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Red Sox 5, Cardinals 4: Bullpen comes up big in gritty comeback win

05.18.17 at 12:44 am ET
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Craig Kimbrel threw a scoreless inning Wednesday night. (Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports)

Craig Kimbrel threw a scoreless inning Wednesday night. (Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports)

Despite injuries to two of their better relievers in Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg, who haven’t appeared in a game this season, the Red Sox bullpen has been one of the biggest surprises so far this year.

Entering play on Wednesday, the bullpen had an ERA of 2.90, good for fourth in baseball, and that was before arguably its best performance of the season.

The Red Sox bullpen combined for seven scoreless innings in their 5-4 win in 13 innings over the Cardinals.

For a complete game recap, click here.

Starter Rick Porcello allowed four runs in the first two innings, but did settle down as he finished the game by going six innings and allowing four runs on nine hits, while walking three and striking out six.

Following Porcello, every member of the bullpen got into the game with Fernando Abad (win) delivering the best performance by going two innings. Other relievers to get in were Robbie Ross Jr. (2/3 of an inning), Matt Barnes (1/3 of an inning), Joe Kelly (2/3 of an inning), Robbie Scott (1/3 of an inning), Craig Kimbrel (one inning), Heath Hembree (one inning) and finally Ben Taylor (one inning, save).

The group combined to retire 20 of the 25 batters it faced, as the Cardinals never threatened much once Porcello exited the game.

The Red Sox seemed out of the game most of the way, as it was 4-0 from the second inning all the way until the seventh when they scored two runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth to tie the game at four. It took until the 13th inning to plate the go-ahead run and it came with two outs.

Mitch Moreland had a two-out bloop ground rule double, which was followed by an intentional walk to Jackie Bradley Jr. This set the stage for pinch-hitter Chris Young, whose RBI single was the difference.

The performance of the bullpen is encouraging considering it has been asked to do a lot not only with the absence of Smith and Thornburg, but having to log a lot of innings with the issues the No. 4 and 5 starters in the rotation have had.

Once those two pitchers return, and if the group continues to throw like it has, the Red Sox could have one of the best bullpens in baseball come the second half of the season.

Shattering Perceptions Game Note Image

Before Wednesday, the Cardinals were 19-0 this season when leading after seven innings.

Read More: Ben Taylor, Fernando Abad, rick porcello,
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