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Daily Red Sox Links: A Visit to Citizens Bank Park

A first-hand report from game one of a two-game set between the Red Sox and Phillies. Plus Sandy Leon and Brock Holt shine and working on Craig Kimbrel.

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When the Boston Red Sox visited the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park last night, Over The Monster was on the scene, or at least I was. I arrived at the park, one I have been to before, around six with thunder clouds looming overhead. Luckily, despite a few drops of rain on the way to the park, there was no rain delay of any kind.

Entering the park on the third base side provided ample people-watching opportunities. I can confirm that the Red Sox continue to travel well, as there was nearly as much Red Sox merchandise being sported as there was for the home-town Phillies. Some pieces that stood out in particular were a shirt that simply said “David Price is Good,” which was worn by a brilliant minded individual. Kudos also go out to the fan in a Daniel Bard jersey and the guy who was rocking a Pedro Martinez Montreal Expos jersey. Along with the Red Sox and Phillies supporters, there were a few random fans wearing Yankees garb. I guess they just wanted everyone to know who they weren’t rooting for in the game.

Sitting in the right field stands provided a solid view of the park, except for fly balls deep into right and right-center. The section I sat in was, like the people walking in, mixed between the Sox and Phillies, which is why a “Let’s go Red Sox” chant broke out early in the game and was showered with boos. It wasn’t the last time that would happen, with Sox fans in attendance starting the cheer and Phillies fans answering with a chorus of boos throughout the night.

When Sandy Leon hit a solo home run in the third inning, some mild trash talk started flying, most notably with reference to the Philadelphia Eagles’ win over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Well played, Phillies fans, well played. Rick Porcello’s double right after Leon’s home run helped transition us back to baseball thankfully.

The largest cheer of the night came, fittingly considering the location, when Rhys Hoskins hit a solo home run off Porcello to lead off the fifth. I blame myself for that one because I was in line for a hot dog and a Sprite when it happened. The Phillies never scored when I wasn’t getting concessions, so I apologize for that. In all seriousness, even from my somewhat distant vantage point, Porcello looked exceptional last night, striking out 10 over seven one-run innings.

Brock Holt’s go-ahead home run in the top of the eighth caused the Sox fans around me to stand up and for more noted tension to fill the atmosphere. That tension was not lifted until Craig Kimbrel finally struck out Asdrubel Cabrera to earn his 36th save of the season.

A tidy game, clocking in at less than three hours, this was a surprising pitching duel in South Philly which the Red Sox won. They are now 86-35 and nothing seems capable of stopping them. Maybe that’s what kept the rain clouds away.

As evidenced by their play last night, guys like Brock Holt and Sandy Leon are helping the Red Sox right along with Mookie Betts, Chris Sale and J.D. Martinez. (Chris Cotillo; MassLive)

Even though Kimbrel got the save last night, he had some issues. What’s behind them? (Jen McCaffrey; The Athletic) ($$)

Porcello smashes doubles sometimes, but Alex Cora would prefer he didn’t slide headfirst. (Chris Cotillo; MassLive)

Ian Kinsler is nearing a return. (Julian Benbow; Boston Globe)

The stretch run for the Sox is going to come with some more difficult games. (Jen McCaffrey; The Athletic) ($$)