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Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 8: It’s a walk off

Some rare positive excitement.

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The Red Sox have been mostly bereft of excitement this season, but they finally provided some on Saturday night. They started the night with a three-homer inning in the second to give themselves an early lead, and Ryan Weber supported the offense with a very solid five-start inning. Unfortunately, the bullpen was not up to the task today, and it looked like they’d be the reason for a loss. However, Xander Bogaerts tied the game in the ninth with a home run and Christian Vázquez would use his legs to give the Red Sox the winning run in the ninth. The walk off victory pushed the Red Sox record to 14-27.

The Red Sox came into Saturday’s game in a different position, having won their last game and looking to turn that into some rare momentum. They were going up against Chase Anderson, who has had a very good season, especially by his standards. The difference for him in 2020 has been his ability to keep the ball in the yard, and the Red Sox were looking to change that up.

That’s exactly what they did, too. After falling behind 1-0 early — we’ll get to that in a bit — it didn’t take too long for Boston to answer back. J.D. Martinez stepped up to lead things off in the bottom half of the second, and Anderson tried to get him with a high fastball on a 2-2 pitch. Martinez was ready for it, though, sending it way out to center field for a solo homer to tie this game up. Christian Vázquez followed that up with a base hit, too, which put a runner on front of Jackie Bradley Jr. The center fielder has been red-hot of late, and he continued it here. The first pitch was a fastball middle-in, and he sent it up and over the Blue Jays bullpen to make it a 3-1 game. A couple batters later, Bobby Dalbec hit a solo shot for the third homer of the inning, and it was 4-1.

On the other side, Ryan Weber was looking for a solid start for a pitching staff that could use some innings. He did the job in the top half of the first with a perfect inning, but the second wouldn’t go as smoothly. It was still a scoreless game at this point, but on the first pitch for the frame Teoscar Hernández got a two-seamer right over the heart of the plate and gave Toronto the early 1-0 lead on his 14th homer of the year.

Weber didn’t let that pile up, though, getting three straight outs after that to end the inning. Then, with the lead in hand, he got the shutdown inning he needed in the third. The fourth wouldn’t work out so well, though, as Weber allowed the leadoff single to Rowdy Tellez — who else? — and then a couple batters later Travis Shaw brought him home with a double to make it a 4-2 game.

The Red Sox were ready to answer back in the bottom of the inning, though, with Michael Chavis smacking a one-out single. Dalbec then followed that up with a base hit of his own, but Chavis was a little over ambitious and was thrown out trying to go first to third. Fortunately, the top of the order wouldn’t let the inning go to waste as Alex Verdugo and Rafael Devers came through with back-to-back doubles, and just like that it was a 6-2 game.

Now, it was up to the Red Sox bullpen, which is never a good thing. Josh Taylor came on in the sixth with that same score on the board, but the lefty didn’t have it in this one. He issued a walk to lead off the inning followed by a base hit to put the first two on. A couple batters later, Valdimir Guerrero Jr. came through with the big swing Toronto was looking for, blasting a three-run shot to left-center field. Just like that, it was a one-run game. The Jays got a couple more baserunners in the inning as well, but no more runs.

So the lead was still in hand as we headed into the seventh with Phillips Valdez coming on. He’s been good this season, but like Taylor this was not his night. The inning started with three straight singles, and the third was enough to tie the game up at six, still with no outs on the board. After getting that first out, Valdez issued a walk to put two on for Joe Panik, and the infielder smacked an RBI double, and for the first time since the top of the second the Jays had a lead. After another walk loaded the bases, Valdez’s night was done and Robert Stock came on to try and finish the inning. He got a ground ball, but it was too far up the middle and went for an infield single and pushed the score to 8-6.

Now, it was on the offense to mount a comeback with three innings left. They didn’t waste any time to start their comeback, either, with Rafael Devers crushing the second pitch of the inning for a solo shot, closing the deficit to one. Unfortunately, that was all they got in the frame and we headed to the eighth still trailing by one.

Mike Kickham got the top of the eighth and came through with a scoreless inning, and then the Red Sox got the start they were looking for in the bottom of the inning with Yairo Muñoz leading the inning off with a base hit and Bradley following it up with a walk. That put two on with nobody out, but Michael Chavis and Dalbec struck out. After Alex Verdugo loaded the bases with an infield single, it was all up to Devers. He couldn’t come through this time, lining out to the shortstop and ending a promising inning for the Sox.

After Kickham tossed another scoreless inning in the ninth, the Red Sox had one more chance. Xander Bogaerts didn’t waste much time, leading off the inning with a solo shot into the Monster Seats to tie the game up at eight runs apiece. They got another runner on base with a Martinez walk, and Christian Vázquez ended up there with one out after a fielder’s choice. Surprisingly, Vázquez tried to steal second base, and the gamble paid off. The throw ended up in center field, putting Vázquez at third base with just one out and Muñoz at the plate. He chopped one over to third base, and Shaw’s throw was off-target. Vázquez slid in safely, and it gave the Red Sox their second win in a row on a walk off.

The Red Sox and Blue Jays finish up their series tomorrow afternoon. Toronto has yet to announce their starter while Andrew Triggs will get the nod for Boston. First pitch is set for 1:35 PM ET.


Courtesy of FanGraphs