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Red Sox 7, Rangers 6: Homers and the bullpen pick up David Price

The Red Sox got a terrible start, but homered their way to victory anyway.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

This game started off extremely poorly for the Red Sox, with David Price showing zero command and giving up six runs while recording only six outs. Given that and just how poorly this season has gone in general, it was fair — probably even logical! — to assume this was going to be a long night for the home team. Technically that is true, as the game took over four hours to complete, but it ended with a win. The Red Sox hit five home runs to complete the come back, with the big one being a three-run shot from Jackie Bradley Jr., and got a great performance from basically their entire bullpen to cover the final 7 23 innings. Somehow, some way, they managed a split in this series.

For as poorly as this season has gone relative to expectations, one of the biggest positives in 2019 has been David Price. He certainly hasn’t been perfect — who is? — but he’s come through in some of the team’s biggest games and has generally been consistently good. When he is spotting his pitches at the edge of the zone he is fantastic, and he’s been doing that in every start lately. With the Red Sox looking to gain a little momentum at the end of this brutal homestand and take it on the road with them this weekend, he was the guy they wanted on the mound.

Except, well, he wasn’t the guy we’ve seen for most of this season, and really wasn’t the guy we’ve seen much throughout his career. Price had absolutely nothing in this start, and it was pretty clear right away. As I just said, his impeccable command has become the calling card this year but it was nowhere to be found in this start. He was yanking pitches left and right against the Rangers, particularly his fastball and particularly on his arm-side. As a result, he got to a 3-1 count to Shin-Soo Choo before hitting him and then he issued a walk to Delino DeShields. After that, Elvis Andrus knocked in a run on a single through the middle before Hunter Pence hit a deep fly ball out to right field. The ball bounced off the top of the wall, went up about 50 feet (only a slight exaggeration) and came back into the field of play. That would score a second run — Andrus thought it was a home run, didn’t run hard and only made it to third — and two more would eventually score on a two-run single from Logan Forsythe.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

So, after only one inning Price was up to 38 pitchers and had put his team in a 4-0 hole. Things didn’t get any better in the second, either. The lefty did strike out the first batter of the frame, but things spiraled from there. Price hit Choo for a second time then allowed a double to DeShields before Andrus hit his second single of the day. That one knocked in a pair, and Price’s night was done. In the end, he only recorded four outs and allowed a whopping six runs. It was...ugly. Mike Shawaryn then came out of the bullpen with a runner on second and one out and he was able to get out of it without allowing any more runs.

So, just two innings into the game the Red Sox offense had some work to do if they were going to salvage a split in this four-game series. To be fair, they did get started in the bottom of the first when the score was only 4-0. J.D. Martinez came up with two outs in that inning and, after working a full count, he smashed a two-seam that stayed right over the middle of the plate and put it over the Red Sox bullpen for a solo homer.

They would do even more damage in the second when the score was 6-1. Xander Bogaerts and Christian Vázquez each made solid contact to start that inning with back-to-back singles, bringing Jackie Bradley Jr. to the plate with a pair on. He fell down 1-2 but fouled off a couple pitches and eventually got a two-seam up in the zone on the outer half. He did not miss it, blasting it out to center field for a big three-run shot. Just like that, the deficit was chipped down to just two.

From here, the bullpen gets a ton of credit for allowing the offense to get back in this game. Shawaryn came in for Price in that second inning, and he would end up tossing 2 13 scoreless innings. He did leave a couple guys on in scoring position in the fourth, but Colten Brewer got out of the jam after walking the first batter he saw to load the bases. Travis Lakins and Marcus Walden followed that up with scoreless innings of their own to get into the seventh with the Rangers still stuck at six runs.

On the other side, the Red Sox kept their chipping going with the long ball. In the bottom of the fourth, it was Michael Chavis. The rookie has been struggling and had gone since May 22 without a homer, but that drought ended here when he smoked a hanging slider out to left field that somehow stayed fair, cutting the deficit to one. Then, in the following inning, Rafael Devers fell down 0-2 with two outs, but he also got a hanging slider and he also crushed it. His was out to center field and suddenly we had a brand new ballgame tied at six.

From here we fast-forward to the top half of the seventh with Brandon Workman looking to continue the strong run from the Red Sox bullpen. He certainly didn’t make things comfortable, issuing a pair of walks and a single in a four-batter span, but eventually got to two outs with the bases loaded. However, the righty found himself in a 3-0 count against DeShields in the tie game before coming back with three straight strikes to end the inning with the game still tied.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

In the bottom of the inning, the tie was broken. It was another homer doing the job, too. This time it was Xander Bogaerts joining the party and smashing a solo shot into the Monster Seats to give the Red Sox a 7-6 lead on their fifth homer of the night.

That brought Matt Barnes in for the eighth, and after he got a ground out to start the inning he gave up a double to Hunter Pence to put the tying run in scoring position with one out. Barnes did come back with a strikeout for out number two, but the third strike got away from Vázquez and allowed Pence to get to third with two outs. The righty then got another strikeout on Danny Santana, and the inning ended with the lead still in hand.

Bizarrely, it was Josh Smith getting the call in the ninth with Heath Hembree presumably not available. After hitting the first batter he saw, Smith got a fielder’s choice to swap out runners at first base, but then Rougned Odor stole second base to put the tying run in scoring position. Smith came back after that with a huge strikeout against Nomar Mazara, leaving one more out to be recorded. Alex Cora then came out for a visit with the entire infield, and it turns out that was to call for a pickoff play at second base. It almost worked, too, but a review revealed he was indeed safe and then Choo was intentionally walked to get to DeShields. Smith finally got a pop up out to center field to end a wild game and to get his first major-league save. What a bizarre night of baseball.

The Red Sox will look to carry this bit of momentum on the road with a trip that begins Friday in Baltimore. Boston will send Eduardo Rodriguez out to the mound for that one as the Orioles have not yet announced their starter. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.


Courtesy of Fangraphs