The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
Our Fake Sox are in the midst of a stretch of five games in Texas over the course of four days, which started with a doubleheader yesterday that the two sides split. Both pitching staffs were pretty beat heading into Friday night’s contest, so they were looking for good starts from the respective starters, Matt Shoemaker and Corey Kluber.
The Red Sox got the first crack at the other team’s starter, and they got themselves off to the kind of start they were looking for. Jerry Narron played around with the top half of the lineup a bit for this one, putting J.D. Martinez in the two-hole with Alex Verdguo batting third, and it paid off right away. The former smacked a one-out double in his first at bat and Verdugo followed it up with a base hit to bring the run home and give the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead.
That was all they’d get, but Shoemaker had a lead to work with and was coming off a very strong start his last time out in his Red Sox debut. This one, uh, did not go so well. The Rangers jumped on the Boston righty early and often, starting the game with a single, then a double, then a three-run homer from Willie Calhoun, then another single that was turned into a two-bagger thanks to an error from Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field, then another double, then a walk. So, to recap, six batters into the game the Rangers had a 4-1 lead, two men on and still nobody out. Shoemaker did get a couple of outs after that, but the second was a sacrifice fly to make it 5-1, and after giving up a single to the number nine hitter, Shoemaker was done. It was the second time in three games, and in the span of just two days, that Boston’s starter didn’t make it out of the first. Parker Markel came on and finished off the inning and kept the score at 5-1.
That was still the score heading into the bottom of the third — with the Red Sox wasting a situation with two in scoring position and one out in the second — and Markel was coming back out as Boston was looking for as many innings as they could get from any of their pitchers. Danny Santana made them pay for that immediately, jumping on a 1-0 pitch for a solo homer to make it 6-1. After a strikeout and a walk, Markel was done and Kevin Shackelford came in. The righty walked the first batter he faced, then threw a wild pitch before giving up a base hit. That brought another run home, but Bradley made up for his early error by throwing out a second potential run at the plate, and it was just 7-1 at the end of the inning.
The Red Sox were now looking to mount a come back, and got right to business in the fourth with Xander Bogaerts ripping a single to start the inning and then moving to third after Michael Chavis finished an 11-pitch at bat with a base hit. With runners on the corners, Mitch Moreland came up and smacked his second double of the game, this one bringing both runs home and making it a 7-3 game.
Shackelford and Ryan Brasier would team up for a couple of scoreless innings after that, and Boston was still down four heading into the sixth. Here, Bradley led things off with a double and then Moreland came through with yet another double to make it a three-run game. After Christian Vázquez reached on a well-placed tapper on the left side of the infield, Peraza came up representing the tying run, and he came through. The second baseman launched his fifth homer of the year, with the 402-foot three-run shot tying the game all up at seven and ending the night for Kluber.
Unfortunately, Texas wasn’t about to just roll over. Brasier came back out and gave up a leadoff single, prompting Josh Taylor to come out of the bullpen. He got a quick first out, but then gave up back-to-back singles to give Texas an 8-7 lead, and Brandon Workman then came on with runners at first and third and just one out. It looked like it could be a bad situation, but Joey Gallo threw Boston a bone, weirdly trying to steal second and getting thrown out, handing a massive second out to the Red Sox. Workman then got a strikeout, and it was still just a one-run deficit.
The Red Sox were looking to answer right back in the seventh, and got off to a good start with a pair of walks to start the inning. That brought Cody Allen in out of the Rangers bullpen, and Bradley welcomed him with a two-run triple to put the Red Sox up 9-8, their first lead since the top of the first. Bradley then came in to score on a sacrifice fly, and then with two outs the Red Sox got two doubles with a single in between to bring another run in, and it was an 11-8 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Workman and Matt Barnes combined for a scoreless seventh, although they had to strand two in scoring position to do so, and then Verdugo gave Boston another insurance run with a solo homer to start the eighth. Still, with the way this game was going a 12-8 lead didn’t feel safe with six more outs to record. Barnes started the eighth by giving up a leadoff single, bringing Martín Pérez in after he had thrown 4 1⁄3 innings just the day before. He got a quick first out, but then gave up a single and a double to bring two runs home.
With the score now 12-10, Ken Giles came out with a runner at second and just one out. He promptly allowed two straight singles, bringing Texas to within one with the tying run 90 feet away and still only one out. Giles came back with a massive strikeout, though, and escaped the inning with the lead in hand.
After Boston wasted their two leadoff men getting on in the ninth — thanks in part to their own poor stolen base attempt — Giles came back out looking for the save and with no relievers left available behind him. It was all on him. He did the job, getting a 1-2-3 inning and wrapping up an absolutely wild win.
The 12-11 victory pushed Boston’s record to 26-19 and with a Yankees loss the Sox are now just a game back in the division. Around the league, the A’s suffered a big injury with Matt Olson, arguably the best player in baseball so far this year, breaking his finger after getting hit by a pitch. He’ll miss six weeks. Meanwhile, down on the farm, César Puello and Tommy Joseph hit homers in a win for the PawSox, Alex Scherff tossed a quality start in a win for the Sea Dogs, Salem lost on a walk-off three-run homer, and Yusniel Padron-Artillies struggled in a loss for Greenville.