Hey, it all looks the same in the standings.
Eduardo Rodriguez saw his gem spoiled by Matt Barnes in the ninth inning Friday night. But a big 10th inning from Kiké Hernández gave the Boston Red Sox an eighth straight victory, beating the Oakland Athletics 3-2 in the first contest of a three-game set.
Hernández hit what proved to be the winning run in the 10th, then squashed an Oakland sacrifice fly attempt with a missile of a throw from center field.
With the win, the Red Sox climb to 52-31. The A’s fall to 48-36 with the loss.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
That game undoubtedly made Sox fans sweat.
ON THE BUMP
— Rodriguez had been trending in the right direction for a while, but bad luck was killing him. His start Sunday against the New York Yankees sent him in that right direction, and Friday was without question his best start of the season.
The left-hander lasted six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit with two walks and six strikeouts.
For as well as he pitched it wasn’t always the tidiest work, though that wasn’t always the southpaw’s fault. He danced with danger in the second, which began with Chad Pinder reaching on a throwing error by Marwin Gonzalez. Pinder moved to third later in the inning on a the lone hit Rodriguez allowed, a Frank Schwindel single. But Rodriguez dialed in and punched out Tony Kemp to end the inning.
After that, Rodriguez didn’t allow another runner past first, ultimately retiring the side in order in the third, fifth and sixth.
Rodriguez finished with just 89 pitches, but Alex Cora seemed to think it best to not walk under any ladders and just go to the bullpen.
— Garrett Whitlock took over in the seventh, and was punished for the lone mistake he made.
The Rule 5 pick got the first two hitters out, but left a sinker over the plate to Jed Lowrie, who lofted it over the fence in right to cut Boston’s lead to 2-1.
Whitlock responded by getting Sean Murphy to pop out to end the inning.
The righty returned for the eighth and pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the last two hitters he faced.
— Barnes got the ninth and it did not go well for him.
The closer blew the save by allowing Elvis Andrus to hit a homer to straightaway center to tie the game at two.
Barnes finished the rest of the inning without issue to send the game to extras.
— Adam Ottavino got the 10th and was tasked with protecting a 3-2 lead. He did a fine job, but got some help from Hernández.
With runners on the corners and no one out, Murphy flew out to center in a sacrifice fly attempt. Hernández made the catch and proceeded to throw a dart, which beat Seth Brown home for the classic 8-2 double play.
Ottavino then got Schwindel to fly out to end the game.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— It was the Red Sox’s All-Star duo that got the scoring going.
Xander Bogaerts walked to begin the inning, then was on his horse the next at-bat. Rafael Devers doubled to left, with Kemp whiffing on a diving attempt, which allowed Bogaerts to score from first.
The next three hitters all grounded out, stranding Devers.
— The Red Sox picked back up in the fifth.
With two down and Danny Santana standing on third, Alex Verdugo pushed a 2-1 sinker down the third base line to score Santana and double the advantage.
— The only other offense came with the game tied in the 10th and Michael Chavis the designated baserunner at second. Hernández ripped a single into right to make it 3-2.
— Devers led the Red Sox with two hits.
— Verdugo, Santana and Hunter Renfroe each had one hit.
— Bogaerts, Gonzalez, Christian Vázquez and Michael Chavis went hitless.
TWEET OF THE GAME
The Red Sox and A’s will play the middle contest of the three-game set Saturday. Garrett Richards will get the ball for Boston opposite Cole Irvin. First pitch from Oakland Coliseum is set for 7:15 p.m. ET.