the first extra inning, again against Fien. Moreland led off with a single to right, and it looked like they were in business. Benintendi followed with a single of his own, and there were runners at first and second with no outs for Ramirez. He hit into a fielder’s choice at third base, which kept runners at first and second for Bradley. In a certifiably crazy play, Bradley flew out in the sliver of foul territory in left field and Benintendi, understandably caught sleeping, was double off second base. By Nava. Rats, but respect.
Herrera singled off Barnes to open the 11th, bringing up the inescapable Nava, who waited through four pickoff attempts to fly out to left. Altherr struck out, as did Kendrick after a long at-bat, and reflexively making fun of Barnes feels stupid now. Especially as the game continued ad infinitum, though they had every reason to hurry:
#RedSox should not delay with the winning. Only relievers left — Abad, Boyer, Hembree — all worked yesterday. 2 IP each for Abad and Boyer.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) June 13, 2017
Oh man this happened quick. Still against Fien. So, Panda singled, was pinch run for by Deven Marrero. Sandy Leon sac bunted, Marrero to second. Mookie Betts was intentionally walked. Dustin Pedroia, men on first and second, one out... single to right. Marrero dives under the tag. 6-5, Sox win. The sun will shine tomorrow. This sport is the best.