The Red Sox were in a prime position to win Wednesday’s game against the Tigers… until they weren’t.
Boston fell 6-5 to Detroit in extra innings at Fenway Park after multiple attempts to make a comeback. And one particular wasted opportunity might have cost the Sox the game.
Garrett Whitlock struggled for the second game in a row despite exceeding expectations in his first six performances. The Rule 5 righty reliever tried to keep the Red Sox’s hopes alive in the 10th, but gave up the game-winning 3-run to give Detroit a lead Boston failed to erase.
Initially, Boston rallied back from a two-run deficit in the seventh inning to tie the game at three on a J.D. Martinez home run. It attempted to find similar success in the ninth but left the bases loaded to end the inning and send the game to extras.
“From our end, we got lucky in that inning with the base hit by Kevin (Plawecki) and the one by (Hunter) Renfroe,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said during his postgame media availability. “We had a chance to tie the game, but they made some good pitches at the end and we weren’t able to tie or win it.”
Xander Bogaerts had chance to play hero after Gregory Soto intentionally walked Martinez with two outs in the ninth to load the bases. The shortstop connected with the ball and sent it soaring into left field, but Robbie Grossman made an impressive catch to end the inning.
Still, Cora “thought it was a good play” despite not getting the desired result.
“We put some good swings in that inning,” he added. “We put (up) better at-bats from the seventh inning on. Just the way (Bogaerts) hit it, he didn’t hit it as hard as he usually does. I was hoping it would get down but that ball just hung up there and he (Grossman) a nice catch.”
The Red Sox now are 2-2 in extra innings games this season. It’s not the most horrific number, but Boston certainly does not want to form a bad habit here either. So the time to find consistency in this department is now, before it’s too late.
Here are some more notes from Wednesday’s Tigers-Red Sox game:
— Christian Arroyo exited the game in the sixth after getting hit in the hand by a pitch.
Cora does not expect the Red Sox to use Arroyo in Thursday’s series finale, but does not anticipate bringing in another position player either, even with Alex Verdugo still out.
“He got hit in the same hand as he did last week,” Cora said. “He’s pretty sore. X-rays were negative so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow when he comes in, but we’ll stay away from him.”
— Whitlock did not give up a single run in his first six appearances this season, but since has given up home runs in back-to-back games.
— Boston was wildly unsuccessful Wednesday with runners in scoring position, but that’s not the worst of their base-running woes.
Not only did the Sox go just 3-for-16 with men on second and third, but they also left 10 men on base throughout the evening. It’s hard to imagine this didn’t play some sort of role in the loss.
— Despite Wednesday’s loss, Red Sox pitching did manage to accomplish a rare feat.
The staff now has struck out 10-plus batters in a franchise-high nine straight games, according to Red Sox Nation Stats.
— Boston and Detroit will wrap up their three-game series Thursday afternoon at Fenway, with first pitch slated for 1:10 p.m. ET.