I’m sick and want to lie down, so I don’t have much today. The Red Sox won a baseball game on a walk-off walk. It was neat.
I am feeling extremely not well today — it’s good and cool and normal to be totally freezing when it’s in the mid-70s, right? — so I’m going to try and keep this one short. Of course, when I say this I usually end up writing about 1500 words so don’t hold me to this. Anyway, it was Rick Porcello on the mound for Boston on Wednesday with the Red Sox desperate for a win, and he was the story of the game.
The first inning did not seem to bode well for the rest of this afternoon contest that was moved up by a few hours to accommodate fans who wanted to go to this game and also watch the Bruins in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals later in the evening. Porcello did appear to be in control in that first inning, retiring each of the first two batters in relatively short order before getting up 0-2 on Elvis Andrus, the third batter of the game. The Rangers shortstop put the two-strike pitch into center field for a base hit, though, and the inning would continue. That was bad news, because in the next at bat Nomar Mazara launched one out to deep center field over the head of Jackie Bradley jr. The Red Sox actually caught a break here as the ball bounced up and over the wall into the bullpen for a ground-rule double, holding Andrus at second. They wouldn’t be able to avoid runs, though, as Hunter Pence ended a long at bat with a double of his own out to center field. Just like that, it was a 2-0 lead for Texas when they were one strike away from going down in order in that first inning.
Fortunately, that first frame was not foreshadowing what the rest of the game would bring for the Red Sox righty. Porcello settled down in a big way after that first inning and cruised through the next few innings. In fact, after Pence’s two-run double Porcello set down the next 15 batters he’d face. That streak ended with Andrus doing the damage once again, smacking a two-out double off the Monster in left-center field. The righty left a first-pitch curveball over the heart of the plate to Mazara in the next at bat, but the Rangers outfielder just missed it and ended the inning with a deep fly out to strand the runner at second.
Meanwhile, the offense found themselves in catch-up mode before they even took their first swing after Porcello’s rough first. They were going up against Lance Lynn, who has generally pitched very well against the Red Sox in his career. Boston got going early, though, with Andrew Benintendi smacking one-out double in the bottom of the first to stay hot and eventually coming around to score and cut the deficit in half on a Rafael Devers RBI single.
After the lineup went down in order in the second, the Red Sox got going again in the third and again it was thanks to Benintendi. Boston’s left fielder came up with two outs and a man on first after a Bradley Jr. leadoff walk. Benintendi would hit the ball hard again, this time smacking a triple out to right field to drive in the run and tie the game. He would be left at third, though, as the Red Sox settled for the tie. From here we fast-forward to the fifth and guess who had the big swing this time? It was Benintendi again, this time driving in Michael Chavis on the outfielder’s second double of the afternoon. With that, the Red Sox had their first lead of the day.
Porcello then came back out for the seventh, but after allowing a two-out base hit his day was over and Brandon Workman came on to finish the frame. He did so successfully, getting a strikeout to keep the Red Sox up by one. He’d come back out for the eighth, too, but he wasn’t so successful there. After getting a quick first out, Workman hit Shin-Soo Choo as the latter turned to bunt. Then, Delino DeShields Jr. tried to move Choo up with a bunt of his own. He got the bunt down, but Christian Vázquez watched his throw to first sail way away from Michael Chavis. Instead of having a man on second with two outs, the Rangers had a pair in scoring position with one out for Andrus. The shortstop wouldn’t get a hit this time around, but his fly ball to right field was deep enough to score the run and tie the game. Workman would get out of it from there, but it was a new game heading into the bottom of the eighth.
There, the Red Sox offense got a couple of quick outs before Rafael Devers came through with a double out to right field. After Xander Bogaerts drew an intentional walk, it was Eduardo Núñez coming on to pinch hit for Brock Holt. This despite the fact that Texas had a righty warming up — also ignoring that Holt is better against lefties than Núñez — and would surely make the switch if Núñez came in. It was essentially a choice between Holt against a lefty or Núñez against a righty, and Alex Cora chose the latter. Sure enough, Núñez grounded out weakly on the first pitch he saw and the game remained tied heading into the ninth.
After Matt Barnes pitched around a two-out walk and a wild pitch in the ninth for a scoreless inning, the Red Sox got to work in the bottom half. It was Vázquez making up for his error to start off the inning, rocketing a ground-rule double out to center field. Bradley then put a base hit into right-center field, but Marco Hernandez (who came in to run for Vázquez) got a bad read and was forced to stop at third. After Chavis drew a walk, the bases were loaded with no outs in a tie game in the ninth inning. Mookie Betts didn’t even have to get the bat off his shoulder to win it, either. The 2018 MVP drew a walk to drive in the game winner, and the Red Sox stopped their skid.
The Red Sox have a chance to salvage a split in this series on Thursday night with David Price taking the mound against Adrian Sampson. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.