BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox took the first game of their series against the New York Yankees on Monday, but it nearly didn’t happen that way.
The contest was an exciting one through eight innings. The Red Sox and Yankees traded leads. David Ortiz hit his 495th career homer, a solo shot, in the fourth inning after Mookie Betts hit a two-run jack in the third. It was close, but things seemed to be going Boston’s way.
Then, Jean Machi got on the mound in the ninth.
The Red Sox closer started things off by giving up a single to Yankees second baseman Stephen Drew and walking designated hitter Alex Rodriguez. Machi then loaded the bases with a one-out walk and immediately walked in a run.
Luckily, Machi struck out Greg Bird, and Gregorious hit a terrifyingly deep flyout to end the inning.
Let’s check out some more notes from Monday’s win.
— The save was Machi’s second, but it also was his second near-disaster. The right-hander gave up two runs in his last save opportunity on Aug. 25 to put the Chicago White Sox within one run of tying the game.
— Ortiz’s home run chase has proved to be a bright spot in the Red Sox’s otherwise rough season. With Boston nearly out of contention, it’s given the team something to cheer about.
“It’s exciting. It’s exciting for every one of us,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said after the game. “He’s downplaying it in his typical David humble way, so not making it a distraction. He doesn’t want to make it about himself. He wants to make it about the team. … It’s bigger than a lot of things that are happening right now, and it’ll be fun if he gets that 500.”
— Eduardo Rodriguez’s start wasn’t the most impressive, but he showed poise by getting himself out of three bases-loaded jams and giving up only one run in two of them. And while you’d rather not see those situations happen, it’s good to see his progress.
“He’s showing a lot of maturity,” Lovullo said. “… I think early on in some of his outings when he first got called up, that would’ve been a situation where he would’ve given up four or five runs and the game would’ve been blown over. He’s come a long way.”
— Jackie Bradley Jr. had another impressive game, going 3-for-3 to bring his August batting average to .409. He also made an incredible throw from left field to save a run.
“I think he can throw harder than me,” Rodriguez said of Bradley.
— The Red Sox announced their September call-ups, and the list is short and includes mostly veterans. Catcher Sandy Leon, outfielder Allen Craig and pitchers Ryan Cook and Noe Ramirez will join the team Tuesday.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Jean Machi against the New York Yankees