Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (March 28, 2018 – Source: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America)
One day after the Boston Red Sox offense came alive, the bats quieted once again. It was a pitchers duel from start to finish, and a winner couldn’t be determined in regulation. However, for the second time in as many nights, the heroics of Hanley Ramirez led to a Sox victory. The Boston Red Sox sweep the Miami Marlins, and move to 5-1 on the season.
Boston Red Sox sweep the Miami Marlins, move to 5-1
Chris Sale took the mound with a chance to make history. Throughout five games, the Red Sox starters allowed just one or zero runs in each start. Only three teams in the history of major league baseball had accomplished this streak, and no team since 1908 made it to six such games. That is, until today. It wasn’t Sale’s most dominant performance by any means, but the team ace still managed to go five innings while allowing just one run.
The Red Sox started off the game off right offensively. Andrew Benintendi walked to get on base, and Hanley Ramirez moved him to second. J.D. Martinez then stepped up to the plate, knocking a single to the opposite field to drive Benintendi home.
The bats fell silent on both sides until the bottom of the fourth inning. Facing Justin Bour with a runner on first and no outs, Sale gave up a shot to right field. It was a makeable play for Martinez, but he ultimately came up just short, allowing Brian Anderson to score all the way from first. While it wouldn’t have been an easy play by any means, it’s a play that normal right fielder Mookie Betts probably makes.
Rafael Devers started off the top of the fifth with a leadoff double, but was unable to score. In what has become an unfortunate trend, the Red Sox made an ugly out on the basepaths. Devers was thrown out trying to advance on a grounder to the pitcher, and the Sox couldn’t put any runs on the board.
Sale pitched one last clean inning before handing the ball over to Bobby Poyner. The young lefty answered the call, taking down the Marlins 1-2-3 while striking out two. Poyner recorded two more out in the seventh before Carson Smith came on to finish the inning.
The score was still tied, 1-1, entering the top of the eighth with Jackie Bradley leading off the inning. Bradley, whose had a slow start to the season, launched a leadoff double to straightaway center. Mitch Moreland moved Bradley to third with a sacrifice fly, and Eduardo Nunez stepped up to the plate.
Nunez swung at the very first pitch, hitting a soft chopper to second. Bradley was off on contact, but he wasn’t quick enough. Once more, poor baserunning decisions cost the Red Sox, and the Sox couldn’t capitalize on the leadoff double. Adding insult to injury, the Sox made yet another out on the basepaths, as Nunez was caught stealing to end the inning.
Neither team could get anything going offensively, as the game went into extra innings, tied 1-1. Old friend Brad Ziegler took the mound for the Marlins, and took care of business in the 10th. The Red Sox answered with closer Craig Kimbrel, who made things interesting by allowing runners to get to first and second. Fortunately, he was able to get out of the inning and send the game to the 11th.
Betts came in as a pinch-hitter in the 11th, and it looked like he might be the hero. The right fielder launched a shot to straightaway center, and looked to be a surefire home run. However, center fielder Lewis Brenson made an unbelievable catch to rob Mookie of the home run.
The Sox offense wouldn’t quit, as Nunez launched a double down the left field line on the very next at-bat. Benintendi then hit a single through the shift into left field to give the Sox a 2-1 lead. The game looked in hand, as Matt Barnes went for the save. However, Barnes couldn’t finish the job, giving up two walks and a double. The double scored the game-tying run, and would have plated the game-winning run were it not for a great relay by Benintendi and Bogaerts.
Two innings later, Hanley played the role of hero for the second game in a row. With two outs in the top of the 13th, Hanley roped a double to left center field. The drive plated Betts and Benintendi, and gave the Sox a 4-2 lead they would not reliquish. Heath Hembree earned the save, and clinched the Red Sox fifth straight win.
The Red Sox have a much-needed off-day tomorrow before their home opener against the Tampa Bay Rays. David Price will take the mound to face his former team.