The Boston Red Sox looked destined to lose against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
Then Mookie Betts happened.
Trailing 4-1 in the eighth inning, the Sox loaded the bases with one out. Facing a 3-2 count against Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias, Betts ripped a bases-clearing double to left-center field. He later scored from second on an infield single by third baseman Rafael Devers, sending Boston to a thrilling 5-4 victory and sweep of the Reds.
The win got right-hander Doug Fister off the hook, as he exited the game in the sixth inning having spotted the Reds a 3-1 lead.
Boston’s bullpen, which has been immense in the second half of the season, gave up one run over the final 3 2/3 innings.
With the Red Sox’s sixth consecutive win, as well as the New York Yankees’ loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, the Sox’s magic number to clinch the American League East lowered to four.
Here’s how it all went down:
GAME IN A WORD
While this word certainly applies to Betts, whose big hit and aggressive baserunning in the eighth inning propelled his team to victory, it also can be applied to the team as a whole. While the Sox seem destined to win the division, every win this time of the year is huge, as the team returns to Fenway Park with a chance to clinch the A.L. East as early as Tuesday.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Betts scampered home from second base on Devers’ infield single in the eighth. With the way the Boston bullpen has been performing, a one-run lead was all that was needed.
ON THE BUMP
— Fister pitched well, but ultimately didn’t factor in the decision, thanks to the Sox’s rally in the eighth inning. The veteran right-hander surrendered three earned runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings while striking out nine. His ERA now sits at 4.89.
— Fernando Abad worked around a walk to get the final two outs of the sixth inning.
— Brandon Workman got the first two outs of the seventh, but also gave up a walk, a hit and a run.
— Robby Scott finished the inning with a strikeout, and ultimately picked up his second win of the season.
— Addison Reed pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning with two strikeouts.
— Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 35th save of the season.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Boston bats were quiet for most of the game but came alive when it mattered.
— Devers had two of the team’s five hits, with Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Sandy Leon accounting for the other three.
— Betts’ three RBI raised his season total to 99.
TWEET OF THE DAY
It was a memorable night for the Sox and manager John Farrell on Saturday.
The Red Sox will return home to play the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday in the penultimate series of the regular season. Boston will give the ball to Drew Pomeranz, while Toronto will send Brett Anderson to the hill. First pitch from Fenway Park is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images