The Road Back to Boston
The Red Sox first road trip of the year is over, and boy did it end well. Chris Sale took the ball and clearly wasn’t at his best. He had some control issues and worked up a high pitch count early. But nonetheless, Sale threw five innings of one run ball. Not your usual Chris Sale start, but he did enough.
The relievers began coming in by the 6th, starting with Bobby Poyner, who went 1.2 scoreless innings. Carson Smith followed him to get one out, and left the game tied at one apiece. Joe Kelly pitched a scoreless 8th and 9th and send the game to extras. After that, Kimbrel threw a shutout in the 10th to keep the game going.
Things Get Crazy
With one out in the top of the 11th, Eduardo Nunez was at second base with Andrew Benintendi at the plate. Benintendi, who’s been struggling thus far, came through and singled to right field to break the tie and give the Sox the lead. The only problem was, Kimbrel had already pitched. So who were they going to put in to try and get the save? Matt Barnes. Buckle up.
Barnes got the first two hitters out quickly, and everything was going smooth until he decided to walk two Marlins hitters. Not a good idea. But what was about to transpire is what I will applaud the most about this game. With two outs and runners on first and second, Cameron Maybin hit a rocket over Andrew Benintendi’s head to tie the game. Justin Bour racing around would be sent home, the Marlins were about to win the game. But nobody panicked.
Benintendi picked the ball up and made a perfect throw to the cutoff. Bogaerts, The X Man, threw a perfect one hopper to Vasquez to nail Bour at the plate, and continue the ballgame. They didn’t panic, executed the play perfectly, and got the job done.
Hanley Game Winner
Fast forward to the 13th, Hanley came on with two outs and Mookie Betts standing at second, Benintendi over at first. Hanley, who has been seeing the ball well all Miami series, took a breaking ball from Tayron Guerrero and drove it into left field, over Derek Dietrich’s head to drive in two runs. Clutch.
Heath Hembree, who pitched a scoreless 12th, came back out for the 13th to try and close the game. He worked around a one out base hit and closed the game out to give the Sox the 4-2 win and their fifth straight win.
What we saw in this game was heart. Every time time the Marlins did something well, Boston came back with something even better. You have to tip your cap to the bullpen (except Matt Barnes, of course) for doing what they did. Hanley coming through in a big moment like that was huge. Everything about the win was huge.
The Red Sox will end their road trip successful taking three from Tampa, and two from Miami, finishing with a record of 5-1. Up next is to Fenway for the home opener on Thursday at 2 PM.
Cover image courtesy of NBC Sports.