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Fake Sox Game 11: Jackie Bradley Jr. comes through in the clutch

And Eduardo Rodriguez bends but doesn’t break.

San Francisco Giants v Boston Red Sox Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

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

After a big 7-1 win from our Fake Sox to take two of three over Chicago on Sunday, they headed into Monday’s three-game set against the Rays looking to take their third straight series. That would be a lot easier if they could take the first game, and in that first game it was a battle of the teams’ aces with Blake Snell going up against Eduardo Rodriguez.

As we got started in the top of the first, Rodriguez got a sign of what to come both in the good in the bad. As far as the bad goes, that came in the second at bat of the game with Willy Adames at the plate. There, the Rays shortstop ripped the first pitch he saw down the left field line and it was high enough to get up into the Monster Seats to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. The semi-good news is that, while Tampa Bay did hit plenty of balls hard in that inning, the homer was the only real damage was allowed.

So, the Red Sox came up to face Snell looking to answer back in the bottom of the inning, and they started out with Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez both drawing four-pitch walks to put two on with just one out for Xander Bogaerts. The shortstop came through as he’s starting to heat up a little bit, pulling a ground ball down the third base line that got through for a two-run double, and just like that it was a 2-1 lead. They wouldn’t be able to take advantage for any more, though.

This one was a seesaw match in the early going, though, and the Rays came right back in the second. After a leadoff single, Rodriguez did come back with a couple of big outs, but then the Rays got to him with three consecutive base hits after that which brought home two more and give Tampa Bay their lead right back with a 3-2 score.

Both sides went down in order in their next respective chances at the plate, and the Red Sox were looking for some damage in the bottom of the third with the top of the lineup coming back up. They got a leadoff base hit from Benintendi and then a two-out single from Bogaerts to put runners at the corners with two outs. It was a big spot for Michael Chavis, and he came through with a double off the Mosnter in left-center field, bringing one run in and tying the game up at three runs apiece. Once again, however, Rodriguez couldn’t hold the lead. Two straight singles to lead things off spelled some trouble to put runners on the corners with nobody out. It could have been worse, but a sacrifice fly gave the Rays a 4-3 lead.

Rodriguez did settle down after this and got deep into this game. He would face only three batters in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. So, it was up to the offense to come back. They couldn’t do so in the fourth or fifth, and the sixth started with a strikeout. However, that strikeout was also the last batter for Snell, and that was a blessing for the bottom of Boston’s order. With two outs, Kevin Plawecki drew a walk before Ryder Jones ripped a double out to center field to get the catcher home all the way from first to tie this game. Then, Jackie Bradley Jr. got the big swing Boston was looking for, smoking one 400 feet out to right field for a two-run shot, and just like that the Fake Sox were back on top with a 6-4 lead.

Rodriguez did come back out for the eighth with that same score, which was a big of a scary decision. He only faced one batter, though, getting a pop up for out number one then making way for Josh Taylor. He did his job as well, getting two very quick outs to hold the lead. After the Red Sox got one more insurance run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double from Bradley to make it 7-4. That brought on Matt Barnes looking for his third save. He didn’t get the start he wanted with a leadoff walk, but he came back with a double play and a strikeout to hold the lead and give Boston that series-opening victory for which they were searching. The win pushes our Fake Sox’s record to 7-4 early in this season.