It’s probably safe to say Chris Sale has found his form, but the same can’t be said for the bullpen.
The Red Sox ace delivered yet another quality outing Monday night, but a meltdown from Matt Barnes in the ninth and Ryan Brasier in the 11th led to Boston falling 4-3 to the Texas Rangers in 11 innings in the series opener of a four-game set at Fenway Park.
Sale struck out 10 and allowed one run (which wasn’t earned) over seven innings, while Boston put two runs on the board in the first inning. However, Barnes entered in the ninth inning tasked with protecting a 2-1 lead, and he allowed the Rangers to score two runs, blowing the save. Brasier then allowed a run to cross in the 11th, ultimately dooming the hosts.
The Red Sox fall to 34-33 with the loss, while the Rangers climb to 35-30 with the win.
Here’s how it went down:
GAME IN A WORD
Sale had yet another good start squandered by the bullpen.
ON THE BUMP
— It was a good night for Sale, who allowed just one unearned run on three hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts.
Sale retired the first 10 batters he saw, not allowing a hit until Danny Santana’s one-out double in the fourth. Santana got caught stealing during the next at-bat though, and Sale got out of the inning unscathed before pitching a scoreless fifth, allowing one hit.
Texas hung its lone run on Sale in the sixth inning. The southpaw issued a leadoff walk to Rougned Odor, then struck the next two hitters out. During the next at-bat, Odor stole second base before advancing to third on a throwing error by Sandy Leon. He then came home on a Santana single, cutting Boston’s lead to 2-1. Sale struck out the next batter to get out of the inning.
Sale returned for the seventh and pitched a 1-2-3 inning to end his night.
— Brandon Workman took over in the eighth and retired the side in order.
— Matt Barnes got the ninth and collapsed.
With one out, Barnes allowed Santana to single to center, beating the shift. Santana moved to third the next at-bat on an Elvis Andrus double, then both came home on a Nomar Mazara single to left, putting the Rangers up 3-2.
Barnes struck out Hunter Pence and intentionally walked Asdrubal Cabrera to put runners on the corners before getting pulled.
— Heath Hembree relieved Barnes and struck out Logan Forsythe to end the inning.
Hembree came back out in the 10th and tossed a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two.
— Ryan Brasier entered in the 11th and didn’t have a great night.
The righty allowed a leadoff double to Santana that probably would’ve been a triple had Mookie Betts not made a diving stop on the grounder. The next hitter, Andrus, singled to center to plate Santana and make it 4-3.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— It took no time for the Red Sox to get to Rangers starter Mike Minor.
Betts walked to begin the bottom of the first, then Andrew Benintendi launched a 1-0 fastball into the left-center field corner of the Green Monster, putting the Sox up 2-0 early.
— Minor settled down nicely after the tough start to the game, ultimately lasting eight innings, only allowing the two runs.
— Down 3-2 in the ninth, the Red Sox rallied and made it count.
J.D. Martinez began the inning with a single off the Green Monster, then Xander Bogaerts hit a base knock to right. But Rafael Devers grounded into a double play.
Brock Holt pinch-hit with a runner on third and two down, and he flared a single to left-center to tie the game. Marco Hernandez pinch-hit and his high pop-up dropped in shallow right, but Holt inexplicably tried to score from first and was out by a mile at home.
— Leon hit a one-out single to left in the 10th, then Betts walked to put runners in scoring position. Benintendi struck out, then Michael Chavis walked to load the bases with two down. But Bogaerts ended the rally with a line out to right-center.
— Down 4-3 in the 11th, the Red Sox didn’t have another rally in them, going down in order.
— Martinez led the Red Sox with two hits.
— Betts, Benintendi, Bogaerts, Holt, Hernandez, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Leon had one hit apiece.
— Devers, Sam Travis and Eduardo Nunez all went hitless.
TWEET OF THE DAY
This is impressive.
The Red Sox and Rangers will continue their series Tuesday evening. First pitch from Fenway Park is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images