July 23, 2018

G102: Red Sox 5, Orioles 3

Red Sox - 010 040 000 - 5  7  0
Orioles - 000 000 021 - 3 11  0
Most wins by any Red Sox team in history through 102 games? 71, by the 2018 Red Sox.
2018   71-31     .696   Led ALE by 6.0
1946   70-30-2   .700   Led AL by 11.5
1912   69-33     .676   Led AL by 5.0
1903   65-36-1   .644   Led AL by 7.5
1939   65-37     .637   Led AL by 6.0
Rick Porcello (6-6-0-1-6, 90) - in his first start in 12 days - waited through two rain delays and Andrew Benintendi struck the big blow in a four-run fifth, with an opposite-field, two-run, ground-rule double.

The Red Sox's win increased their AL East lead to a season-high six games, as the Rays beat the Yankees 7-6.

The clouds were dark and ominous when the game began (no "blue skies above"!) and Kevin Gausman (4.2-3-5-3-2, 79) had thrown only seven pitches in the top of the first inning when the rain went from an annoying drizzle to seriously pouring and the tarp was brought out. That delay lasted 44 minutes.

Mitch Moreland led off the second with a home run. Gausman retired the next nine batters, but got himself in trouble in the fifth. Xander Bogaerts doubled and went to third on Brock Holt's groundout. Rafael Devers worked an eight-pitch walk. Gausman walked Sandy Leon on four pitches. Gausman walked Jackie Bradley on five pitches to force in a run. After Mookie Betts struck out, Benintendi hit a 3-1 pitch to deep left that bounced into the stands. Miguel Castro relieved Gausman and J.D. Martinez reached on an infield single to shortstop. Boston led 5-0.

Porcello allowed one hit in each of his six innings. He also walked one batter, Jace Peterson in the third. One batter later, there was another rain delay of 16 minutes. When Porcello was back on the mound, he gave up a double to Jonathan Schoop. Benintendi fielded the ball off the left field wall and fired it to Bogaerts, who threw home to nail Peterson easily. NESN's Dave O'Brien said Peterson was out "by a country mile" and in the eighth inning said the runner was "out by 12 feet". I'll let you be the judge.

The Orioles also had a runner on third with one out in the fourth. Adam Jones singled and went to second on a groundout. With a 2-0 count on Chris Davis, catcher Sandy Leon asked for time, plate umpire Chris Conroy called time, Porcello stepped off the rubber - and a balk was called. Alex Cora came out to get an explanation. Conroy spoke to another umpire and the balk call stood. Which made zero sense since time had been called! ... But Jones was now on third. Porcello went to 3-0 on Davis before getting two fouls and a swinging strike three. And he struck out Trey Mancini.

Devers made a mental mistake on the bases for the second straight game. In the ninth, he was on second as the Red Sox had the bases loaded with one out. Betts flied to Jones in left center. Holt hesitated before tagging at third and running home. Devers took off for third like he thought there were two outs. He stopped about two-third of the way, but could not get back and was doubled off the bag.

Also: When Benintendi batted in the fifth inning, O'Brien told us that he needed to drive in 41 more runs to hit 100 RBI for the season. ... He knocked in two runs shortly after that, but seriously - are we going to be subjected to a countdown for Benintendi's next 39 RBI? (Maybe we can also have a countdown to 20 home runs for Moreland. He's at 12 now. Oh, and Eduardo Nunez needs to score only 63 more runs to get to 100.)
Rick Porcello / Kevin Gausman
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Martinez, DH
Moreland, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Holt, 2B
Devers, 3B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
No baseball game is ever a sure thing*, but Baltimore is 41.5 GB.

The Orioles have won 28 games. The Red Sox won their 29th game on May 16.

Losing any one of these next three games would be a cause of great shame.

*: Except Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS.

AL East: MFY/Rays, 7 PM. The Yankees are 5.0 GB.

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