Bases loaded opportunity falls to the wayside; Boston drops series opener 2-1 to Minnesota.
Featured Image by Zimbio.com: (July 25, 2018 – Source: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images North America)
After Wednesday’s finale against the Baltimore Orioles was rained out, the Boston Red Sox opened a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins. Brian Johnson squared off against Twins starter Kyle Gibson. Both Johnson and Gibson spun gems on the mound and turned Thursday’s matchup into a pitching duel. The offense was not a high point in tonight’s game, Boston and Minnesota only combined for 13 hits. The Red Sox had 5 hits, to the Twins 8 hits. The Red Sox bullpen ruined BJ’s strong outing and allowed two runs to score in the seventh and eighth inning. The Red Sox had their chance to tie, if not win the game in walk-off fashion in a thrilling ninth inning. Boston loaded the bases but did not capitalize.
Johnson’s stellar outing set up what was thought to be a certain Red Sox win. He threw 5.2 strong innings only allowing four hits and three walks. Brian picked up five strikeouts on the mound on Thursday and retired thirteen batters in a row before being taken out in the sixth inning. He only labored through the first inning.
The Sox made a couple great defensive plays in tonight’s matchup. During Johnson’s intense workload in the first inning Jackie Bradley Jr. threw out Joe Mauer at home plate from center field for the second out of the inning. In the sixth inning, Brock Holt threw out Eddie Rosario at home plate from second.
In the second inning, Boston created a run using small ball. Blake Swihart singled on a line drive to left field, and Brock Holt got hit by a pitch which moved Blake over to second base. On a force out from JBJ, Swihart went to third base. Mookie Betts grounded into a double play, scoring Blake before the inning ended.
Reliever Heath Hembree replaced Johnson in the sixth inning, and began the wheels began to fall off in the seventh inning. He gave up singles to Robbie Grossman and Max Kepler. Kepler scores on a double play by Ehrie Adrianza. After giving up another single Bobby Wilson, Hembree was taken out of the game, and Matt Barnes entered the game. Barnes struck out Mauer to end the seventh inning. Barnes started the eighth inning striking out Rosario but then walked Brian Dozier. Barnes struck out Eduardo Escobar, but gave up a double to Mitch Garver. Dozier crossed the plate to take the lead 2-1 Minnesota.
The Red Sox had a wicked opportunity to win the game in the ninth inning. Twins closer Fernando Rodney entered the game, and struggled with his control. Xander Bogaerts started the inning with a single into center field. After Steve Pearce and Rafael Devers got out, Rodney walked Swihart and Holt to load the bases. Jackie came up next and was able to work himself into a full count, but ended up striking out swinging.
The Red Sox came up short in a thrilling ninth inning and dropped the series opener to Minnesota 2-1.