Hello! This is Bryan Joiner, filling in last minute on the recap for the rubber match between the Nationals and Sox featuring two 34-year-old starters: Patrick Corbin and Christopher Allen Sale.
Rob Refsnyder hit the first pitch of the game for a single, because Corbin is a lefty, and Refsnyder is legally required to get a hit off him. Since neither Rafael Devers nor Trevor Story is Refsnyder, they didn’t get hits off Corbin and the inning ended without much fanfare. Unless you count this:
Jeter Downs and Michael Chavis just turned a double play on Trevor Story. So, yeah.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) August 17, 2023
We’re laughing, folks. Chuckling even. Anyhow, Sale gave up a two-out double to Keibert Ruiz but that was about all that happened. The Sox went so fast in the top second that I was on a phone call and missed it and then came back to see Sale escape giving up a leadoff double with a strikeout of Alex Call.
I then went downstairs to get my laundry at which point Triston Casas did this:
TRISTON CASAS WITH HOME RUN NO. 20 AND IT CAME OFF A DAMN LEFTY pic.twitter.com/p6bgpGc9O9— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) August 17, 2023
Luis Urías hit a sharp single with one out to bring Refsnyder back up but nothing came of it, and then, in the bottom of the third, the Nationals tied it. As the guy who will never, ever shut up about the Mookie trade, it came on a sequence of events that was just too good. That is, Jeter Downs was trying to steal second and Connor Wong, who is normally incredible at throwing guys out (and who was acquired, along with Downs, in the Betts trade — people forget that), botched the throw, sending Downs to third. He’d score, making the game tied 1-1 and making me laugh.
Nothing much happened until the top of the fifth, when Sale and the umpire had beef that even the Nationals announcing crew (long story) went against our boy. Either way, there were Nats on first and second and, after a Call sacrifice fly, second and third, and that was it for Sale, who gave way to Josh Winckowski, and Joey Meneses, who had the first RBI, came through with a sharp double to left to make it 3-1.
Imagine pulling your best starter to let the worst reliever on the team to face Joey Meneses— Rooster (@RodriguezT29) August 17, 2023
Urías then booted a potential inning-ended groundout, albeit on a tough ball to reach, leaving runners at the corners. Stone Garrett then doubled to right, scoring Meneses and barely getting around a tag by Urías. Riley Adams then drove the point and the runners home with the fourth straight hit off Winckowski, making it 6-1, and humiliating our pitcher. There’s no other way to say it. It was bad times. Refer back to the tweet above for a reminder. Or this one:
19 pitches, no swings/misses for Winckowski in the 5th.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) August 17, 2023
The Sox went so quickly in the top of the sixth that things seemed very bleak, very fast, as Chris Murphy came into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, the Nationals announcers, by way of talking about Downs, who was at bat (and singled), recalled Downs’s serpentine route to the Nats, and, of course, talked the Mookie trade. They basically said it was criminal and absurd and I like them a lot now. This is what LITERALLY EVERYONE ELSE thinks, people! Free your minds! What I’m saying is that it’s probably best that Alex Verdugo didn’t play today, for my dangling sanity’s sake. There would have been a Downs-led Wong/Verdugo double play and that would have been a wrap.
Instead, it was all Joey Meneses, over and over, who hit a double to score two runs against Murphy. If the Sox are gonna get waxed, I’m cool with it being by a guy like Meneses, who’s an incredible late-bloomer story. Murphy gave up another hit. Garrett with a sac fly that almost went yard, 9-1.
But. BUT! The Sox loaded the bases in the top of the seventh against Robert Garcia with only one out... for Wong, of course, who struck out on a fastball down Broadway, because of course he did after I wrote all that shit above. It’s my fault, and Chaim Bloom made me do it, just as he brought Urías to town, and all he did was hit a fucking grand slam as his first Boston homer, to make it 9-5:
Refsnyder walked, and then Devers hit the next pitch a billionty feet to make it 9-7:
RAFAEL DEVERS DESTRUYÓ ESA PELOTA A 110 MPH HOME RUN PARA ACERCARNOS 9-7— La Nación Red Sox (@lanacionboston) August 17, 2023
VAMOS QUE SI SE PUEDEEE
It then dawned on me that Something might be Happening.
Garcia was pulled and Andrés Machado struck out Trevor Story to end the inning, but, at 9-7, the game became Compelling. Mauricio Llovera came on and had a brisk time with the bottom of the seventh.
Masa Yoshida hit a one-out single off of Downs’s glove — I love it when life is funny — but Pablo Reyes popped up before Casas came up as the tying run at the plate. Hunter Harvey came right at him, all piss and vinegar, two fastballs and a curveball to make it 1-2. Casas worked it to 2-2 and then drilled a ball right down the first base line... straight to Meneses, who was standing on the bag.
Llovera hit a snag in the bottom of the eighth as C.J. Abrams got on base and stole second for Meneses with one out. Then Abrams stole third. Meneses then drilled a 3-0 pitch right to Reyes, who was pulled in at shortstop, and a run was mercifully saved. At least until Garrett singled to make it 10-7.
Alex Verdugo, pinch-hitting, got a single against Kyle Finnegan, and then Jarren Duran, pinch-hitting, got a double, putting two men on with no outs. Reese McGuire busted early, grounding out to short on the first pitch and not driving in a run. Devers didn’t come through, striking out, leaving the game up to Trevor Story... who remained hitless in the series, lining out. And that’s all she wrote.
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