The first half of this game went fast and no one could do much. The second half was... different. You see the score in the headline. Here’s how it happened:
Top of the first
David Price started the game by getting Francisco Lindor to line out to right. Yandy Diaz fouled off a ball Mitch Moreland couldn’t quite reach near the stands, then grounded out to short. Jose Ramirez ran the count full before watching a perfect strike three on the inside corner. Price was dealing!
Bottom of the first
Leading MVP candidate Mookie Betts led off against Adam Plutko by striking out on three pitches. Andrew Benintendi ran the count to 3-0 before swinging away and coming up empty; he walked on the next pitch. Mitch Moreland popped to left on a 2-2 count that looked like a sure out, but Melky Cabrera couldn’t see the ball and it fell at his feet. Moreland reached, but was taken out of the game — he apparently messed himself up on that top of the first popup. Lovely.
Anyhow, J.D. Martinez fouled off two great pitches to hit before watching strike three on the outside corner. Oops! Xander Bogaerts fell into an 0-2 hole before waving at a fastball, and a great opportunity went by the wayside and the Sox lost their first baseman. So there was that.
Top of the second
Edwin Encarnacion, who hit two homers yesterday, ran the count full before chopping to Eduardo Núñez, who skipped a throw to get E5 by a foot. Cabrera, looking to atone for his boner in the field, instead struck out looking on a perfect fastball from Price. Brandon Guyer hit a 1-2 pitch to Núñez for an easy out, and it was onto the...
Bottom of the second
Brock Holt flew out to right on the first pitch. Eduardo Núñez ran the count full before swinging through a fastball to bring up Sandy León, who spoiled a few 1-2 pitches before getting a gift ball call to make it 2-2, but then he popped out.
Top of the third
Old man Jason Kipnis grounded out to second in no tie flat, bringing up Roberto Pérez. who Price blew away with a cutter on the hands. Greg Allen dunked a 1-1 single into right field, continuing his amazing series and ending Price’s no-hit bid and, most critically, bringing up Lindor with a man on base. Allen then got picked off first, but Blake Swihart, in place of Moreland, bobbled the transfer and Allen got to second without a throw. Price K’d Lindor swinging anyway. Good.
Bottom of the third
Jackie Bradley Jr. led off with a 1-2 single to right, bringing up Betts again. He grounded to shortstop, but the Tribe couldn’t turn the double play when Kipnis airmailed the throw to first and Encarnacion came off the bag. Betts tried to steal second but was n a i l e d by Pérez. Benintendi got under a 2-0 fastball and flew out to right, and it was onto the fourth with no score.
Top of the fourth
Diaz quickly popped out — the game was very fast at this point — to bring up Ramirez, destroyer of worlds. Price pushed him to 0-2 and got him to line to Bogaerts and before you knew it, Encarnacion flew out to Betts, ending the inning. As I said: Fast.
Bottom of the fourth
Swihart, making his first at-bat, grounded out to first. (At this point in the game, he was not yet good.) Martinez walked, but Bogaerts made an out so fast I didn’t see how. Holt walked, though, bringing up Núñez with two on, two out. He eventually laced one to center, but it was right at Allen, and the inning was over.
Top of the fifth
Cabrera tried bunting on the first pitch but pulled it foul and eventually struck out on a fastball outside. Price was living on the outside corner. Guyer popped it into short right and it looked like a hit but Holt juuuuust stretched for it to get the second out. Kipnis grounded out to Swihart at first to end it, and Price took his one-hitter to the sixth, after the...
Bottom of the fifth
León started things off by doing the “push it to 1-2 then start fouling everything off” thing before loping a soft ground-rule double to right. It was Boston’s third hit (and should have been their second, given that Cabrera’s early screwup was ruled a single). JBJ went into a quick 0-2 hole before lacing his own single to center, bringing up Betts with two on and no out with Plutko entering the third time through the order. This... this was good.
Mookie, who Dave O’Brien correctly said was “due,” hit an extremely high fly ball to left that Melky caught, and with the sluggish León on third, he didn’t try to score. Benintendi ran the count full before walking the bases full for Swihart with Plutko at 94 pitches, facing his last batter. Remember when I said Blake wasn’t good? Well, I was wrong! he doubled to bring home two runs to make it 2-0 Boston. Martinez was intentionally walked to end Plutko’s day, bringing on righty specialist Adam Cimber to face Bogaerts with the bases juiced and one out. Bogaerts send a chopper over Ramirez at third, bringing in two more runs to make it 4-0, Sox. Whee!
Holt was intentionally walked to bring up Núñez, who hit Cimber’s first pitch to right for another two-run double, making it 6-0, Sox. Oliver Perez relieved Cimber and got León, batting for the second time in the inning, to pop out on his first pitch. Bradley struck out to end the inning, but the damage was done.
Top of the sixth
My internet had a hiccup, and before I got back Price had already retired one batter and had another at 0-2. WTF. Allen then struck out on a pitch a foot outside for out No. 2. He was the only guy with a hit so far, remember. Lindor then flew out to right. Ho-hum.
Bottom of the sixth
Betts finally got on base, leading off the inning with a single to first off new pitcher Josh Tomlin. Benintendi flew out to center on the first pitch, though, bringing up Swihart, who had become good over the course of the afternoon. Yay! To that end, he singled to right to put runners on the corners for Martinez, who singled to collect his 109th RBI and make it 7-0 Sox. With runners on first and second and still just one out, Bogaerts struck out swinging on a full count. Holt singled to right on the first pitch to again load the bases for Núñez, who popped out on the first pitch
Top of the seventh
Diaz opened the inning by singling to right on the first pitch of the inning for Cleveland’s second hit. Ramirez then lined out to Núñez, also on the first pitch, but Eddy couldn’t pick Diaz off first. Encarnacion singled to left to give the Indians their first good scoring chance, putting ducks on first and second with one out for Cabrera. He laced the first pitch right at Bogaerts, who successfully turned two to end the threat.
Bottom of the seventh
León grounded out to short, then Bradley struck out swinging. I’m pretty sure everyone was ready to get out of the park at this point, btw, except the fans and maybe Betts, who singled to center again. Benintendi grounded out to short on a play close enough they’d probably review it in a closer game, but alas, it was the end of his 7-game hitting streak.
Top of the eighth
Price, still going strong at 88 pitches to start the inning, worked a 2-2 count to Guyer but plunked him on the foot while going for the putaway pitch. Kipnis then grounded to Swihart, who tagged first and threw Guyer out at second, with Bogaerts applying the tag. Pérez struck out on Price’s 101st and last pitch. Eight innings, three hits, no walks, seven strikeouts? That’ll do.
Bottom of the eighth
Certified garbage time now. Swihart made an out I didn’t see, because I was moving a car. Martinez grounded out to short. Tomlin still pitching, by the way. Bogaerts popped out to left and Boston’s bats were done for the day.
Top of the ninth
Tyler Thornburg came on to finish off the game and gave up a single to Allen to start things, because lol. Lindor went to a full count before also singling to center, because lol. Diaz came to bat with two on, no outs and Thornburg went to 2-0 on him when the atmosphere started to tighten a bit. Craig Kimbrel even started to warm for a bit, and the count went full, as Diaz fouled off fastball after fastball, with Thorny unable to locate anything else. Finally, he smoked a ball right at Bogaerts, and the Sox turned two, thank Papi. That brought up Ramirez, who flew out to Benintendi to end it by the score of 7-0.