The Boston Red Sox don’t really seem concerned with picking up conventional, nine-inning wins.
The Red Sox have had a flair for the dramatic this season, as they’ve notched 13 extra-innings wins thus far in the 2017 campaign. Boston’s latest extra-innings win came Friday night, as it picked up a 13-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in 15 innings at Tropicana Field.
It didn’t seem like the series opener was ticketed for extras, though. The Rays held a 5-2 lead in the ninth inning, with closer Alex Colome — the Major League Baseball leader in saves — on the hill looking to lock down the win. But the Red Sox would chip away against the right-hander and eventually tied the game on an RBI single off the bat of Xander Bogaerts.
After the game, the Red Sox shortstop praised his teammates for battling against a pitcher of Colome’s caliber and expressed how important wins are at this stage in the season.
“It’s the time of the year we’re at right now,” Bogaerts said. “Every win is important. You can see how much we fought back, especially in the ninth inning. We were down by three against one of the best closers in the game. To come back against him and put up quality at-bats and continue to grind and get a big inning like this was huge.”
Extra-innings games aren’t exactly beneficial for a ball club. Lengthy contests take a toll on a team’s pitching staff and take away from players’ rest. Jackie Bradley Jr. understands how grueling long games can be but believes winning makes it all worth it.
“The only benefit is winning,” Bradley said. “You definitely don’t want to be on the losing end of long, extra-inning games. We can say that we’ve been there. Being able to play those long games, we’ve become accustomed to it. Physically, it stinks, but we know that we can still battle back and get the job done.”
The Red Sox surely would like to get the job done in nine innings, but judging by the way things have gone this season, they’re probably pretty confident if a game goes longer than that.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Rays.
— At six hours and four minutes, this was the longest game the Red Sox have played this season.
— Boston’s pitchers had the strikeout pitch working, as the Rays went down swinging 24 times in the game.
— The Red Sox have played four games of 15 innings or longer this season.
— Tampa Bay tied an American League record with 12 pitchers used.
— Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-9 for the first time in his career.
— Boston’s magic number to clinch the AL East now is 13, while its magic number to earn a playoff berth is seven.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images