Brandon Phillips delivers final blow in dramatic Red Sox win
Image via Zimbio (Sept. 4, 2018 – Source: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)
In one of the weirder games in recent memory, the Red Sox rallied late against the young Braves with the help of a new face. Brandon Phillips finally got called up since being acquired by the Sox and he did not disappoint. In a lineup missing multiple starters, Phillips turned out to be the hero the Sox needed.
The game started, and for a while stayed, in favor of the Braves. In the bottom of the first, Ronald Acuna Jr. continued his torrid pace of leadoff homers with a bomb off Hector Velazquez. This was Acuna’s 8th leadoff home run on the year, a Braves franchise record. With the first inning homer, he also tied Matt Carpenter for the NL home run lead. Forget NL rookie of the year, put Acuna in the MVP conversation.
The Braves tacked on one more in the first on a Nick Markakis single. However, the Red Sox quickly responded with a run of their own. Brock Holt scored Phillips on a fielder’s choice to cut the deficit in half.
Velazquez made it through just 4 innings on the day. The back end of the rotation has been struggling to pitch deep into games. There’s been a lot of question marks recently with Chris Sale‘s injury, Eduardo Rodriguez coming back, and the plethora of end of the rotation options that the Sox have. One of the guys who may have worked himself out of the conversation is Drew Pomeranz.
Pomeranz came on in the fifth, working out of the pen, and had no success against the Braves. They tallied five runs off of Pomeranz on 3 hits and 2 walks. His ERA now rests at a plump 6.18 on the season. As quickly as Pomeranz had entered the game, the Sox found themselves in a 7-2 hole headed to the top of the sixth.
It took until the eighth inning for the Boston offense to finally wake up. Down 5 runs, Blake Swihart got the improbable rally going. With two on, he doubled to make it 7-3. Andrew Benintendi then laced an RBI single to bring in another. Steve Pearce brought Swihart home on a sac fly to put the Sox within two. The magical inning was finally capped off by a two run single from Ian Kinsler to tie the game. It was the first time the Sox have rallied back from being down six runs on the season, but the team is no stranger to comebacks. This was the fourth time on the year the Red Sox have come from 5 or more runs. You can never count out the 2018 Sox.
Despite the wild 8th, the Sox almost blew it the very next inning. Brandon Workman, who picked up the win in this one, gave up a two-out solo shot to Freddie Freeman. However, this gave way to even more late game dramatics from the Sox. With one swing of the bat, Brandon Phillips inserted himself into a roster spot conversation. After Benintendi reached to start the inning, Phillips blasted his first homer on the season, a go ahead two run shot to put the Sox out front in the top of the ninth, their first lead all game.
ZERO IS OUR HERO. pic.twitter.com/jqXL9WzU7A
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) September 5, 2018
Thankfully, there was no more need for any dramatics. Craig Kimbrel came on to close out one of the more memorable wins on the season, his 38th save on the season. The magic number for a playoff berth now stands at 4, with the divisional magic number being 14. As the chase for the playoffs heats up, wins like this is what keeps the Sox out ahead of everyone else.
The Red Sox will look to close out the sweep of the Atlanta Braves Thursday night. Maybe the next one will be a bit easier.