1 big comeback win and 300 saves for Craig Kimbrel
Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com: (May 4, 2018 – Source: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images North America)
The Boston Red Sox defeated the Texas Rangers 6-5 on Saturday night. With the victory, Boston moves onto 24-9 on the season, while Texas drops to 13-22 with the loss. Eduardo Rodriguez started the contest for the Sox and Cole Hamels did the same for the Rangers. The game was played at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
It was relatively quiet for the first 4 and 1/2 innings, as the teams did not do much of anything on the offensive side of the ball. It was knotted 1-1 entering the bottom 5th and, with two outs in the frame, it seemed likely it was going to progress that way. That is, of course, until Delino Deshields took Rodriguez deep to left field, putting the Rangers ahead of the Red Sox 4-1.
The Sox, who really do not like going out without a fight, decided, hey, it might be fun to make this a game. So, Mitch Moreland (Mitchy 4 Bags), naturally, made it a 1-run game with a 2-run homer to right field in the next inning, which just missed the glove of Shin-Soo Choo. It was one of two hits on the night for Moreland, who now sports a 1.050 OPS (damn, I see you) on the season.
The pesky Rangers, in particular Joey Gallo, responded to the 2-run top of the 6th with a solo-shot in the bottom half, making it 5-3. It was his second homerun of the game, both of which were solo-shots, and he now has 12 long balls on the season. Let the record show he still trails league-leader Mookie Betts (13) in homeruns (insert winky emoji, here).
Now that we are conveniently on the subject of Betts, I would like to show you this heads-up, game-changing baserunning play by the man in the top 7th. Here’s the video, courtesy of this Twitter account, who got the footage from MLB.com.
Andrew Benintendi bloops an RBI double down the left-field line, as Mookie Betts comes all the way around to score in the 7th inning (00:48)
— Ballpark Videos (@BallparkVids) May 6, 2018
If you don’t feel like watching it, I’ll type some words about it for you. Betts had reached first base on a walk and Benintendi came up to the plate next, lifting what should have been a bloop single to left field. Normally, Betts would have just gotten to third on the play and everyone would have called it a day. However, being the beast that he is, the Red Sox superstar noticed a slight hesitation by Jurickson Profar, the Rangers shortstop who had collected the ball in left, as he was feigning throwing it to second base, which Beni had just reached. Betts ran home, with zero pause, and beat the throw from Profar with a dazzling slide through the plate to make it a 5-4 game. It was delicious.
Two batters later, J.D. Martinez placed a single up the middle, scoring Benintendi, to tie the game 5-5. We see you, J.D.
Anyway, Heath Hembree came in the 7th and did so without trouble, but ran into an inauspicious situation in the bottom 8th. The bases quickly got loaded for the Sox reliever and there was only one out recorded. He was pulled from the game in favor of Joe “Fight Club” Kelly and, boy, did he dominate the Rangers’ batters. The big, bad Joey Gallo, who had been blasting balls out of the stadium, was overpowered by a high Kelly fastball and his teammate Jurickson Profar did not do much better, striking out looking on a fastball on the outside half of the plate (admittedly, he did put up quite the battle).
In the top of the 9th, Andrew Benintendi hit a clutch triple off the right-center field wall and was able to reach home by way of a Hanley Ramirez sac fly. This made it a 6-5 Red Sox lead, which was their first lead of the game. Enter…. Craig Kimbrel.
Kimbrel came in, striking out two batters, and left the game unscathed. It was the 300th save of the right-handed pitchers career. That is neat! Also, this!
Craig Kimbrel is the 29th pitcher to record 300 saves, reaching the mark in fewer games (494), in fewer save opportunities (330), and at a younger age (29) than any other pitcher. His save percentage of 90.9 is the highest in baseball history (min. 250 save opportunities).
— Red Sox Notes (@SoxNotes) May 6, 2018
Eduardo Rodriguez went 6 innings and surrendered 5 earned runs to score. In his defense, he did strikeout 10 batters and walked just 2. Perhaps there was an element of batted ball luck (and homeruns, especially homeruns) with him tonight.
The Boston Red Sox take on the Texas Rangers at 3:05 p.m. eastern time on Sunday. Chris Sale will take the bump for the Red Sox and old friend Doug Fister will do so for the Rangers. It will be the last of a four-game series between the two opponents.