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Fake Sox Game 40: Matt Shoemaker and Xander Bogaerts help Sox avoid sweep

They preserve a tie in the AL East.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

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

Our Fake Sox have had a tough start to their weekend, coming into the Bronx with a one-game lead and after two games they are trailing New York by a game in the standings thanks to a pair of blowout losses. They were looking for a rebound on Sunday Night Baseball to finish off the series and leave the Bronx with a tie in hand. They were turning to Matt Shoemaker on the mound as the righty makes his debut with the team. The Yankees countered with Jonathan Loaisiga.

Boston was all over the Yankees righty to start off the game, but it didn’t result in any hits. All three batters the Red Sox sent to the plate in the first hit the ball well, but all three hit it to straightaway center field and it was a 1-2-3 inning. The good contact was nice, but given how the Yankees offense has been in the first two games Boston needed runs whenever they could get them. Fortunately, Shoemaker settled things down a bit in this game and came through with a 1-2-3 first of his own.

Then, in the second, the Red Sox really got a rally going. Xander Bogaerts started things off with a base hit, and then J.D. Martinez drew a walk before Jackie Bradley Jr. had a base hit of his own, and suddenly the bases were full with nobody out. This was a chance for a crooked number, and Boston couldn’t let this one go by like they did on Saturday when they got only one run out of this same situation. This time, Michael Chavis kept it going with the third hit of the inning to bring one home, and after a ground ball resulted in the first out of the inning coming at the plate, Christian Vázquez had Boston’s fourth single of the inning and Andrew Benintendi smacked a sacrifice fly, and the Red Sox had a 3-0 lead after the half-inning was over.

So, now it was up to Shoemaker to make sure he didn’t cough that lead right back to New York. The Yankees didn’t make it easy, as Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sánchez came through with back-to-back one-out singles then each moved up a base on a wild pitch. Shoemaker settled down, though, allowing one to come home on a sacrifice fly but nothing more, and it was 3-1 good guys after two.

Boston got the leadoff man on again in the third with an Alex Verdugo walk, and then a couple batters later they did it the easy way. J.D. Martinez jumped all over a 1-1 pitch and absolutely demolished one to straight away center for a 446-foot two-run shot. It may have been the longest Red Sox homer of the year, and it gave them a 5-1 lead. Loaisiga would face just one more batter before being removed with just 2 23 innings in the game.

Shoemaker would then settle in for a couple of innings facing the minimum in the third and fourth, and the score was still 5-1 as we headed into the bottom of the fifth. Sánchez led that inning off with his second hit of the game, putting a runner on in front of Mike Ford. The first baseman hadn’t played the first two games of the series, but it didn’t show here as the lefty went the other way for a two-run shot, and suddenly the Yankees were right back in this with the homer making it a 5-3 game. Shoemaker against didn’t let things snowball, though, and he got three straight outs after the dinger to keep the lead at two.

Boston was ready to answer back in the sixth, too. After two strikeouts to start the inning, the Red Sox got a little two-out rally going with a base hit and two walks loading up the bases. New York turned to Adam Ottavino to get out of the jam. For some reason, Boston had Tzu-Wei Lin in the two-hole for this game, bringing him to the plate in this massive situation. Fortunately, Ottavino made it so it didn’t matter too much as he threw a wild pitch that brought one run home. Lin couldn’t keep the rally going, but it was a 6-3 lead.

After Shoemaker came back with a big 1-2-3 inning to keep momentum on his team’s side, Bogaerts continued what was a huge game for him in the seventh. Ottavino got him to two strikes, but then Bogaerts jumped on a mistake and sent it 408 feet to the power alley in left field for a solo homer, and the Red Sox were right back to being up four.

Now, it was on the pitching to hold this lead for their offense. Shoemaker didn’t do perfectly, giving up a monster 435-foot solo homer to Sánchez to start the bottom of the seventh, but the Yankees wouldn’t get closer than three. Shoemaker didn’t give up any more runs, and ultimately left with seven innings having allowed four runs on ten strikeouts and just one walk. The bullpen was fantastic, too. Matt Barnes came in with a runner on first and struck out all three batters he faced, and then Ken Giles locked down the save by striking out the side in the ninth.

The 7-4 victory snapped a three-game skid for the Red Sox and put their record at 23-17, tied with the Yankees atop the AL East. They are tenth in the game’s power rankings, between the White Sox and Reds. The players of the week this week were Josh Donaldson in the AL and David Bote in the NL. With it being Sunday, below I will have the full standings and player stats.

First, though, on the farm: Ryan Weber left with a shoulder injury that will cost him his next start in a loss for the PawSox, Portland wasted a solid outing from Alex Scherff in a 4-2 loss, Salem’s pitching was roughed up in a 7-2 loss and Greenville staved off a comeback attempt in a 6-4 win.