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Fake Sox Game 85: A sound decision goes awry in extras

Bad pitching snaps a three-game win streak.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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

Our Fake Sox are getting on a bit of a roll heading into Wednesday’s action, having won their last three including shutouts in the last two. They had Tuesday’s middle game of their three-game set against the Mariners rained out, which left the two teams with a doubleheader on Wednesday. For the first game, the Red Sox had Collin McHugh on the mound to take on Marco Gonzales.

The first inning was a little bit jarring to watch following how successful Red Sox pitchers have been in the last couple of games. That was not how things went for McHugh, as he got off to a horrible start in the top of the first. The righty did get a quick first out, but then things started shifting immediately. McHugh issued a four-pitch walk, then tossed a wild pitch, then gave up two straight singles. That gave Seattle an early 1-0 lead. The second out was recorded after that, but then two more singles made it 3-0, which is where the inning ended.

So, the Red Sox offense found themselves in a relatively sizable hole right off the bat and were looking to get some of that back in the bottom half of the inning against Gonzales. They got off to a solid start with Andrew Benintendi drawing a leadoff walk. A couple batters later, J.D. Martinez came to the plate and continued what has been a bit of a hot streak. He launched a two-run shot into the Monster seats for his 20th homer of the year and it brought the Red Sox back to within one. They did get another runner on thanks to a Kyle Seager error, too, but they settled for just the two runs in the inning.

McHugh settled down a bit for the next couple of innings, keeping the score at 3-2 as we headed into the bottom of the third. The Red Sox would use the long ball once again to get back into this game. First, though, Rafael Devers started a little two-out rally by smacking a double out to center field. That brought Xander Bogaerts to the plate, and he did the thing. By the thing I mean he launched a two-run shot of his own into the Monster Seats. Suddenly, Boston had their first lead of the game, going up 4-3.

McHugh came back and held that lead, too, coming through with his first perfect inning of the game in the fourth. Unfortunately, he wasn’t so effective in the fifth. There, Shed Smith got things started with a one-out double, and after a base hit put runners on the corners Jake Fraley hit a weak infield single to bring the tying run home. That was followed up with a double from J.P. Crawford, giving the Mariners a 6-4 lead and ending the day for McHugh.

The good news is Martín Pérez came in and pitched as well as he has all year. The Red Sox needed a strong outing of the bullpen to start a doubleheader, and they got just that from the lefty. He ended up going four full innings and retired all 12 batters he faced with seven strikeouts.

So now it was up to the Red Sox offense to get back in this game. It appeared they had their chance in the fifth when Martinez and Bogaerts found themselves on base for Michael Chavis with two outs. The young first baseman did come through with a base hit, but Martinez got a little greedy and was thrown out at the plate for the final out of the inning.

They’d get back into it later, though, starting in the sixth. A second error of the night for Seager put the leadoff man on for the Sox, but he was quickly eliminated with a double play. Christian Vázquez was able to keep things going with a base hit and that was just enough for Andrew Benintendi. The left fielder doubled out to left-center field and Vázquez came all the way around, bringing Boston back to within one. Then, in the seventh, Devers came up with the bases empty and one out and went the other way for a 401-foot solo shot. Just like that, it was a brand new ballgame tied up at six apiece.

This game would end up going to extras with the same score, with Ken Giles handling the tenth after getting the last out in the ninth. He did not have a great day. The righty gave up a double before ending the inning safely in the ninth, and then started the tenth by giving up another double. He’d get the first out on a ground ball that moved the runner to third, but then followed that with a strikeout. That led to a fateful decision. The Red Sox decided to intentially walk Crawford to get to Tom Murphy, who was 0-4 with four strikeouts to that point. It was a reasonable decision, but it did not go well. Instead, Murphy smashed a three-run shot into the Monster Seats, and that was that. The Red Sox went down in order in the bottom of the inning, and the game was over.

The 9-6 loss dropped the Red Sox record down to 46-39. The second game of this doubleheader will be tonight at 7:00 PM ET.