The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
Our Fake Sox are starting to right the ship a little bit after a very rough stretch in late-May and early-June. They come into Wednesday’s game as winners of their last three and were looking to clinch a second straight series victory. For this one they were sending the struggling Matt Shoemaker to the mound to take on Yonny Chirnos.
Just like in Tuesday’s game, the Red Sox struggled to get much of anything going in the first two innings, sending just six to the plate to start the game. On the other side, Matt Shoemaker only faced four batters in the first. The issue is the batter who did not get an out still put a run on the board. That would be Austin Meadows, who has had a bit of a down season but got ahold of one here for a 412-foot solo shot to give Tampa Bay the early 1-0 lead.
Shoemaker came back and faced only three in the bottom of the second, and the Red Sox had their first real chance in the third. Here, they got their first two hits of the game with back-to-back one-out singles in front of the top of the order. The top of the order couldn’t come through, though, with Andrew Benintendi and Alex Verdugo stranding the runners.
After Shoemaker worked around a single in the bottom of the inning, the Red Sox once again threatened in the fourth. Similarly to the previous frame, they got two men on with one out. and after a second out it looked like they may once again waste the chance. Christian Vázquez had different ideas, however, and ripped a huge two-out double out to left field. That brought both runners to the plate, and the Red Sox had a 2-1 lead.
The lead would not last too long, unfortunately. Shoemaker started to get hit around a bit in the bottom of the inning, giving up a one-out double and then moving the runner over to second thanks to a bad pickoff throw. Another single put runners on the corners, and Yandy Díaz brought both runs home with a double of his own to make it 3-2. There was still a runner in scoring position with just one out, too, but Shoemaker did prevent any more runs being scored and the deficit was only one.
This was a rollercoaster game, though, and the Red Sox answered right back as well. This time they went to the long ball to get back in the game, with Alex Verdugo doing the deed. The right fielder absolutely demolished one and may have hit the farthest home run of the year for Boston. His opposite-field, solo homer traveled 483 feet and tied the game all up at three.
This was still the score heading into the bottom of the sixth after both sides wasted chances in their previous at bats. Shoemaker was still in the game here, and he ran into trouble with Ji-Man Choi, the second batter of the inning. He battled in a 1-2 count and after fouling off three pitches he got a mistake and launched it 432 feet for a solo homer of his own, and just like that the Rays were right back in front with a 4-3 lead.
Once again, the Red Sox did not stay behind very long. And, once again, it was the long ball doing the trick. This time around it was Andrew Benintendi coming through in the top half of the seventh. After working a full count, he absolutely launched one himself, smashing one 455 feet for the fourth solo home run between the two teams in the game, this one tying the game all up at four runs apiece.
This time around, Shoemaker did keep the Rays off the board with a perfect bottom of the seventh, and the Red Sox had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the eighth. There, they got a leadoff single from Rafael Devers and a one-out double from Jackie Bradley Jr. to put two in scoring position with just one out. They would be stranded there, though, and the tie remained.
Brandon Workman then came on for the bottom of the inning, and immediately got in trouble. Joey Wendle led things off with a double, and after an intentional walk Workman got two big outs on a fielder’s choice and a fly ball. That was followed by a walk, though, and suddenly the bases were loaded for Willy Adames, who had ended the previous inning by robbing Mitch Moreland of an RBI single with a diving catch. Adames couldn’t play hero twice, though, popping out and bailing Workman out of the jam.
Boston would then go down in order in the ninth and after Workman gave up a one-out double in the bottom of the ninth Josh Taylor came in to try and put out the fire and extend the game to extras. He did just that, and we headed to the tenth.
The Red Sox bats got going here against Nick Anderson, starting the top of the tenth with a walk and two singles to load the bases without recording an out. It looked like they could open up a big lead in the first extra inning, and they did quickly get one on a Bradley base hit. That was all they would get, though, and it felt like a wasted opportunity to open up a big lead.
So, now it was up to Ken Giles to finish off the save, and he got into early trouble by giving up back-to-back singles before recording an out. The MLB leader in saves settled down from there, though, striking out the next three batters and finishing off the 10-inning win.
The 5-4 victory made it four in a row for the Red Sox and clinched a second straight series win. Even better, the Yankees lost on Wednesday, reducing the deficit in the division to just a half-game. That Yankees loss also featured a fight that resulted in a suspension to Luke Voit that will keep him out of this weekend’s series at Fenway.
Down on the farm, Josh Ockimey and Bobby Dalbec homered in a PawSox win, Durbin Feltman struggled in a Sea Dogs loss, Noah Song gave up eight runs in a loss for Salem, Yusniel-Padron Artilles struggled in a loss for Greenville, and both DSL squads won their games.