The Boston Red Sox’s key to victory Friday night? Face pitchers not named Matt Harvey.
The Red Sox managed just two hits and zero runs in the Mets ace’s six innings of work but plated six against New York’s struggling bullpen en route to a 6-4, 10-inning win at Citi Field.
GAME IN A WORD
Harvey was lifted after completing a perfect sixth inning, and the Red Sox immediately took advantage. David Ortiz sent the first pitch from reliever Logan Verrett over the wall in left-center to cut Boston’s deficit to 2-1, and after Blake Swihart reached on a two-out single, Jackie Bradley Jr. smashed a home run of his own to give the Red Sox their first lead of the ballgame.
That one-run cushion lasted a mere half an inning, but Swihart put the Sox ahead for good when he tattooed Carlos Torres’ first pitch of the 10th inning to deep center field and came all the way around for an inside-the-park home run. It was the first inside-the-parker by a Red Sox hitter since Jacoby Ellsbury accomplished the feat in 2011.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
The Red Sox added two additional insurance runs in the 10th.
Bradley followed up Swihart’s homer with a single, and Mookie Betts doubled two batters later — missing a home run of his own by mere feet — to put two men in scoring position with one out. Bradley came home on a sacrifice fly by Josh Rutledge, and Xander Bogaerts singled home Betts for Boston’s sixth and final run.
That extra cushion proved crucial in the home half of the frame. After making a wild throw to second to initiate a double play, Junichi Tazawa proceeded to walk four consecutive batters. That cut New York’s deficit to 6-4 and ended Tazawa’s night.
Craig Breslow took over with the bases loaded and saved the day, getting former Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to fly out to center for the final out.
ON THE BUMP
— Red Sox rookie Henry Owens began his fifth major league outing by issuing one walk in a scoreless first inning, then walking another and allowing a single in the second. He had the benefit of facing Harvey following Ruben Tejada’s two-out base hit, however, and he struck out his counterpart to end the threat.
The southpaw walked another in the third, and Cespedes nearly made him pay by lofting a fly ball to the warning track in right-center. Rusney Castillo was able to settle under the ball with a few feet to spare, and another flyout allowed Owens to complete his third scoreless frame.
The Mets got to Owens in the fourth. Wilmer Flores reached on a one-out double, then decided to run straight through a stop sign at third on a base hit to center by Travis d’Arnaud. There’s a chance Betts could have nailed Flores with a good strike to the plate, but Bogaerts made the poor decision of cutting off the center fielder’s throw, leaving no play at home.
Poor defense doomed the Sox again one inning later. David Wright reached on a two-out single and came all the way around when Michael Cuddyer’s base hit to right field skittered under Castillo’s glove. Castillo chased the ball down and fired it in, but Swihart couldn’t handle David Ortiz’s relay to the plate, giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.
That fifth inning proved to be Owens’ last, as four walks doomed an otherwise solid outing. He threw 108 pitches, allowing five hits and striking out six.
— Heath Hembree came on to work the sixth for the Red Sox. He allowed a base hit to Tejada but retired the other three batters he faced.
— Robbie Ross Jr. faced just one batter in the seventh, inducing a lineout off the bat of Curtis Granderson before giving way to Alexi Ogando.
— Ogando was not remotely effective. The tall right-hander walked three of the first five batters he faced and allowed a base hit to another. His third walk forced in a run, tying the game at 3-3 and ending his outing.
— Jean Machi got Tejada to fly out with the bases loaded to end the seventh. He returned for the eighth and retired the side in order, striking out one.
— Tommy Layne walked the first batter he faced in the ninth but settled down to induce two groundouts to shortstop — including one that initiated a 6-4-3 double play — and force extra innings.
— Red Sox pitchers combined to walk 12 batters in the game.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox put two men on in the first against Harvey but could not push a run across. Pablo Sandoval worked a one-out walk and Bogaerts followed with a single, but Ortiz grounded into a 1-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Harvey responded by retiring the side in order in the second, striking out two.
— Boston’s next hit did not come until the fourth, when Ortiz singled to snap a streak of 10 consecutive batters retired by Harvey. The Mets ace proceeded to induce an inning-ending groundout off the bat of Brock Holt, however, preserving the scoreless tie.
— Bradley reached on a dropped third strike in the fifth and promptly stole second without a throw. All that sprinting went for naught, though, as Harvey struck out Owens for a second time to end the inning, fighting back from a 3-0 count in the process.
— Ortiz’s home was the 493rd home run of his career, tying him with Fred McGriff and Lou Gehrig for 27th all-time. He was due to hit again in the top of the ninth but instead was lifted for Travis Shaw midway through the eighth.
— Sandoval was ejected from the game in the eighth inning for arguing with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck. The third baseman was called out on a groundball directly in front of the plate that he apparently believed was foul. He had some choice words for Hirschbeck as he walked back to the dugout, and the ump told him to hit the showers.
TWEET OF THE GAME [tweet https://twitter.com/Shesta_Sox/status/637453726228287488 align=’center’]
These teams will be back at it again Saturday afternoon, with the Red Sox’s Joe Kelly opposing last season’s National League Rookie of the Year, Jacob deGrom.
Thumbnail photo via Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart congratulates outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.