What an absurd game. The Red Sox came into Thursday’s game looking to avoid a sweep, and did it in wild fashion. This game included, but was not limited to, multiple game-changing home runs, an infield fly rule in mid-center field, a double play where no one knew what was going on, a Christian Arroyo bat flip, and so much more. I really don’t know what to say. It was one of the craziest games I’ve ever seen.
This was a pretty wild baseball game, so let’s start right from the beginning and go from there. The two sides went back and forth pretty much all night, but that didn’t include a first inning that featured just a walk between the two sides. Once that inning was cleared, though, the fireworks began. In the top of the second, Eduardo Rodriguez couldn’t repeat his first, though it was Fenway betraying him. Yuli Gurriel hit a weak pop up out to right field, but because it’s Fenway those always have a chance to leave the yard. Sure enough, this one clanked off the pole for a solo shot, and Houston got on the board first.
The good news is Boston would have an answer. Rafael Devers and Hunter Renfroe got things started with back-to-back one-out singles to put runners on the corners. Christian Vázuqez then came through with a base hit of his own, and just like that the game was all tied up. Things didn’t stop there, though, with Bobby Dalbec loading the bases on a two-out single before Kiké Hernández was able to end a good at bat with a walk, bringing home a run and making it a 2-1 game.
On Thursday night, the theme was answering back, and that’s just what Houston did. Rodriguez had some momentum from his team and really didn’t pitch poorly in the first two innings, but things started to because a slog as the night went on. The top of the order did a number on the southpaw the second time through, though Jose Altuve made an out trying to stretch a Wall Ball single into a double, eventually getting cut down on a throw from Alex Verdugo. But after that, all with two outs, Houston drew a walk, smacked a single and then brought home two on a Yordan Alvarez double. Suddenly, they were right back in front.
But Boston wasn’t going to be far behind. Trailing by a run, this time they didn’t waste any time tying it back up. J.D. Martinez led off the inning, and he ended a little bit of a home run slump. The slugger hadn’t gone deep since the middle of May, but he got a pitch to hit here and crushed it to straightaway center field, sneaking it over the deep wall for a solo shot. The Red Sox kept making good contact, too, with Xander Bogaerts following up the homer with a double. After a couple quick outs, Vázquez made sure not to waste the chance, poking a big single into center field to bring home another run and give the Red Sox another lead.
Things slowed down in the fourth with neither side adding to their totals, but the fifth turned it up a few notches. This was when Rodriguez really started to struggle in this game, starting with a leadoff single to the number nine hitter. He was able to get two outs after that against the top of the order, but the third out eluded him. Alex Bregman kept the inning alive with a base hit, and then Rodriguez lost a battle with Alvarez, ending in a walk to load the bases.
That would end the night for the Red Sox starter, with Matt Andriese looking for that final out to keep his team up a run. Instead, he issued a walk to tie the game before Kyle Tucker — who has destroyed Red Sox pitching in these two recent series — cleared the bases on a double. The momentum had totally shifted to the largest degree yet, with Houston grabbing a three-run lead.
But again, this game was bananas, and the bottom of the fifth continued turning up the spice. Devers got things started with a base hit, and then with two outs Vázquez kept the inning alive with his third hit of the night. That brought Christian Arroyo to the plate, and he got a slider that hung right over the heart of the plate. He was all over it, hitting a no-doubt shot out to left-center field. With a bat flip to match, he tied this game right back up.
Now, it was clear the back-and-forth was on, and this game was going to be crazy until the end. And sure enough, it stayed crazy in the sixth. In the top half, it was Altuve repeating what he did in Houston. There, he flicked one into the Crawford Boxes. Here, he went down and got a ball at his ankles, somehow flicking it up into the first row of Monster Seats for a solo shot. Houston was already back on top.
But the bottom of the inning just got crazier. Hernández started the inning off with a double, then moved over to third base on a ground ball. From there, Martinez hit a pop up out to right that looked like it was borderline as to whether or not it was deep enough to score the run. It turned out it didn’t matter, because Tucker dropped a routine pop up to allow the Red Sox to tie the game.
And then, after Bogaerts drew a walk, Devers hit a pop up out to shallow center field. This is all hell broke loose and this game went from wild to just stupid. Carlos Correa went out and got under the ball from shortstop, but he also dropped it. However, the ump had apparently called an infield fly — by the letter of the law I guess there is a case for it being an okay call, but it looked silly given how far out it was — so Devers was out. Bogaerts thought he was out at second and flipped out for a second, but he was not out.
There were still runners on first and second with one out, and a walk would then load the bases. That brought Vázquez to the plate, and after a fan ran out on the field because why not, he was grazed by a pitch. Just like that, Boston was back out in front with the bases still loaded. And they would get yet another walk after that to make it a 10-8 ballgame. Throw in a two-run double from Bobby Dalbec, and they ended the inning with a four-run cushion.
That brought Adam Ottavino out for the seventh, and he got into a little bit of trouble when Alvarez put one off the Monster with one out. However, Alex Verdugo played it perfect to hold the runner to a single, and then things once again got weird. Yuli Gurriel hit a tapper in front of the plate that, at first, looked like it hit him. The umpire correctly said it was indeed in play, and Vázquez got the ball over to first for one out. Meanwhile, Alvarez thought it was foul so he was jogging back to first, and before he knew it he was tagged out to end the inning. Dusty Baker ended up getting ejected. I don’t know. This game was absurd.
With the score still 12-8 heading into the eighth, Josh Taylor got through a perfect inning for the Red Sox, and it was mostly normal! He did get help from a terrific diving catch from Hernández.
Finally, it was just up to Matt Barnes to close it out in the ninth. He was able to get it done without too much drama, allowing just an infield single to finish off the win. The 12-8 victory pushed Boston’s record to 38-25.
The Red Sox now will look to carry this momentum into their next series against the Blue Jays. They’ll have Garrett Richards on the mound to take on Ross Stripling. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM ET.