The Boston Red Sox were competitive through the first five innings of Saturday’s contest against the St. Louis Cardinals, but one inning changed the whole complexion of the game.
St. Louis scored six runs in the top of the sixth inning to go up 10-2 after Boston had cut the lead to 4-2 before the inning. The Cardinals didn’t look back and won the game 11-2 at Fenway Park. The Red Sox had entered the game only giving up 11 runs in its past five games, per Devin Benson of Red Sox Baseball Communications and Media Relations.
“We were one swing away from changing the whole thing,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters postgame, per team-provided audio. “We were working the counts. That’s what (Cardinals pitcher Dakota Hudson) does — getting ground balls. All the walks, we were right there — one swing away from changing the whole thing, but it just didn’t happen.”
The Red Sox had forced five walks off Hudson. Boston scored its second run off a walk when the bases were loaded. Kevin Plawecki was the one who was walked in the situation — the second walk of the game for the catcher.
The six runs given up in the sixth inning were the most the Red Sox had given up in one inning since the May 24 contest against the Chicago White Sox, per Benson.
The runs came off relievers Hansel Robles and Hirokazu Sawamura. Cora said Boston brought in Sawamura in hope to get a groundball to end the inning, but it did not happen as hoped. Robles only went 1/3 of the inning after facing five batters and appeared to not be at full strength. The reliever was checked on by training staff, and his fastball only averaged 94 MPH — down from his usual 96 MPH, per MLB.com’s Ian Browne.
“He’s fine. He kept moving his arm,” Cora said on Robles’ health status. “I don’t know if you guys noticed. Obviously, he was coming off an injury 10 days ago. We made sure everything was fine. He said yeah.”
Here are more notes from Saturday’s Red Sox-Cardinals game
— Before the game, the Red Sox honored Cardinals legend Albert Pujols. Hall of Famer David Ortiz gave Pujols a No. 5 slide from the Green Monster. The St. Louis icon didn’t start the game Saturday, but he came on as a pinch-hitter and was greeted with a standing ovation from the Fenway crowd. Austin Davis struck out Pujols after 11 pitches.
— Davis’ strike out was part of his three innings of relief work. The left hander struck out four batters on a career-high 56 pitches.
“There’s a fine line of trying to get 27 outs with pitchers or trying to get the last three with a position player, but you gotta give him credit,” Cora said on Davis’ performance. “He understands the game. He didn’t feel right about what happened yesterday, not finishing the game. He just wanted to finish, and at the end — I always pull for our guys — but it got to the point where I was really pulling for him to get the last few outs… I’m glad that he got it done, and he saved a few arms.”
— Xander Bogaerts batted 2-for-4 and scored one run. The Red Sox shortstop extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
— Ryan Brasier worked a scoreless fifth inning. Brasier has not allowed a hit in his last four outings — retiring 13 of the last 14 batters he’s faced, per Benson.
— The Red Sox will get a chance to win the series Sunday on Father’s Day. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m., and full coverage will be on NESN following an hour of pregame coverage.