BOSTON — A frustrating four-game series for the Red Sox ended on a positive note Thursday afternoon as Boston took down the Chicago White Sox 8-7 in a wild and crazy affair at Fenway Park.
Xander Bogaerts played the hero for Boston, stroking an RBI single into center field in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Red Sox their second walk-off win of the season and snap a three-game losing skid.
GAME IN A WORD
After totaling just four runs over the first five innings, the teams combined for 11 over the final five.
The Red Sox scored at least one run in the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and 10th innings.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Mookie Betts reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on Bogaerts’ base hit, sending his teammates streaming out of the first base dugout.
[mlbvideo id=”849013483″ width=”640″ height=”360″ /]
Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth inning and navigated his way out of a bases loaded, nobody out jam in the 10th to pick up the win.
ON THE BUMP
— The first inning again proved problematic for the Red Sox, who have given up at least one run in the opening frame in each of their last four games.
This time, it was Rick Porcello’s lack of command that put Boston in an early hole. The Red Sox starter allowed two base hits, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch as the White Sox scored twice in the top of the first. It could have been worse, too, had Porcello not induced a double play with the bases loaded and nobody out.
Porcello also hit another White Sox batter in the third inning. He escaped from that frame unscathed, but three more singles in the fourth produced Chicago’s third run of the afternoon.
After an uneventful fifth inning, Melky Cabrera tripled to lead off the sixth and scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1 White Sox. Porcello faced one more batter, allowing an infield single, before getting the hook.
His final line: 5 1/3 innings, eight hits, four earned runs, one walk, two strikeouts, two hit batters.
— Tommy Layne relieved Porcello. He allowed a base hit to the first batter he faced, then got Alex Avila to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Layne gave up two more singles in the seventh before giving way to Junichi Tazawa with one out in the inning.
— Tazawa … well, Tazawa followed the unfortunate blueprint set by his fellow Red Sox relievers.
The first pitch he threw to Jose Abreu cleared the Green Monster for a three-run home run, making him the third Sox reliever to blow a lead in this series. (Kimbrel did so Monday; Koji Uehara followed suit Wednesday.)
— Heath Hembree allowed the first three batters to reach in the eighth but escaped without giving up a run.
— Kimbrel, who took the loss in the series opener, retired the White Sox in order on eight pitches in the top of the ninth. The Red Sox closer proceeded to load the bases with nobody out in the 10th but, as Hembree did two innings earlier, was able to keep Chicago off the board, striking out the final two batters he faced.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Chris Young led off the second inning with a single off the Green Monster, but he suffered a right hamstring strain while rounding first base and had to be carried off the field.
[mlbvideo id=”848564483″ width=”640″ height=”358″ /]
If severe, Young’s injury would be another huge blow to a Red Sox team that already is without injured outfielders Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.
Ryan LaMarre replaced Young on the basepaths.
— White Sox starter James Shields had been skewered for 31 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings over his previous four starts entering Thursday, but it took the Red Sox five innings to push a run across against the veteran right-hander.
Betts singled with two outs in the fifth — just Boston’s fourth hit of the game — and came around to score on a double down the line by Dustin Pedroia.
— Shields walked the first two men he faced in the sixth before being yanked. Ex-Red Sox reliever Matt Albers then plunked Jackie Bradley Jr. to load the bases with nobody out, and Hanley Ramirez came through with an infield single to trim Boston’s deficit to 4-3.
With runners on the corners and Albers still seeking his first out, Red Sox manager John Farrell opted to pinch-hit Sandy Leon for catcher Christian Vazquez. The move paid off, as Leon smacked a base hit up the middle to tie the game.
An RBI groundout by Marco Hernandez capped off a four-run frame for Boston.
— After Abreu’s homer put the White Sox back ahead 7-5, the Red Sox again loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh but managed just one run.
Pinch hitter Travis Shaw cut the deficit to one with a sac fly, but a bunt attempt by Bradley ended up in Brett Lawrie’s glove, and Ramirez struck out to end the rally.
Shaw, who started the game on the bench after leaving Wednesday’s contest with a shin contusion, replaced LaMarre in left field — a position he’d played just once in his major league career.
— The game turned yet again in the eighth. Hernandez banged a double high off the Monster and came home on a two-out single by Pedroia to tie the game at 7-7.
But with two runners on and nobody out in the ninth, the Red Sox came up empty, sending an already nearly four-hour game to extra innings.
TWEET OF THE GAME
The Red Sox now head to the Lone Star State to take on the Texas Rangers. David Price will take the ball for Boston on Friday night opposite Texas right-hander Nick Martinez.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images