Closing Time: Red Sox rally for 5 runs over final 2 innings to shock White Sox
|07.09.14 at 10:15 pm ET|
In what served as perhaps their first unveiling of a youth movement going forward, the Red Sox displayed a characteristic that they had struggled to find all season: resilience.
Despite trailing for the entire game and only scoring for the first time in the eighth inning, the Red Sox stormed back from a 4-0 deficit, scoring five runs over the final two frames to shock the White Sox with a 5-4 walkoff victory.
After scoring three runs in the eighth thanks to RBI doubles from David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes and an RBI single from Dustin Pedroia, Boston tied the score in the ninth on an RBI double from pinch-hitter Daniel Nava. Brock Holt then drove in Nava with a single to complete the comeback.
The come-from-behind win helped Boston snap its four-game skid and improve to 2-7 on its homestand. It was the seventh walkoff win of the year for the Red Sox.
Before the final two innings, it seems like the Red Sox were well on their way to another discouraging loss, as the team was only able to muster three hits through the first seven innings.
Pitching in his first start since June 21, Rubby De La Rosa was solid, allowing three earned runs over five innings of work, although the young righty did allow six extra-base hits in his outing.
Wednesday night represented a promising start for a Red Sox team that seems likely to rely increasingly on a youth movement as it attempts to claw up the standings. Boston started five rookies on Wednesday in Holt, Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Christian Vazquez, who made his major league debut — taking over behind the plate for A.J. Pierzynski, who was designated for assignment Wednesday afternoon.
July 9 marked the earliest date that the Red Sox have started five rookies since April 22, 1952, when the team started Bill Henry, Jimmy Piersall, Sammy White, Faye Throneberry and Ted Lepcio.
Chicago ace Chris Sale held the the Red Sox to just three hits and one earned run over 7 2/3 innings, leaving with a runner on third but in comfortable possession of a 4-0 lead. But the Sox rallied against the White Sox bullpen, tagging relievers Jake Petricka and Javy Guerra for a combined four runs.
With the win, the Red Sox improved to 40-51 on the year.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
— With the game knotted at four runs apiece, Holt came up big, knocking an offering from Guerra into right field for a single, allowing Nava to score from second and complete the comeback. It was Holt’s first career walkoff hit.
— Betts showed off his dynamic skill set, going 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and reaching another time by getting hit by a pitch. His two doubles against Sale represented his first two big league hits against lefties after an 0-for-9 start. The first double was off the scoreboard in left-center, while the second was wildly unconventional — coming on an infield hit on which the White Sox infielders failed to cover second, with Betts showing his explosive first step to beat everyone to the bag.
— Bradley added to his already lengthy highlight reel on the field this season, as the 24-year-old center fielder robbed Tyler Flowers of extra bases in the top of the second with a diving catch. The play saved a run, as Alejandro De Aza had doubled to right field in the previous at-bat. De La Rosa then got Adam Eaton to fly out to Mookie Betts to end the inning.
Entering Wednesday’s game, Bradley led AL center fielders in ultimate zone rating (11.7) and defensive runs saved (9), according to Fangraphs.
— While he finished the night 0-3 at the plate, Vazquez showed what he can do defensively in his major league debut. After Mike Napoli‘s error resulted in Gillaspie scoring from second, Dayan Viciedo attempted to press his luck and advance to second base on the throw home. While Vazquez was unable to tag Conor Gillaspie out at home, he proceeded to fire the ball to second, easily cutting down Viciedo in the process.
Vazquez has received his fair share of accolades for his arm down in the minors, as the 23-year-old backstop threw out 40 percent of would-be base-stealers this year down in Pawtucket.
— While Ortiz’s first-inning single ordinarily would have seemed rather pedestrian, the fact that it came against Sale made it a noteworthy accomplishment. Sale has been downright merciless this year against left-handed batters, who entered Wednesday’s game having hit only .121 with 29 strikeouts in 66 at-bats against the southpaw.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
— Napoli‘s uncharacteristic stretch of fielding miscues continued Wednesday, as the first baseman did his best Bill Buckner impression in the top of the fourth. With Gillaspie on second, Viciedo hit a ground ball that went through Napoli’s legs, allowing Gillaspie to score, giving Chicago a 3-0 lead. It was the second-straight game in which Napoli was charged with an error and third in his last five games.
— While De La Rosa kept his team in the game, allowing three runs over five innings of work, he was often hit hard by the potent White Sox lineup. The 25-year-old righty surrendered six hits during his outing, all of which went for extra bases: two home runs, one triple and three doubles. De La Rosa’s appearance snapped his streak of 14 scoreless innings at Fenway Park this season.
— It was another adventure out in left field for Gomes, who struggled with two fly balls during the game. In the fourth, De Aza lofted a fly ball out to left that Gomes seemingly lost in the lights, dropping around 10 feet behind the outfielder. De Aza would leg out a triple on the play.
Later in the sixth inning, Flowers struck a ball out to left and Gomes botched it, leaping up at the wrong time and allowing the ball to smash off the Green Monster and giving De Aza an opportunity to score — although he would eventually be thrown out at the plate.
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