Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (May 15, 2018 – Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America)
The Red Sox entered Wednesday’s matchup in an uncomfortable situation, losing the previous two games and finding themselves one game out of first. Fortunately, Chris Sale had the ball as the Red Sox looked to avoid the sweep. At the end of the day, the Boston Red Sox avoided the sweep, winning 6-3. With the win, the Sox are just a half-game out of first.
Boston Red Sox Avoid Sweep, Defeat Athletics 6-4
Team ace Chris Sale took the ball in the top of the first and dealt with some relative trouble. However, Sale pitched his way out of trouble, striking out three batters before the Red Sox offense went to work. Mookie Betts led off the bottom of the first with a double, and Andrew Benintendi added to his nine-game hit streak with a single up the middle. With runners on first and third and no outs, Hanley Ramirez hit a fielders choice to the shortstop. While Hanley was thrown out, Benintendi advanced to second and Mookie scored, making it a 1-0 game.
J.D. Martinez stepped into the box and continued his hot streak. Oakland starter Trevor Cahill left a changeup over the inside corner of the plate, which you shouldn’t do when you’re pitching to J.D. Martinez. The power-hitting righty took the meatball and launched it over the center field fence, making it 3-0.
Despite the hot start, the bats for both sides cooled off after that first inning. Cahill settled down, while Chris Sale did Chris Sale things. The score remained the same until the bottom of the fifth when Marcus Semien stepped up to bat. With a runner on first, Semien launched a towering home run over the Green Monster and down onto Lansdowne Street. The two-run bomb made it a 3-2 game, but Sale finished the inning before any more damage could occur.
In all, Sale went five innings, allowing just those two runs while striking out nine. It wasn’t his best outing by any means, but Sale left the game with the chance to record the win. In the bottom of the sixth, Xander Bogaerts decided to increase Sale’s odds of earning said win.
With Ramirez and Martinez on first and second, respectively, Bogaerts found a pitch on the inside corner and absolutely drove it. The three-run blast went over the Green Monster entirely, making it a 6-2 game. The home run occurred with no outs, but the Sox couldn’t add to the lead.
No lead is safe with this incarnation of the Boston bullpen, and that’s never truer than when Heath Hembree takes the mound. The struggling righty came into the top of the seventh and immediately gave up a solo shot into the visitor’s bullpen. To make it worse, Mookie awkwardly collided with the right-field wall and appeared to be shaken up. Fortunately, Mookie managed to stay in the game, and the injury didn’t appear serious. Hembree didn’t allow any damage past the home run, and the Sox entered the bottom of the seventh with a 6-3 lead.
Joe Kelly took care of the eighth, and Craig Kimbrel came in to take care of the ninth and save the win. While he allowed a solo home run, he still managed to secure the win for the Boston Red Sox. The Sox homestand continues tomorrow, as David Price takes on Kevin Gausman and the Baltimore Orioles.