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Fake Sox Game 22: J.D. Martinez leads the comeback

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It looked like another rough day, until it wasn’t.

Cleveland Indians v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.

Our Fake Sox returned home on Friday with an absolutely atrocious game in which they lost 19-2 and were thoroughly embarrassed. They were looking to make sure that wasn’t the start of a downward spiral, though that’s easier said than done against an Indians team that has been one of the best in baseball to start our simulated season. Boston turned to Nathan Eovaldi while Cleveland had Aaron Civale on the mound.

After the beatdown on Friday, Eovaldi was looking for a good first inning here. He didn’t quite get it. After a quick first out, Cleveland picked up where they left off on Friday by getting back to the singles party, smacking back-to-back base hits. After a huge strikeout, Eovaldi was an out away from getting out of it but Carlos Santana came through with a third single of the inning, giving Cleveland a 1-0 lead after one. The Red Sox, meanwhile, would go down in order in each of the first two innings.

After Eovaldi worked around a very tough second inning that saw a leadoff double and two runners stranded in scoring position and then a runner stranded at second in the third. So, it was still 1-0 heading into the bottom of the third and the Red Sox still looking for their first baserunner. After a quick first out, they got that and more. Ryder Jones, who has been solid in filling in for the injured Rafael Devers, came through with his first homer of the year. The solo shot was blasted 433 feet out to right field and tied the game at one.

So, now it was up to Eovaldi to hold the score at one apiece and prevent the Indians from answering right back. It, uh, didn’t work out. Cleveland jumped all over the Red Sox righty from the start of the inning, and went single, double, double, walk, double, ground out. That led to four runs and still had a runner at third with one out. That ended the day for Eovaldi and continued a straight-up terrible season for Red Sox starters, putting Cleveland up 5-1. Parker Markel would allow the inherited run to score on a single, and right after Boston tied it up the Indians came right back and took a five-run lead.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Boston Red Sox Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The good news is the offense was a little more resilient than they had been on Friday and they were ready to answer themselves in the bottom of the fourth. J.D. Martinez started the rally with a double, and after moving to third on a fly ball he came in to score on an Alex Verdugo RBI single. Boston would strand two, however, and settled for just the one run to make it a 6-2 game.

Fortunately, Boston’s bullpen came to play as they have so often in this fake season. Markel, Ryan Brasier, Josh Taylor and Brandon Workman combined to get all the way through the eighth without allowing any more runs — with Brasier being particularly impressive in two scoreless innings — and giving the offense a chance to pull off a five-run comeback.

Still trailing by four in the sixth, Boston’s lineup kept it going with Civale still in the game, getting two singles and two doubles, the latter two came from Xander Bogaerts and Martinez to bring home three more runs, knock Civale out of the game and get Boston back to within a run. Then, in the sixth it was Christian Vázquez leading things off. It hasn’t been an overly impressive season for the catcher, but he’s had big swings when it counted and that remained true here. He jumped on the first pitch he saw and sent it 372 feet into the Monster Seats to tie this game up.

The game was still tied heading into the bottom of the seventh and the Red Sox had the heart of their order coming up. Jackie Bradley Jr. got it started with a leadoff base hit and would quickly move up to second base on a wild pitch. Martinez, who had doubles in each of his previous two at bats, did just that once again here. His third straight two-bagger would bring Bradley in to score and give the Red Sox a 7-6 lead. They had a chance for more, too, with a runner at second and nobody out, but they settled for just the one run.

The was the same score as we headed into the bottom of the ninth with Matt Barnes coming up trying to hold the one-run lead. It did not look good early when he walked Carlos Santana to start the inning, but he came right back with two strikeouts and a ground out to remain perfect on the season and pick up his seventh save of 2020.

So, the Red Sox pull off the five-run comeback and win 7-6 thanks to J.D. Martinez and yet another great game from the bullpen, who have helped elevate the team to a 13-9 record despite having, by ERA at least, the worst rotation in the American League. Boston also still holds a half-game lead over the Yankees in the division.

Down on the farm, Rusney Castillo and Josh Ockimey each hit their fourth homers while Mike Kickham tossed 6 13 scoreless in a win for Pawtucket, Jeter Downs and Marcus Wilson hit their fourth homers in a win for Portland, Salem pitching was roughed up in a 15-3 loss and Elih Marrero had a walk-off single for Greenville.

Elsewhere around the league, meanwhile, Eduardo Escobar hit for the cycle for the Diamondbacks.