Minnesota Has Monster Tenth After Boston Comeback

August 25

Pivetta pitches for the Sox against Ober. The first two batters of the game reach on just eight pitches before Pivetta cuts down the next three men with relative ease to get out unscathed. The first two batters reach again in the top of the second and a force out puts runners at the corners with one out for Simmons, who singles to center to bring in Gordon and give the Twins another 1-0 lead. An infield single loads the bases, but Pivetta escapes having given up only one run. With one out in the top of the third, Sanó hits a shot onto Lansdowne to make it 2-0. This is his twenty-second of the year. It went 495 feet, the longest dinger in all of baseball in 2021, according to NESN. A runner is at second with two out in the top of the fourth because there was nobody covering second on what should have been a routine double play. That’s concerning. That comes back to bite the team right away as Polanco hits one into the right-field seats to double the lead to 4-0. This is his twenty-fourth of the year.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh and the score still 4-0, Shaw doubles off the Monster. Vázquez singles up the middle immediately thereafter, finally breaking the shutout as Shaw comes home to make it 4-1. That is the first time all night Boston has had consecutive hits. That’s depressing, especially against a team as bad as Minnesota. A single puts two on and brings the tying run to the plate. A pitching change follows, and that stops the bleeding, a letdown by the Sox. A runner is at first with one out in the bottom of the eighth when Renfroe singles off the Monster. Originally stopped at third, Verdugo comes home when the throw to second goes all the way beyond the plate, making it 4-2 and bringing the tying run to the plate. Minnesota makes a pitching change. That is all they get, but they have no intention of just giving the Twins this one. Hernández leads off the bottom of the ninth with a double to right-center, and then Schwarber hits the next pitch into the center-field stands! The Sox come from four down to tie it in the ninth! It’s the first time Schwarber’s homered at Fenway as a member of the Sox, and it sends the faithful into a frenzy. The next two batters reach, putting the winning run in scoring position. A fly out moves Bogaerts to third, meaning a sacrifice fly would send everybody home. However, it’s not to be, since a pop out ends the inning and sends us to extras.

Remember that every inning starts with a runner at second. Donaldson hits the second pitch of the tenth over the bullpen and into the seats in right to give the Twins their lead back at 6-4. It is his nineteenth of the year. The Twins put two on with two out later when Cave essentially puts this one away with a homer to right-center. It’s 9-4 on his third of the year. Between innings, there is the usual clearing out of the stands once people realize this one is no longer winnable and try to beat the crowd. Ironically, the "beating the crowd" results in a lot of traffic because thousands of people are leaving at the same time. With the mandatory runner at second to start the bottom of the inning, Dalbec singles to put runners at the corners and nobody out. Vázquez grounds into a double play and brings in a run in so doing, which makes it 9-5. Hernández follows that up with a homer into the mostly empty Monster to make it 9-6. This is his seventeenth of the year, but it comes all too late for the Sox. The next man pops out to end it as Minnesota wins it in ten innings, 9-6. This team is better than this. It’s just not showing it, and that’s worrisome given that this week and next are the beginning of the final rush toward the playoffs.