September 22, 2018

G155: Cleveland 5, Red Sox 4 (11)

Red Sox   - 001 100 020 00 - 4  8  1
Cleveland - 021 100 000 01 - 5 12  1
The celebration of Win 106 will have to wait at least one more day.

Joe Kelly escaped a two-on-no-out jam in the bottom of the tenth, but Drew Pomeranz could not do the same in the eleventh. After two singles from the bottom of Cleveland's order, the runners pulled off a double steal with Francisco Lindor at the plate. After Lindor was intentionally walked, Michael Brantley singled on a fly to left field for a Cleveland victory.

The Red Sox had tied the game at 4-4 in the eighth on Andrew Benintendi's two-out, two-run single. But Boston managed only one baserunner over the next three innings, a meaningless two-out hit from J.D. Martinez in the ninth. Rafael Devers and Blake Swihart hit solo homers in the early innings.

The evening was a rough slog for Rick Porcello (5-8-4-2-1, 84), who relied heavily on his off-speed pitches and was hit hard and often. In addition to giving up four hits in the second inning, two of the three outs came on a long fly to right and a liner smoked to first; the other out was a runner gunned down at the plate. Porcello was aided by double plays in the both the third and fourth, but gave up a run in each frame anyway.

Mike Clevinger (5-3-2-5-6, 103) had an odd outing, as the Red Sox did not put any of his first 37 pitches into play (three walks, three strikeouts, one HBP). Through three innings, Clevinger had thrown 73 pitches, and only five had been hit into fair territory.

After Robby Scott allowed a single to start the seventh, Brian Johnson took over. Of his 23 pitches, 16 were balls; he left three men on base without allowing a run. Lindor (3-1 count) grounded to shortstop. Brantley (3-1) flied to left. Jose Ramirez walked on four pitches. Edwin Encarnacion (3-1) walked. Josh Donaldson (2-1) popped to right.

Mitch Moreland reached on a checked-swing single to the opposite field off Andrew Miller in the eighth. Miller got two outs and handed the ball to Brad Hand. Jackie Bradley bit the Hand that fed him, driving the first pitch to deep left for a double. Benintendi dropped a single into left-center that scored the tying runs, but he was thrown out trying for a double.

Johnson retired the side in order in the eighth and ninth, but walked the first two batters in the tenth (on nine pitches). Kelly fell behind Donaldson 3-1, but came back to strike him out. He struck out Yonder Alonso on three pitches, the last two of which were changeups away and then down. Pinch-hitter Yandy Diaz got ahead 3-1, but Kelly froze him on a kuncklecurve and then got him to ground to short. It was a very close play, but Steve Pearce stretched as far as he could for Xander Bogaerts's throw and the inning was over.

Yan Gomes battled Pomeranz for ten pitches in the eleventh, before reaching on an infield single to third. Devers ranged five or six steps to his left, spun and fired, but his throw pulled Pearce off the bag and he could not tag the runner. (Yonder, Yandy, Yan. Has any other team had three guys with first names beginning with Y?) Greg Allen showed bunt three times before grounding a 2-2 pitch past Bogaerts's right into left field. On the double steal (Rajai Davis pinch-ran for Gomes), Swihart threw wide to third, but even an accurate throw would have been late. With the infielders and outfielders all playing in, there was no chance of catching Brantley's fly to left. And if it has been caught, Davis would have tagged and scored from third.
Rick Porcello / Mike Clevinger
Benintendi, LF
Kinsler, 2B
Devers, 3B
Martinez, RF
Bogaerts, SS
Moreland, DH
Holt, 1B
Swihart, C
Bradley, CF
I'm back a little early - and just in time to see the 2018 Red Sox set a new franchise record for wins.
2018 Red Sox (154 games): 105-49
1912 Red Sox (154 games): 105-47-2 (end of regular season)
Magic Number for Boston to clinch home-field advantage for the entire postseason: 1.

Also: The Red Sox are 51-28 (.646) on the road. They need to win tonight or tomorrow to secure the best road winning percentage in team history. The 1912 team was (.640, 48-27).

It's hard for me to understand, but there are "fans" like this out there, by the thousands! ... Shared by The Globe's Pete Abraham:

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