This was the game of the year so far and one of the wildest games I can remember. It was a complete rollercoaster that looked all but lost a couple of times. Steven Wright dug this team into a couple of big holes, but the offense worked its way out. J.D. Martinez certainly led that effort, but there were contributions from the entire lineup. While the offense will get most of the buzz — and for good reason they scored 14 dang runs! — the bullpen deserves a major shutout for tossing 5 2⁄3 scoreless innings to give the lineup a chance to come back at all. This was a lot of fun.
This game was absolutely wild from the start, but unfortunately it went against the Red Sox more often than it worked in their favor. For the first time in what seems like forever, they got a total dud from their starter. Wright had been incredible in his first three starts of the season, but it was abundantly clear from the very beginning that he had absolutely nothing tonight. Unfortunately, Alex Cora ignored those signals and left him in too long. On a positive note, the Red Sox offense did not succumb to Wade LeBlanc again and at least made it interesting when it seemed like it would be anything but.
Like I said, Wright had nothing from the very beginning and the Mariners went to work right away in the top of the first. Dee Gordon lined a single into center field. Denard Span smacked a one-out single of his own, and then Nelson Cruz absolutely demolished a knuckleball that stayed up in the zone. In the blink of an eye, the Red Sox were down 3-0. Two batters later, Ryon Healy would get a fat knuckler of his own and he did the same thing, smashing a solo shot over everything in left field to put Seattle up 4-0 after one.
Given that torrid start, the Red Sox’ struggles against lefties and LeBlanc’s utter domination of Boston last weekend, things were bleak. However, the Red Sox lineup came back in a hurry. Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi contributed back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the first, and J.D. Martinez drove Betts in with a double. 4-1. Mitch Moreland then ripped a single of his own. 4-2. After the first out of the inning was recorded, Brock Holt got the action back going with a double. 4-3. Rafael Devers then grounded out to knock in another run (4-4) before Christian Vazquez smoked a ground-rule double out in the triangle and the Red Sox somehow had a one-run lead after a wild first inning.
Unfortunately, Wright picked up right where he left off in the second. Andrew Romine reached on a one-out single, moved over to second on a passed ball, and after a Gordon walk Romine came home on a single. The play at the plate was close and reviewed, but ultimately upheld. Cruz would come through with another RBI single later in the inning, and the Mariners took the lead right back.
The Red Sox looked like they were ready to continue the back-and-forth in the bottom of the second, but instead they simply frustrated. Betts would draw a leadoff walk and Martinez doubled to put a pair in scoring position with nobody out, but Moreland and Bogaerts failed to come through and at least tie the game. The Red Sox would follow that up with a pair of innings in which only three batters came to the plate, and that in-game slump would prove costly.
It proved costly because Wright was trusted to continue pitching, and while he rewarded that trust with a 1-2-3 third, it was clear it wouldn’t last long. In the fourth, the wheels fell off. Romine got another single to lead things off, and again went to second on a passed ball. After a walk, Span smashed a double into the left-center field gap and the Mariners had another run with two on for Cruz. The Mariners slugger already had a mammoth home run to go with an RBI single and Brian Johnson was warm. Despite that, Wright stayed in (he should have been removed eons ago, but at the very least he should not have been in for this at bat) and the result was predictable. Cruz got ahold of another one, sending it into the Monster Seats and Seattle had a 10-5 lead. That would mercifully be it for Wright.
Johnson was in for Wright, and he settled things down for a bit. He got through the rest of that fourth inning, worked around a bad luck-induced bases loaded situation in the fifth, then tossed a scoreless sixth.
Meanwhile, the offense was trying to put forth another unexpected comeback. They got a nice little rally going in the bottom of the fifth when Moreland and Holt hit singles to bring Rafael Devers up with two on and one out. He’d poke a single of his own to score one run and bring Vazquez up in the same situation. The catcher worked a good at bat against new pitcher James Pazos, but ultimately couldn’t keep the inning going.
In the sixth, they kept the pressure on. It actually appeared to be a quick inning for the Red Sox, as they quickly recorded two outs. After that, though, things picked up. Benintendi worked a walk, and Martinez continued a huge day at the plate. Pazos threw the slugger a high fastball, and while it was out of the zone it was also only 89 mph. That won’t work against Martinez, and he hit it out into the seats in straightaway center field. After that, Moreland smashed a triple into the triangle — his third triple of the year! — and would come in to score on a Xander Bogaerts single. Just like that, the Red Sox were only down 10-9, and Bogaerts quickly got himself into scoring position with a stolen base. Unfortunately, he’d be stranded there and we headed to the seventh with the same score.
Matt Barnes came in and tossed a 1-2-3 seventh, and the Red Sox had a chance to at least tie the game going up against Juan Nicasio. They got a nice rally going when Devers led off with a single, Blake Swihart came through with a one-out single and Betts followed it up with a walk. That loaded the bases for Benintendi with one out, and he came through with an RBI bloop single to tie the game. That brought up Martinez, and he did it again. This time, it was a single through the middle to score two more and somehow, some way, the Red Sox were up 12-10. They’d get another when Benintendi came in on a wild pitch, and then another wild pitch and a single would add yet another. It was 14-10 after seven.
We should also note, on a more negative note, that Bogaerts left the game in this inning. Eduardo Núñez came up to hit in his spot as the shortstop hurt himself on the sixth-inning stolen base. It’s being called a left index finger sprain.
Joe Kelly came on for the eighth, and while he walked a batter a double play ensured he’d only have to face three batters in a scoreless inning.
The ninth belonged to Craig Kimbrel to try and lock down this wild victory. He did just that with a 1-2-3 inning. What a game.
The Red Sox will look to turn this incredible victory into some momentum and clinch a series victory on Saturday. They’ll have Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound for that one and he’ll take on Mike Leake. First pitch is at 7:15 PM ET.