When in the course of human events your editor wants to see a Portland Sea Dogs game in person instead of sitting in front of his computer all night, you do the Red Sox recap on Over The Monster Dot Com, or so I’m told. Without further adieu here’s what happened in Boston’s 2-1 win:
Top: Mookie got booed to start things. Rude. First pitch popout against Nick Pivetta, though, so it worked. Andrew Benintendi put together a good 10-pitch at-bat but struck out on a pretty fastball down and in, then Mitch Moreland grounded into the shift on the first pitch to finish the half-frame.
Bottom: Rick Porcello, fresh off a dogshit loss in Canada, struck out César Hernández looking to start things and got Nick Williams to ground to short on the first pitch. That brought up onetime Sox trade target Asdrubal Cabrera, a favorite of this writer, who struck out. See? He’s great.
Top: J.D. Martinez led off with a single to left, because of course he did. Xander Bogaerts then smoked a ball to Maikel Franco at third, but it led to a double play, which is sad and bad. Rafael Devers struck out, and it was also sad and bad.
Bottom: Rhys Hoskins came up and popped out to Beni, but this being Philly, it almost make the warning track. (Can you BELIEVE these stadiums with short left fields? The mind BOGGLES.) Carlos Santana struck out on a nasty-as-hell cut fastball on the inside corner on a 2-2 count, and it made me feel gooey. Maikel Franco got out while I was doing something else so I can’t tell you what happened. But that was it.
Top: Eduardo Núñez struck out like he does against most decent righties — sorry if this offends. Sandy León then hit one a BILLION FEET and it was 1-0 Red Sox. Rick Porcello, the pitcher, then hit a first-pitch double to right field, I shit you not. (This team is truly something else.) That brought up the MVP-in-waiting in Betts, who ran the count full before walking to put runners on first and second for Beni. He worked it full before grounding into a double play, which ended the inning and I did not like.
Bottom: Odubel Herrera went down 0-2, ran the count full then grounded out to second. Jorge Aflaro was up next, and he struck out looking. This being the NL, Pivetta then struck out. Good times.
Top: Moreland, whose second half has been not so great, fouled out on the first pitch. Martinez came up and, being arguably the best hitter in baseball... struck out. What? Damn. Anyhow, Bogaerts hit one off Franco’s glove that was belatedly ruled an error, but he was on first either way when Devers struck out swinging.
Bottom: Little late to note this, but Porcello still had a perfect game going when Hernández grounded out to second. Williams ran the count to 2-2 before striking out on an inside curveball that was nasty as canned tuna. Cabrera then struck out looking to keep the PERFECT GAME alive. Yeah, I didn’t/don’t care about the jinx. The faster the better.
Top: The important thing to me is that this inning started at 8:12. [Chef kisses fingers] That Núñez grounded out to start it didn’t surprise me, nor did León’s groundout to second to follow. Porcello then struck out, which was good because I wrote that he did before I had to get up and go do a chore.
Bottom: The Phillies still hadn’t gotten on base when Hoskins ended the shutout, no-hitter and perfect game with a solo homer to right on a hanging curve to make it 1-1. It happens. Santana then grounded out into the shift, so things stabilized a bit, but then Porcello ran the count full on the free-swinging Franco, which is hard to do. He’d ground out to the right side, at least. Herrera then came up and singled to right, giving the Phillies their first baserunner. Alfaro grounded back to Porcello, though, so things stayed tied.
Top: Mookie flied out to right as I was peeing, which, which... butts. Beni went down 0-2 but battled back to 2-2 before ripping a ball straight into Santana’s glove at first, which also happens, but is... unfortunate. Moreland then flew out to the deepest part of the park in right center, a loud out, signifying nothing. More butts.
Bottom: Roman Quinn pinch-hit for Pivetta and popped out to shallow left on the first pitch, which, thanks brah, on both accounts. Hernández struck out again and I liked that, too. Williams struck out too, giving Porcello 9 K’s through 6. That’s good!
Top: Martinez led off against the righty specialist and autograph fiend Pat Neshek and... he struck out. Bogaerts laced it to right field but it wasn’t enough — another out. Devers ran the count to 3-1, which felt like a win, before running it full and walking in order to give Núñez an opportunity. He laced it to right on the first pitch for out number three. GRRR.
Bottom: Porcello was still on the bump with a mere 79 pitches when the frame began, and he got Cabrera to fly out to shallow left on the second pitch. Hoskins flied out to right on a 2-1 pitch, which, phew. That brought up Santana, who struck out to give Porcello 10 K’s on the night, a season high.
Top: León struck out against reliever Tommy Hunter, but then Brock Holt pinch-hit for Porcello and POUNDED THE SHIT out of it on the first pitch off the second deck, 424 feet, for a 2-1 Sox lead. Betts followed up with a double to left, but Beni flied out on the first pitch, continuing a decidedly cold spell for him. Moreland ran the count full as Betts took third but flew out to left to end it.
Bottom: Heath Hembree relieved Porcello to face Franco, who grounded back out to the pitcher for the first out. The always dangerous Herrera ran the count to 2-2 before he was called out on strikes on a pitch that actually hit him; it was that far inside, and he just couldn’t hold up, and the Phillies were mad, but hey, rules are rules. Alfaro ran the count full before striking out, sending the game to the ninth at a remarkably early 9:22 p.m.
Top: Victor Arano came on to face Martinez, who grounded out to third on a 3-2 pitch. Bogaerts followed with his own grounder to third, but Franco couldn’t barehand it to first and the Sox had an extremely rare baserunner. Dever lined out to deep left... but it was still an out. Núñez grounded to second and created a fielder’s choice, and that was that.
Bottom: Craig Kimbrel came on, after his recent struggles, to face the recently acquired (and dangerous) Justin Bour. He walked him (Bour was pinch-run for by Scott Kingery), and it was the first Boston walk all night. Wonderful. Hernández flew out to left, which was good, and Williams went 0-2 as Kimbrel tried to pick off Kingery again and again. Eventually, Williams lined out to Bogaerts to bring the Sox within an out of victory with Cabrera coming to the plate. Kingery stole second, but with the count 2-2 on Asdrubal, Kimbrel got him to strike out on a dropped strike three they got at first. Phew! Yay. Bye.