BOSTON — You could say the Red Sox have been opportunistic this season.
The Red Sox crapped away a 5-1 lead in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday, but they stormed back two innings later when the Nats made some costly mistakes.
Boston, which improved to 6-2 with an 8-7 victory, again flashed a potent offense against Washington, but the Nats certainly helped the Red Sox’s cause.
It’s always strange when a team scores three runs in an inning without producing a single hit. And that’s what Boston did in the seventh inning Tuesday.
GAME IN A WORD
The Nationals contributed to their own demise Monday. Guess what happened Tuesday.
IT WAS OVER WHEN?
The Nationals shot themselves in the foot in the seventh inning.
Horrendous defense cost the Nationals in Monday?s series opener. It was more of the same Tuesday, as some ill-timed self-inflicted wounds cost Washington immensely.
The Nats scored six runs in the fifth inning to take a 7-5 lead. The advantage quickly evaporated in the seventh, when three errors (two on one play) and two hit batters paved the way for three Boston runs.
The Red Sox didn’t produce a single hit in their three-run seventh.
Hanley Ramirez reached on an error by shortstop Ian Desmond to begin the seventh. Matt Thornton, a former Red Sox, then plunked Shane Victorino to put the tying run aboard.
Blake Treinen entered and drilled Allen Craig, who pinch-hit for Daniel Nava, to load the bases with one out. Ryan Hanigan followed with a slow roller back to the mound that Treinen bobbled and then threw wildly past catcher Wilson Ramos, allowing the Red Sox to tie the game 7-7.
Boston took an 8-7 lead when Brock Holt grounded to short and plated Craig, who made an excellent read and got a great jump toward home.
IN THE BATTER?S BOX
— Mookie Betts again wasted little time in leaving his mark.
Betts, who completely took over the first two innings of Monday?s home opener, again hijacked the opening frames Tuesday. The 22-year-old made an excellent running catch in left-center field in the first inning, and then ripped a two-run double into the left field corner in the second inning.
— Nava and Hanigan both produced RBI singles in a two-run third inning.
Hanigan, of course, also hit the dribbler in the seventh inning that Treinen completely botched.
— Pablo Sandoval was plunked on the back foot by Stephen Strasburg in the third. He initially stayed in the game but later exited before the sixth inning with a foot contusion.
— Dustin Pedroia hit his first home run since smacking two on Opening Day in Philadelphia. He also singled and walked.
Pedroia, whose blast made it 5-1 in the fourth inning, didn?t hit his third homer last season until June 7. It took him until May 27 to hit his third homer in 2013.
You could say he?s a step ahead of the game this season.
— Holt, starting in place of Xander Bogaerts (knee), went 2-for-4 with a run scored. He also knocked in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning on a ground ball to short that plated Craig from third.
Desmond, who has had a rough series at short for Washington, had a shot to throw out Craig at the plate, but he seemed to bobble the ball ever so slightly, paving the way for Boston?s eighth run.
Holt is 7-for-11 to open the season.
ON THE BUMP
— Everything came apart at the seams for Justin Masterson in the fifth inning.
Masterson allowed three singles, hit two batters, walked one and committed an error in the frame before manager John Farrell took the ball. The right-hander ultimately was charged with seven earned runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked three.
Masterson settled down nicely after a long first inning, but the fifth inning was a complete disaster.
— Alexi Ogando relieved Masterson and immediately surrendered a two-run triple to Michael Taylor. Both runs were charged to Masterson.
Ogando came back out and tossed a scoreless sixth inning.
— Edward Mujica struck out two in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
— Junichi Tazawa kept the Nats off the scoreboard in the eighth inning after taking over for Mujica.
— Koji Uehara, in his first appearance of 2015, recorded his first save of the season. He struck out two in a 1-2-3 inning.
Ryan Zimmerman hooked a potential game-tying home run juuuuuust foul with one out.
TWEET OF THE GAME
The Red Sox and Nationals will wrap up their three-game series Wednesday with afternoon baseball. Wade Miley and Gio Gonzalez are set to square off in a battle of southpaws scheduled for 1:35 p.m.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images