The Red Sox entered Wednesday’s game playing some of the worst baseball in the entire league and they had the pleasure of going up against the best pitcher in the world in Jacob deGrom. Baseball is a funny game, though, and sure enough this was the game in which the Red Sox got back in the win column. It certainly wasn’t easy and Brandon Workman came as close as one can come to blowing it without actually doing so, but a win is a win is a win is a win. In terms of the leaders on the day, Christian Vázquez had a couple of big swings, Nathan Eovaldi was solid to start, Heath Hembree got a massive out in a big spot, and Mitch Moreland knocked in a couple of runs, including the final go-ahead, as well.
This game was a bit of a good news bad news situation for the Red Sox. The good news was they had Nathan Eovaldi on the mound, who is their only legitimate starting pitcher. The bad news is the Mets had Jacob deGrom on the mound, who is probably the best pitcher in the world. Boston got a taste of that right away in the first as the Mets ace and two-time defending NL Cy Young came out sitting at 100 mph with his fastball while painting the corners with a 95 mph slider. Oh and as the game went on he started mixing in more and more disgusting 90 mph changeups. But in that first it was mostly fastball slider. He did give up a double to J.D. Martinez in that inning, but that was all.
On the other side, Eovaldi didn’t look quite as comfortable and dominant as he did against Baltimore. Some of it was obviously that he was facing a better lineup, but the his splitter just wasn’t there and the command of his other pitches wasn’t quite as crisp. He got into trouble immediately in this game, too, following a quick first out with three straight singles — not weak ones either, as they were all hit on a line — to load the bases. In the end, it could have been worse, but the Mets did score one on a fielder’s choice and they took the early 1-0 lead.
From here, Eovaldi settled down for a few frames. He allowed just a single baserunner in each of the second and third innings on a single and a hit batter, respectively.
On the other end, the Red Sox were still understandably struggling and sent just six batters to the plate in the second and third combined, with Andrew Benintendi reaching in the third but getting caught stealing. In the fourth, though, fortunes started to turn. Rafael Devers got things started with one out as he slapped a line drive to left field that got to the corner for a double, and Mitch Moreland followed that up by smoking one to deep center field for a double of his own. Just like that, it was all tied up. Moreland would then move to third on a wild pitch, and with two outs another wild pitch — that probably should have been stopped by the catcher — gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.
Now, it was up to Eovaldi to come through with a shutdown inning, but he got off to a rough start by allowing two straight singles. He followed that up with a with a huge ground ball, however, and was helped out by Tzu-Wei Lin. Lin got the start for Xander Bogaerts in this one, and here he got a ball on the right side of the bag in the shift, took it to second himself and made an off-balance throw to first. Mitch Moreland made a nice scoop to finish the huge double play. Eovaldi then got a routine fly ball to center field to end the inning without any runs coming across.
After the Red Sox went down in order in the sixth, Eovaldi got into more trouble in the fifth as he started to look fatigued. The righty did get a strikeout to start the inning, but then Brandon Nimmo came up to mark the third time in a row for the top of the Mets order. In this at bat Eovaldi left a 3-2 cutter right up over the heart of the plate and Nimmo did not miss. He sent a no-doubt homer out to right field and we were all tied up yet again. That was then followed by a single and a hit batter, and Eovaldi was suddenly in serious trouble with Michael Conforto coming up. Lin would once again be there for his pitcher, fortunately, as Conforto hit a nearly identical grounder as Canó’s in the fourth, and it was another impressive 6-3 double play to end the inning.
After the Red Sox again went down in order in the top of the sixth, Marcus Walden came out of the bullpen for the bottom of the inning. Things got off to a good start as he got the first two Mets out, but Canó kept the inning alive with a little bloop single. That brought Andres Giménez to the plate, and he got a hold of one. The Mets shortstop sent it to deep center field and Jackie Bradley Jr. took a rare rough route, leading to a triple to put New York back up 3-2. Walden would get the inning-ending strikeout after that, but the damage was done.
Now it was up to the Red Sox offense to get back in the game, and deGrom was taken out for the seventh with Seth Lugo coming in. Then, Christian Vázquez does what he does. With one out, he got a 2-2 curveball that hung out right over the plate and the catcher smoked it, adding yet another clutch homer to his resumé and tying the game up at three. That was all they’d get, but it was a new ballgame.
Josh Osich then came in for the bottom of the inning, and he got into a little bit of trouble as he hit a batter and gave up a base hit (on which Devers made a nice stop to maybe prevent extra bases) to put two on with one out. After getting a ground out from Conforto, there were two in scoring position and two out with J.D. Davis coming in to pinch hit. Rather than go with Matt Barnes or Brandon Workman in the huge at bat, Heath Hembree got the call. It worked out, though, as he struck out Davis on three pitches to end the inning and keep it tied.
That gave the Red Sox to take a lead in the eighth, and they got things going quickly. Kevin Pillar, pinch hitting for Jackie Bradley Jr., got it started with a base hit. After Xander Bogaerts, another pinch hitter, drew a walk, Andrew Benintendi moved both runners over up to scoring position. An intentional walk to J.D. Martinez then loaded the bases, and with two outs Moreland came to the plate. It wasn’t hard contact, but a little dribbler to the left side was enough to go for a hit and give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead. Vázquez then followed that up with a two-run single, and just like that it was a three-run lead for the good guys.
With the team now out in front, Matt Barnes came on for the bottom half of the eighth. It was not a clean inning for him, with old friend Yoenis Césepedes starting the inning by smoking the first pitch he saw for a solo homer to cut the lead down to two. He gave up a hard-hit single right after that, but was able to get out of the inning without any more runs being scored.
After the Red Sox couldn’t score in the ninth, it was left up to Brandon Workman, looking for his first save of 2020. He didn’t get the start he was looking for as he issued a leadoff walk to Nimmo and then another to Jeff McNeil. That brought Pete Alonso to the plate, and he loaded the bases on a little bloop that just barely fell in fair territory in right field. J.D. Davis came up next and poked a ground ball to the left side. Devers potentially saved a run by making a diving stop, but he had no real shot at an out. That brought the Mets to within one with the bases still loaded and one out for Céspedes. Workman got a massive strikeout there, leaving it all up to Canó with two outs and the bases full of Mets. The Mets second baseman hit a little soft liner that Peraza lined up, caught, and ended it. It’s tough for a pitcher to make it any closer to a blown save, but Workman walked that tightrope and somehow finished it off.
The Red Sox will look to make it two in a row and gather a little momentum as they finish off their series against the Mets on Thursday. Martín Pérez goes for Boston with Steven Matz pitching for New York, and first pitch is at 7:10 PM ET.