Well, it could have been worse. The Red Sox lost for a second straight night to the Giants on Wednesday, putting themselves in danger of a sweep on Thursday afternoon. Boston was no-hit by Jeff Samardzija through the first five innings of this game, but Rafael Devers broke that up with his 30th home run of the night. The second-half push from the offense wasn’t enough, however, as Jhoulys Chacín dug them in an early hole and the bullpen gave up a few more late to put this one out of reach.
We all know the Red Sox are playing out the string right now. Obviously the players are still trying — not only do they have professional and personal reasons to perform, but they also have pride — but there is clearly not the same fire in these games now that the season is all but over. Of course, the same could be said for the Giants. If you were watching the first half of the game on Wednesday, though, you probably wouldn’t have guessed these two teams were in basically the same position.
The Red Sox offense was without two of their best hitters in Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, and they were going up against a very solid pitcher in Jeff Samardzija. That said, there’s still a whole lot of talent in this lineup, but they struggled mightily in this one. They fell behind before they even got to come to the plate — we’ll get to that — and they didn’t answer back. In the bottom half of the first Rafael Devers drew a two-out walk, but that was all they’d get. You might want to get used to that.
Samardzija would then have a perfect second before issuing another walk in the third, but still only facing three batters thanks to an inning-ending double play. After another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, the Red Sox had their best chance to that point in the game in the fifth. Brock Holt led that inning off with a walk and then after one out was recorded Jackie Bradley Jr. drew a walk of his own. They would eventually get runners on the corners after a ground out, but Sandy León popped out to end the inning and strand the runners. For those keeping track at home, Boston did not have a hit through five.
On the other end, things did not go well for Jhoulys Chacín. As we’ve mentioned a few times over the last couple of weeks, the month of September is serving as an audition period for the righty as he heads into free agency this winter. He won’t be showing the tape from this first inning on Wednesday to prospective employers.
Mike Yastrzemski was back in the leadoff spot for the Giants in this one, just minutes after catching the first pitch from his grandfather. The younger Yaz would start this game with a walk. Brandon Belt, who hit a first inning homer on Tuesday, doubled off the Monster this time around. Just like that, San Francisco had two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Kevin Pillar followed that up with a ground out, but one that got Yastrzemski home to give the Giants a 1-0 lead. With two outs, Stephen Vogt came up and hit a liner that snuck over the wall down the right field line for a two-run shot, and it was a 3-0 lead after the top of the first.
Chacín would come back with a perfect second, but he wouldn’t make it out of the third. There, he struck out two of the first three batters he faced, but the middle batter was Pillar, who hit a single. He’d then steal second with two outs, and after issuing a walk Chacín gave up a double to Brandon Crawford. That was his last batter of the game, and he left with two runners in scoring position and a 4-0 deficit for his team. Bobby Poyner came in and got a strikeout to keep that deficit at four.
After that, Brian Johnson came out of the bullpen for two perfect innings before Travis Lakins allowed just a single in a scoreless sixth.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Red Sox finally broke through. Well, one guy did. The inning started with back-to-back backwards K’s from Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts before Rafael Devers did a thing. The third baseman blasted his 30th home run on a solo shot out to right field, breaking up the no-hitter and the shutout. The blast also made Devers and Bogaerts the first pair of teammates to have at least 30 doubles and at least 50 homers in a season. Pretty neat, in my opinion. That was all the Red Sox got there, though, and they were still trailing 4-1.
After Mike Shawaryn tossed a 1-2-3 seventh, the Red Sox offense got back on the board in the bottom of the inning. Brock Holt got things started with a base hit, but Mitch Moreland cancelled that out with a double play. Jackie Bradley Jr. kept things going when he reached on an error, though, and Marco Hernández followed that up with a base hit of his own. That brought Sandy León to the plate, and he would smash a base hit off the Monster to bring one home and get the Sox to within two.
The momentum would go away for the Red Sox in the eighth, though. Shawaryn came back on to start that inning, and he started things off by allowing back-to-back singles and a sacrifice fly. Colten Brewer would eventually come on and allow an inherited run, extending the Giants lead to 6-2.
Things really got out of hand when Hector Velázquez came on for the ninth, as he and Ryan Weber teamed up to allow five more runs and that was that. Well, Jackie Bradley Jr. did hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth, his 20th of the year.
The Red Sox will look to avoid the sweep on Thursday. They’ll have Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound to take on Madison Bumgarner, with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.