The best way to describe Saturday’s game between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels?
The Red Sox don’t have much time to stew on the devastating defeat, as roughly 12 hours separate the loss and Sunday’s series finale. But the marathon tilt certainly is worth diving into.
Let’s have at it.
— Clay Buchholz looked poised to deliver another clunker. He turned things around in a big way.
Buchholz surrendered three straight hits to begin the game as the Red Sox fell behind 2-0. The right-hander didn’t give up another hit until the seventh inning.
Buchholz tossed eight innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out eight and walking two. It was a solid effort, especially considering he allowed seven earned runs in each of his previous two starts.
— Believe it or not, there was a point when the game was cruising along. It was due in large part to Garrett Richards’ quest for a no-hitter.
Richards carried a no-no into the seventh inning before the Angels crashed and burned. Dustin Pedroia delivered the first of three straight hits. L.A.’s defense then laid an egg as Boston grabbed a 3-2 lead.
— Christian Vazquez made a sick play in the seventh inning when Collin Cowgill hit a dribbler in front of the plate. Vazquez quickly bounced out from behind the dish and fired a laser to first base for the out.
Oh yeah, Vazquez also caught all 19 innings.
— Mike Trout delivered a game-tying home run in the eighth inning. Stud.
— Jackie Bradley Jr. didn’t start, but he ended up playing more than Daniel Nava, who did start.
Bradley entered as a defensive replacement in center field in the eighth inning. Brock Holt shifted to right field with Nava exiting.
Bradley produced a couple of more defensive gems. He also went 0-for-4, running his hitless streak to 0-for-31.
Just another day at the yard, I suppose.
— Dustin Pedroia helped manufacture a run in the 14th inning with some heads-up baserunning.
Pedroia, who singled, swiped second base with David Ortiz batting. Pedroia immediately noticed after popping up from his slide that no one was covering third base. Thus, he took the extra bag.
The two stolen bases — on one play, no less — set the table for a sacrifice fly from Ortiz.
— The Red Sox gave the run right back in the bottom of the 14th inning.
A double, a walk and a single loaded the bases for Trout with no outs. In a somewhat surprising move, Red Sox manager John Farrell decided to play the infield back at double play depth, essentially conceding the tying run.
Trout grounded to short. Xander Bogaerts made the play and flipped to second base. He probably could have thrown out Chris Iannetta at home, but Bogaerts did what the positioning called for.
Pedroia fielded Bogaerts’ toss and then made a desperation throw home instead of turning the double play. It was a poor decision that Pedroia later explained to reporters.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s tough to play infield in. If they hit a chopper, we lose,” Pedroia said. “Winning run’s on second. But yeah, I told Bogey before, if he smokes a ball, try to give it to me out in front of the base so we could try to get that out at home because Trout runs so good. Iannetta just got a great jump.”
Junichi Tazawa, pitching for the fourth time in five days, escaped the first-and-third, one-out jam to extend the game.
— Right-hander Heath Hembree, who was acquired in the Jake Peavy trade, shined in his Red Sox debut. He tossed four scoreless innings — the 15th-18th — while totaling 62 pitches.
“It was fun. It was a crazy game tonight,” Hembree told reporters. “That was definitely the longest outing of my career. Just trying to catch my breath and keep going.”
Hembree’s reward? A trip back to Triple-A Pawtucket, for now. The Red Sox intend to call up a fresh arm for Sunday’s series finale.
What a cruel game, huh?
— The umpires reviewed Pujols’ walk-off blast to make sure it cleared the yellow line atop the wall. The call was upheld.
— There were 18 pitchers used, nine on each side. That includes a pair of starters: Workman for Boston and Matt Shoemaker for Los Angeles.
— This marked the longest time of game (six hours, 31 minutes) in Angel Stadium history.