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Fake Sox Game 56: Michael Chavis sparks the victory

And a tired staff patches together a solid night.

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

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

Our Fake Sox are coming off a rough game on Tuesday, giving up the momentum they had gotten in a blowout victory on Monday. That was their fifth loss in seven games, and they were looking for a bounce-back on Wednesday to clinch at least a split in their four-game set against the Royals. Boston was sending Nathan Eovaldi to the mound with Mike Montgomery going for Kansas City.

Boston’s pitching staff was exhausted for this game, so it was unclear how they were going to get through nine innings of baseball for this one. Nathan Eovaldi was starting on just three days rest because our fake Jerry Narron has no idea how to manage a doubleheader, and the bullpen has been leaned on extremely heavily for a few weeks now. Throw in Ryan Brasier being suspended for the fight he started on Sunday, and things didn’t look great for the pitching coming into the day.

They actually ended up having a solid evening, though. Eovaldi needed to work efficiently to give as many innings as possible, as he wasn’t likely to throw many more than 80 pitches. He got the job done in the first two, allowing just a single in a pair of scoreless innings. The third didn’t go as smoothly, however, with Alex Gordon leading off that inning with a base hit. Eovaldi did come back with two outs on three pitches after that, but Jorge Soler made sure it wouldn’t be an easy inning. The Royals DH went the other way on a 3-1 pitch, crushing one 394 feet for a two-run homer to put Kansas City on the board first. Eovaldi followed that up with back-to-back walks, but was able to get out of the inning without any more being put on the board.

From there, though, the pitching did the job. Eovaldi allowed just a single in the fourth, and then in the fifth recorded two outs before allowing another single. That was the end of his night, with Matt Barnes curiously coming out early in the game with a runner on in the fifth. Barnes got out of that inning quickly, but then in the sixth gave up a leadoff triple to Adalberto Mondesí. After getting a strikeout, Barnes issued a walk and Kevin Shackelford came into a huge spot with runners on the corners and one out. He got the groundball he was looking for to keep the Royals off the board and end the inning with a doubleplay.

Shackelford came back out and allowed just a single in the seventh before Josh Taylor tossed an easy 1-2-3 eighth.

On the other side, the Red Sox offense sputtered along for the first few innings, managing a single in each of the first three frames but not advancing anyone beyond first base thanks in part to a pair of inning-ending double plays in the first and third innings. Then, in the fourth with the Royals up 2-0, they strung together a few hits. It was a two-out rally, too, as the inning started with two outs on just two pitches. Rafael Devers kept things going with a bloop single, though, and then Xander Bogaerts reached on a walk, which brought Michael Chavis to the plate with two on and two out. He came through against the lefty, smoking a 406-foot homer out to left field to bring three runs home and give Boston the 3-2 lead.

They wouldn’t look back from there. In the fifth they got started right away with Christian Vázquez leading off the inning with a double before moving to third on a José Peraza single and coming in to score on an Andrew Benintendi base hit to make it 4-2. Alex Verdugo then hit into a double play, which wasn’t ideal but it did bring another run home to make it 5-2, and then the Red Sox took advantage of another two-out rally. J.D. Martinez extended the inning with a base hit, and then Devers caught a break when Nicky Lopez threw the ball away on a grounder, allowing Martinez and Devers to both get into scoring position. Bogaerts then came through with a base hit of his own, and just like that it was a 7-2 game.

More bad defense caught up to the Royals in the sixth, but first Jackie Bradley Jr. reached to lead things off when he was hit with the first pitch of the inning. He’d then move to second on a grounder and then up to third on another ground ball before Benintendi took his base on a walk to put runners on the corners with two outs for Verdugo. It turns out Verdugo wouldn’t even need to do anything as Jorge López tried to pick Benintendi off at first base but watched his throw sail away. Bradley would come into score to make it 8-2.

That was the score heading into the ninth, and there were no issues there as Taylor and Brandon Workman combined for a scoreless inning to finish off the victory. The win pushed Boston’s record to 31-25, and with the Yankees losing a second straight Boston moved back to within two in the division. Around the league, the Dodgers exploded for 27 runs against the Rockies after scoring 25 the night before in an absolutely absurd run-scoring rampage. Down on the farm, Oliver Pérez gave up a game-winning homer in his debut with the organization as Pawtucket lost, Nick Longhi had a triple and a homer in a win for Portland, Noah Song allowed one earned run in six innings of work in a win for Salem, and Wil Dalton hit a game-winning homer for Greenville.