It was a long night at Fenway Park, but the Boston Red Sox pulled off an exciting 3-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.
Sandy Leon moved the Red Sox to 2-0 on the season thanks to a three-run, walk-off shot in the 12th inning.
He didn’t earn the win, but Chris Sale dazzled in his Red Sox debut, tossing seven scoreless innings while punching out seven batters.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
It took extras, but the ending was worth the wait as Leon’s heroics gave Boston its second consecutive victory to kick off the 2017 campaign.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Leon sent a three-run shot over the Green Monster.
Offense was at a minimum Wednesday and Leon’s blast provided the only runs of the 12-inning contest.
ON THE BUMP
— In his much-anticipated Red Sox debut, Sale lived up to expectations. The lefty hurled seven scoreless innings in which he struck out seven and walked one.
Sale hardly faced any trouble in his debut as he didn’t allow a runner to reach second base over the course of seven innings. The newly-acquired pitcher was also extremely efficient, as 69 of his 104 pitches were for strikes.
–Sale gave way to Matt Barnes who entered the game in the eighth inning. After a rocky outing on Opening Day on Monday, Barnes responded with a flawless performance Wednesday. He shut down the side in order during his one inning of work.
–Craig Kimbrel appeared in a non-save situation in the ninth inning. Outside of a runner reaching on a Pablo Sandoval fielding error, the Red Sox closer recorded a clean inning.
–Heath Hembree was called on for the 10th inning. He’d give up an off-the-wall shot to Francisco Cervelli, who was held to a single thanks to a strong play from Andrew Benintendi. Hembree would record two outs in the inning before giving way to Robbie Scott.
Scott would shut down any chance of a Pirates go-ahead run as he struck out pinch hitter Phil Gosselin to end the inning.
–Joe Kelly made his season debut in the 11th inning. He was one strike away from a perfect inning, but Starling Marte’s single thwarted the clean inning. Kelly would limit the damage by getting Andrew McCutchen to pop up following the single.
Kelly would stay on for the 12th and shut down the side in order.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
–Sandy Leon was the only notable offensive performer for the Red Sox. He recorded three hits in the contest, including the three-run walk-off home run.
–Jackie Bradley Jr. contributed two singles, including a base knock to start off the 10th inning. He’d also walk to start the 12th inning.
–Dustin Pedroia followed Leon’s double in the third with a single to the opposite field. But, despite third-base coach Brian Butterfield’s hold-up call, Leon raced for home and was cut down by McCutchen.
–Benintendi logged a hit for the second consecutive game with a base knock up the middle.
–Hanley Ramirez recorded the first hit for the Red Sox in the second inning. He also ripped a line drive ticketed for the left-center field gap in the ninth inning, but Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer robbed him on a diving catch.
–Mitch Moreland particularly had a rough night at the plate, as he struck out three times. The first baseman did send two deep shots to the warning track, but the cold April weather knocked down both.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Good luck hitting Sale’s filthy slider.
The Red Sox will close the series with the Pirates on Thursday, as Eduardo Rodriguez is set to square off against Chad Kuhl. First pitch at Fenway Park is set for 1:35 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images