Defensive miscues cost Red Sox in frustrating loss
|08.16.14 at 2:59 am ET|
It seemed as if everything was in place for a Red Sox victory Friday night.
Clay Buchholz gave his team a chance to win, holding the Astros to just two earned runs over seven innings of work, while Brock Holt‘s RBI single in the bottom of the seventh gave Boston a late 3-2 lead.
However, both the lead and the game quickly changed course in the top of the eighth, all due to a head-scratching and bizarre series of defensive mistakes.
With runners on first and second for Houston with two outs, Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez hit a liner that jumped up in front of Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts, looking to end the inning, attempted to get the out at second, but Dexter Fowler beat the force out.
Dustin Pedroia then immediately threw to home in an attempt to nab Gregorio Petit, who was attempting to score on the play. Christian Vazquez caught the ball and attempted to tag out Petit in a rundown, but took an odd angle that allowed Petit to avoid the tag and sneak past the Sox catcher on the basepaths.
“It’s a tough play. … [Pedroia] threw the ball to home plate and I was running to the runner to do a rundown and he came on the other side,” Vazquez said.
Vazquez then flipped the ball to reliever Burke Bandenhop at home, who fumbled the throw, allowing Petit to score and tie the game at 3 runs apiece.
“A strange play with two outs,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell after the game. “Fowler, at first base, does a good job of getting to second base in short order, but Dominguez hits a little bit of a humpback liner that Xander’s got to lay back on, and if the anticipation might have been where the speed of Fowler doesn’t give him a shot at the feed at second base, then does he possibly take the throw across the infield to get Dominguez, who is probably a little bit of a below-average runner.”
“But then I think [Pedroia] makes a heads-up play, even after the safe sign is called, and Christian’s aggressiveness to run him back to third base, his momentum takes him inside the third-base line and gives Petit enough room to elude a tag, and unfortunately that’s a tie ballgame in that spot.”
After the game, both Farrell and Bogaerts admitted that the whole situation could have been avoided if Bogaerts had attempted to get the final out at first base.
“He was close at second, but, I mean, I could have thrown to first,” Bogaerts said. “If that guy didn’t make a great move at the play at home plate, he probably would’ve been out.”
“Again, when he’s got to lay back on it, whether or not he’s familiar with the running speed of Fowler,” Farrell said. “You can say sitting here, in hindsight, ‘Yeah, take the play across the infield for the putout at first base.’ But his instincts were to go the short way with a feed to [Pedroia].”
The play ended up being costly for Boston, as the Astros would eventually tack on two more runs in the top of the 10th en route to a 5-3 Houston win.
While the 2014 campaign has been filled with its fair share of growing pains for a rookie like Bogaerts, the Sox shortstop admitted that his latest misstep – which played a role in erasing both a 3-2 lead and a four-game winning streak -particularly hurt.
“We’re playing great baseball,” Bogaerts said. “I think we had a four or five-game winning streak, so for us to lose that way, after that go-ahead base hit, after Vazquez saw the ball go off the dirt and went to second base and Brock got that hit. That was pretty frustrating right there.”
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