Wasted Opportunities Cost Sox Dearly in Close Loss

June 16

Devers has hit 128 home runs before age 26, moving into third place in Red Sox history, one ahead of Ted Williams and well within striking distance of Jim Rice at second place. Hill pitches for the Sox against Blackburn in the matinee finale. The Sox pick up where they were yesterday, putting runners at the corners with one out in the bottom of the first, but they strand them this time. They put runners at the corners with two out in the bottom of the second, but a strikeout ends the inning. In the top of the third, Pache gets a double to center with one out. A single to center scores Pache and makes it 1-0 Athletics. Then Laureano doubles to right to put two men in scoring position before Bethancourt doubles into left to score Pinder and Laureano and make it 3-0. The A’s have scored more in this inning than in the previous two games put together.

With a runner at first and nobody out in the bottom of the frame, Martinez hits a bloop double to right to put two in scoring position as the Sox present their first threat of the afternoon. Devers quickly scores on a groundout to make it 3-1. Martinez moves to third on the next groundout, but a third groundout ends the inning. With a runner at first and two out in the bottom of the fourth, Duran doubles to right to put two men in scoring position, followed by an intentional walk to load the bases, but Martinez grounds out to waste an enormous opportunity. The Sox have already left eight men on base through the first four innings. This should not be a 3-1 game. Devers nabs a line drive by Murphy to rob him of a base hit in the sixth. A runner is at second with two out later after a passed ball that proves costly. Andrus doubles through the legs of Devers and to the left-field corner to score Brown and make it 4-1. This ends up being an error on Devers. A fly out ends the inning. His day gets worse in the bottom of the seventh when he gets hit by a pitch in the elbow at 96. He stays in the game, though that’s unclear at first. The Sox can’t afford to lose Devers for any length of time. In the meantime, Oakland makes a pitching change. A single puts two on and one out, but they’re both stranded. Murphy hits a ground-rule double to the right-field corner with one out in the top of the eighth. He moves to third on a groundout before a fly out ends the inning.

The first two batters reach in the bottom of the frame and end up at the corners with two out after a fly out. Devers hits what ought to have been a routine ground ball to end the inning, but an errant throw by the third baseman ends up beyond first base and out of play. Refsnyder scores to make it 4-2, and both runners move into scoring position on the error. There is a pitching change, but then Martinez’s infield single makes it 4-3. Fenway is alive again! A force out at second ends the inning. Verdugo makes a sliding catch in left to end the ninth, but the Boston comeback falls short in a 4-3 loss.