Story Finally Breaks Out as Sox Hammer Mariners

May 19

Hill starts for the Sox against Kirby as the Sox host the Mariners this weekend. A double to left by Suarez leads off the top of the second. Runners are at the corners with one out later in the inning for Moore, who hits a Monster shot to make it 3-0 Seattle. This is his second of the year. With a runner at first and two out, France doubles to right to score Frazier and make it 4-0. As another walk comes back to bite the Red Sox, the bullpen gets active. A single puts runners at the corners as the interminable inning continues, but a pop out finally ends it.

After an infield single starts the bottom of the inning, Story cuts into the deficit with a homer to left-center that makes it 4-2. This is his third of the year. With one out, Vázquez hits a ground-rule double to right. A four-pitch walk puts two on with two out, but a groundout ends the inning. A runner is at first with two out in the bottom of the third before Story hits his second long ball tonight. All four runs have come from his two hits as the Seattle lead evaporates like boiling water and instead becomes a 4-4 tie. It’s Story’s nineteenth multi-homer game.

An odd situation presents itself prior to the bottom of the sixth. Kirby comes out for his customary warm-up throws between innings, but then Seattle manager Scott Servais elects to pull him and go to the bullpen instead. After the umpires get together, the apparent ruling is that Kirby has to pitch at least some of the sixth because he initially intended to start it. That’s not the first time I’ve seen a scenario like this. Once, a manager came out for a pitching change, signaled for a lefty to come out of the bullpen, but then changed his mind and chose the righty. The umpire ruled that he had to go with his initial choice of the southpaw. This situation tonight would have been a good ruling to announce on the microphone so the audience on site, watching on TV, and listening on the radio could hear the decision from the horse’s mouth, which would have been that of the crew chief in Boston. Once we start the bottom of the sixth, Verdugo leads off with a double to center, and then Kirby is pulled legally by Servais. Story quickly singles into center, and Verdugo initially is stopped at third, but the throw misses third, which allows Story to advance to second and Verdugo to score on the throwing error and give Boston a 5-4 lead, the team’s first tonight. Story steals third with one out, and with two out, Jackie Bradley Junior brings him home with a double off the Monster to make it 6-4. A pop out ends the inning. The Mariners change pitchers after the Sox put runners at the corners with two out in the bottom of the seventh. A four-pitch walk loads the bases, and another scores Martinez to make it 7-4. Mills has thrown eight straight balls. When Vázquez is hit, another run is forced across to make it 8-4. Another pitching change follows, but it doesn’t work, as Bradley is walked to force home another and make it 9-4. That is all they get, but Boston sends its entire batting order to the plate in the frame. With the score 9-5 in the bottom of the eighth, the Sox put runners at first and second with one out and runners at the corners with two out after Seattle does not convert what should have been an inning-ending double play. That ends up costing the Mariners the game because Story comes up and pounds his third home run of the night into the Monster to put the nail in the coffin at 12-5. He will not hit another. No player in Red Sox history has ever hit four home runs in the same game, though three-homer games have happened. Story has finally found his stride. He hasn’t had a three-dinger game since 2018. He’s also driven in seven runs for the second time, his last being three years ago. The Sox have a new season-high in runs and hits. Rodriguez hits a one-out homer to the Monster in the ninth to make it 12-6, but the next two men are shut down to lock up the win.