Moreland’s huge ninth-inning home run got the Red Sox into the win column for the first time in 2019.
Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (Oct. 13, 2018 – Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)
A night after getting embarrassed by the Seattle Mariners on Opening Day, the Boston Red Sox showed signs of last year’s team when they battled back from down 6-1 to win their first game of the season by a score of 7-6.
Nathan Eovaldi really struggled out of the gate, as he let up two first-inning home runs. It didn’t get much better, and he ended up giving up six runs on eight hits in just five innings of work.
Initially, it looked like it was going to be a repeat of the first game, but this time around the bullpen stopped the bleeding and allowed the Red Sox to inch back into the game.
Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Christian Vazquez each hit solo home runs to make it a 6-4 game in the eighth inning. Then, the Sox would load the bases, but Eduardo Nunez grounded into a costly inning-ending double play, in which he stopped running to first base.
It seemed like the Red Sox were primed for an 0-2 start for the first time since 2012, but then they got a rally going against Mariners closer Hunter Strickland in the ninth. Rafael Devers led off the inning with a double. Then, pinch hitter Blake Swihart got hit by a pitch. After a Jackie Bradley Jr. fielders choice, pinch hitter Mitch Moreland stepped to the plate.
He took the 2-0 fastball deep into the right-field bleachers for a three-run homer that would give the Sox a 7-6 lead. However, the game wasn’t over yet.
The Red Sox would have their first save opportunity in life after Craig Kimbrel. Matt Barnes got the nod, and he did not disappoint, throwing a perfect ninth inning capped off by back-to-back strikeouts to end the game.
This type of game was exactly what set last year’s team apart from the rest of the league. They never got down when things didn’t go their way early, and they battled back for a huge come-from-behind win.