The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21.
Our Fake Sox are playing some of their worst baseball of the year right now, having lost each of their last four with the last three of those being blowouts or at least non-competitive. They were looking to bounce back on Sunday to avoid a sweep in Pittsburgh and they seemingly had the pitching advantage with Eduardo Rodriguez going up against James Marvel.
Rodriguez took the mound in the first after his team went down in order, and was looking to build off his last start that was, by Game Score, tied for the best start by a Red Sox pitcher all year. He was not on that kind of roll in this one, showing inconsistent control all day long. That was apparent right away, too, as he led off the game with a walk, though he did get three straight outs after that to keep it scoreless after one.
After the Red Sox wasted a two-out double in the second and Rodriguez worked around two more walks in the bottom of the inning, Boston was able to strike first in the third. Christian Vázquez got things started with a base hit and then was promptly moved up to second base on a sacrifice fly from Rodriguez. That brought the struggling José Peraza to the plate, but he busted out of his slump in this game starting here with a base hit to put runners on the corners. Alex Verdugo, also struggling, came through as well, this time with a double into the left field corner. Vázquez came in to score and it was 1-0 with two men in scoring position, one out and Rafael Devers coming to the plate.
It looked like a golden opportunity for a huge inning, except Devers struck out on three pitches. That brought Xander Bogaerts to the plate, and before he could even do anything Marvel threw one to the backstop, getting Peraza home to make it a 2-0 game. Then, after a long battle, Bogaerts smashed the ninth pitch he saw in the at bat out and over the left field wall. It was a 405-foot shot, and it gave the Red Sox a 4-0 lead.
Unfortunately, this was just not the kind of day where Rodriguez could be given a modest lead and be trusted to do the rest, and really the Red Sox in general couldn’t be handed a modest lead with any faith. The southpaw did get a quick first out to start the bottom of the third, but then gave up a single. That was followed by Bryan Reynolds hitting what looked like a fairly routine double play ball to Bogaerts at short. Instead, right after hitting the big homer, Bogaerts booted it, going from a potential inning-ender to having two on with one out for Josh Bell. Sure enough, Bell got a mistake and smoked a three-run shot, and just like that it was a 4-3 ballgame.
The Red Sox did get one of those runs right back, to be fair. Jackie Bradley Jr. started the inning with a bunt single against the shift and that was immediately followed by a walk. They didn’t get the big inning that is possible from getting the first two men on base, but Peraza did eventually come through with a two-out single to get Bradley home, padding the lead a little bit for a 5-3 score.
That was still the score heading into the fifth, and once again they added to their lead a bit, this time with some two-out magic. Andrew Benintendi, getting his first start of the series with J.D. Martinez getting the day off, started the rally with a double before Bradley drew a walk and Michael Chavis was intentionally walked to get to Vázquez with the bases loaded. The Red Sox catcher didn’t like that very much. He didn’t hit the grand slam, but he did smack a two-run single to get the four-run lead back and make it a 7-3 game. Boston had another chance in the sixth, too, when Peraza led off the inning getting hit by a pitch and immediately stealing second and getting to third on a bad throw down. The Red Sox couldn’t manage to get him home, though.
So it was still 7-3 heading into the bottom of the sixth and Rodriguez was still tightrope walking his way through the game. The Pirates got to him here, though, smacking back-to-back doubles to start off the inning and get one run on the board. A base hit would then put runners on the corners with nobody out, but Rodriguez somehow escaped that without a run, getting a line drive and then two straight grounders back to the mound to keep it a 7-4 game.
Rodriguez would then came back out for the seventh, too, but there wouldn’t be much time after this. Reynolds was hit by a pitch to start off the inning, bringing Bell back up to the plate. He got ahold of one once again, smashing his second homer of the night and just like the first one this one brought Pittsburgh to within a run in a 7-6 game.
Ryan Brasier came in out of the bullpen from here, and wasn’t great but got the job done. He gave up a base hit and a walk but managed to finish up the inning by stranding both runners in scoring position. Matt Barnes then came out for a perfect eighth, leaving Ken Giles the ninth with the score still 7-6. Giles put the tying run on base right away with a leadoff walk, but then got a strikeout and a double play and that was that.
The 7-6 victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Red Sox and pushed their record to 47-42. With a Yankees loss, too, Boston is back to within 5.5 out of the division. After the game, Drew Pomeranz, who they traded for on Saturday in exchange for Matthew Lugo and Garrett Benge, was added to the roster with Colten Brewer being optioned. Additionally, Matt Hall was optioned with Brian Johnson coming up to take a rotation spot. Around the league, Gleyber Torres and Juan Soto were players of the week.
With it being Sunday, at the bottom of this screen you can see the full player stats for the season as well as full MLB standings.