July 7, 2018

G90: Red Sox 15, Royals 4

Red Sox - 000 040 317 - 15 16  1
Royals  - 012 010 000 -  4  6  0
Updated below with some pitch count factoids.

It was great fun watching the Red Sox score a season-high 15 runs (which included a 13-batter top of the ninth inning) on 16 hits and 13 walks - the most free passes handed out by any team this year - but this was also a night that saw David Price (4.2-6-4-1-9, 102) unable to complete five innings against one of the worst teams in baseball.

Having a bad night against the Yankees is one thing (though Price appears to be making a habit of that). Making a fool of yourself against a team that has, since the beginning of June, gone 5-26 while batting .201, is another.

In what was Price's final inning, immediately after the Red Sox had grabbed a 4-3 lead, he allowed a leadoff single and then hit three batters, the last one forcing home the tying run.

In his previous 286 games, Price had never hit three batters. He did so tonight in the span of four batters (and 14 pitches). The three HBPs in one inning also tied a major league record.

But I don't really want to think about Price. .. Hey! There were not many zeroes in the box score:

Andrew Benintendi reached base six times, walking in his first four trips to the plate, then homering in the eighth and doubling in the ninth. ... Mookie Betts had four hits, including two doubles. ... Xander Bogaerts walked three times and had a three-run double in the fifth that gave Boston its first lead of the night. ... In the last three innings, the Red Sox scored 11 runs on 10 hits and seven walks.

The Red Sox have had only three games since 2003 in which they drew more than 13 or more walks:
April 16, 2014 - 15 walks, beat White Sox 6-4 (14)
April 7, 2006 - 14 walks, beat Orioles 14-8
June 30, 2017 - 14 walks, beat Blue Jays 7-4 (11)
The Red Sox record for walks is 18, on September 17, 1920, in a 14-13 loss in 12 innings to the Tigers. (The most walks issued by Boston pitchers is also 18, in a 13-4 loss to Cleveland on May 20, 1948.)

The Red Sox have had 16+ hits and 13+ walks in a game only three times (since at least 1908):
April 7, 2006 - 16 hits, 14 walks, beat Orioles 14-8
September 29, 1956 - 16 hits, 13 walks, beat Yankees 7-5 (13)
May 18, 1946 - 17 hits, 15 walks, beat Browns 18-8
(If you're wondering how the Red Sox had so many hits and walks and scored only seven times in that 1956 Yankees game, they left 19 men on base.)

In Saturday's game, the Red Sox left five men on base in the first three innings. Betts doubled and Benintendi walked in the first, but two fly outs and a caught stealing ended that opportunity. With one out in the third, Betts singled and Benintendi walked, but J.D. Martinez struck out and Mitch Moreland grounded out.

Meanwhile, Lucas Duda homered off Price in the second. Whit Merrifield singled with one out in the third and Jorge Bonifacio doubled him to third. Mike Moustakas singled in one run and a sac fly from Salvador Perez made it 3-0.

The Red Sox batted around in the fifth against Brad Keller (4.2-6-4-5-2, 89). And it all started with two outs! Betts grounded a single to center, Benintendi walked on four pitches, Martinez lined a single to left (one run), Moreland walked on four pitches, and Bogaerts doubled to deep right center (three runs). Tim Hill came in from the pen and promptly walked Brock Holt on five pitches. But Hill also struck out Rafael Devers.

Price needed a "shut-down" inning in the bottom of the fifth. Instead, he gave up a single to Merrifield. He struck out Bonifacio, but hit both Moustakas and Perez. After a mound visit, he got Hunter Dozier looking, but then drilled Duda in the back and Merrifield scored the tying run.

Heath Hembree got out of a slight mess in the sixth when he walked Merrifield with two outs and Bonifacio reached on an error by Devers (his 18th). Hembree got Moustakas to fly to center.

Jason Adam struck out the side in the sixth, but the Red Sox took the lead for good in the seventh. Adam walked Benintendi and gave up a double to Martinez. Enny Romero - taken off waivers by the Royals on Thursday - gave up a sac fly to Moreland and intentionally walked Bogaerts. Holt flied out, but Romero walked Devers to load the bases. Christian Vazquez lined a single to left-center for two runs. Boston led 7-4.

Benintendi hit his 14th home run of the year in the eighth. Devers and Sandy Leon both singled off Brandon Maurer with one out in the ninth. Bradley forced Leon at second but beat the relay, and Bogaerts scored. Betts ripped a double down the left field line, scoring JBJ. Benintendi doubled to center, scoring Betts. Blake Swihart (hitting for JDM) singled to right, scoring Benintendi. The score was 12-4 and the Royals brought in catcher Drew Butera to pitch. (It was his fourth pitching appearance since 2012.)

Moreland lined Butera's first pitch to the left of shortstop for a single. Bogaerts walked and the bases were once again full of Red Sox. Butera got Holt to swing and miss at his first pitch, but then threw three balls and eventually walked Holt, forcing in a run. Then he walked Devers, forcing in another run. Then Leon singled to right, bringing in Boston's 15th run of the night.


The Royals threw 215 pitches. There have been only six other games this year (of no more than nine innings) in which a team has thrown that many pitches. The most is 236, by the Pirates against the Phillies on July 6 (Friday!). Pittsburgh allowed 18 hits and 10 walks and lost 17-5.

Most pitches in a game of nine or fewer innings since 2000: 252.
June 27, 2003 - Marlins threw 252 pitches to the Red Sox in Boston's 25-8 win.
August 22, 2007 (G1) - Orioles threw 252 pitches to the Rangers in Texas's 30-3 win.

Most pitches in a nine-inning game for which data exists: 263.
April 13, 1993 - Athletics threw 263 pitches to the Tigers in Detroit's 20-4 win.

AL East: The Yankees beat the Blue Jays 8-5, but the Red Sox (with an MLB-best 61 wins) remain 2 GA.
David Price / Brad Keller
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Martinez, DH
Moreland, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Holt, 2B
Devers, 3B
Vazquez, C
Bradley, CF
Today in Baseball History:
1923 - Cleveland scores in all eight innings against the visiting Red Sox, winning 27-3. No American League has ever scored in all nine innings of a game.

1931 - In the White Sox's 10-9 win over the Browns in 12 innings, 103 batters come to the plate and no one strikes out. It is the longest game in history without anyone going down by way of the K.
That's one record that will not be tied or broken any time soon!

On July 3, the Rays took the lead in the 16th inning. Time to bring in the backup catcher to pitch.
There's nothing too terribly uncommon about a position player taking the mound. But almost literally all of the time, that happens when the team is losing by quite a lot. The Rays were winning. [Jesus] Sucre was supposed to protect the 16th-inning lead. According to the Rays' own TV broadcasters, they'd never seen such a maneuver before. ...

All Sucre had to do was get three outs before allowing five runs. Sucre had actually pitched three times before. The first time, he wound up with a scoreless inning. The second time, he allowed three runs in an inning. The third time, he allowed three runs in an inning. That's not comfortable, but that's also not five. ... It's hard to allow five runs in an inning, when you have an arm good enough to be a big-league catcher. So was the idea.
AL East: MFY/TOR, 4 PM. The Red Sox are 2 GA.

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