June 19, 2018

G74: Twins 6, Red Sox 2

Red Sox - 000 001 010 - 2  8  1
Twins   - 000 001 04x - 6  5  1
The bottom of the eighth innings was a disaster for the Red Sox. Robby Scott and Joe Kelly allowed four runs on two hits, two walks, a HBP, and a two-base error by Jackie Bradley. Only a double play at the plate on a fly to center prevented the Twins from scoring any more runs.

Chris Sale had pitched another gem (7-3-2-1-11, 105), though he did have a few issues in the fifth and sixth innings, and Sandy Leon's two-out, opposite-field single in the top half of the eighth had scored Rafael Devers and tied the game 2-2. (Devers had homered in the sixth.)

Scott - just recalled from Pawtucket - had been warming in the bullpen by himself before Kelly joined him. When the Red Sox scored the tying run, I expected Kelly to relieve Sale. But manager Alex Cora called on Scott. The lefty walked his first batter, #9 hitter Ryan LaMarre. (In both innings in which Minnesota scored, LaMarre led off by getting on base.)

Scott's 2-2 pitch to Joe Mauer was inside and must have grazed the proverbial loose thread on Mauer's jersey shirt because the umpire awarded him first base on a hit-by-pitch. (Sale had drilled Mauer for real in the sixth.) Scott retired Eddie Rosario on a popup to shallow left-center. Kelly then took over. Both Scott and Kelly nibbled when pitching to every batter and they took forever between pitches. Scott threw six pitches to each of his three batters. Kelly also faced three batters and threw 14 pitches (5-6-3). The inning became a slow-motion disaster.

Eduardo Escobar, who had doubled in two runs in the sixth, lined an opposite-field single to left-center. Bradley tried to cut it off, but he overran the ball by a step or two and it skipped behind him and rolled to the wall. Andrew Benintendi chased it down. Both baserunners scored and Escobar was on third. The infield came in - and got a closer view of Kelly walking Brian Dozier after a full count. Robbie Grossman then cracked a 1-1 pitch to deep right-center, out of Bradley's reach. Two more runs scored on Grossman's triple. Hector Velazquez came in and fell behind Ehire Adrianza, who hit a 3-1 pitch to center. Bradley had plenty of time to get under it and get some momentum behind him. His throw home reached Leon on the fly and Grossman was tagged out. The Twins challenged the call but it was upheld. When Grossman slid into Leon's leg, his lead foot was elevated and Leon tagged him before the foot got back to the ground.

Fernando Rodney struck out three in the ninth, allowing only a two-out single to Xander Bogaerts.

The Red Sox squandered several chances to score in the first half of the game. Mitch Moreland stranded men at first and third when he struck out to end the first. Bradley walked to start the third, went to second on a wild pitch, and took third (with one out) when pitcher Jose Berrios (6.1-5-1-3-6, 101) committed an error by throwing a pickoff attempt into center field. But Benintendi struck out and Bogaerts grounded to shortstop (which Adrianza gloved on a nice sliding move to his left).

J.D. Martinez and Moreland singled to open the fourth, but did not move any further as Devers struck out, Eduardo Nunez fouled to first, and Leon popped to right. Martinez also fanned to end the seventh, stranding men at second and third. The Red Sox were 2-for-13 with RATS and left 11 men on base.

Sale retired the first 14 Twins and he retired his final five batters. In between, six of seven Minnesota batters reached base. With two outs in the fifth, Adrianza singled to end any thoughts of a perfect game and Sale walked Taylor Motter (a 10-pitch at-bat). Sale retired Mitch Garver for the third out.

In the sixth, LaMarre singled and Mauer was hit in the chest with the pitch as he showed bunt. The Red Sox got a force at second and Rosario reached first. Escobar doubled, giving the Twins a 2-1 lead. Sale got the next two batters.

The Yankees beat the Mariners 7-2 to grab a one-game lead in the East.
Chris Sale / Jose Berrios
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Bogaerts, SS
Martinez, DH
Moreland, 1B
Devers, 3B
Nunez, 2B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
Berrios is a 24-year-old right-hander in his third season. He has a 2.47 ERA over his last six starts.

Sale has been dominant in his last two outings, striking out 19 in 14 innings and giving up only two runs.

Sean McAdam, Boston Sports Journal:
After 73 games, the Sox are on pace for 230 homers, which would come close to the franchise record of 238 set in 2003. ...

On Sunday, when Eduardo Rodriguez limited Seattle to two runs over six innings, it marked the 12th time in the last 14 games that the Red Sox starter has allowed two earned runs or fewer. ...

Since May 10, about five weeks ago, the Red Sox' rotation has a 2.96 ERA.
MFY Watch: Mariners/Yankees. The Red Sox (49-24) and Yankees (47-22) are tied for first place. Boston has been either in or tied for first place for all but one day this month.

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