Red Sox Notes: Boston’s Bullpen Lights Out In Extra-Inning Win Vs. Angels

Tanner Houck earned the win in relief


Jun 8, 2022

The Boston Red Sox rode excellent performances from their starting pitchers to win five straight games heading into Tuesday’s road matchup with the Los Angeles Angels.

But to keep the Red Sox’s winning streak rolling along, it was their bullpen making a significant mark in Boston’s 6-5 victory in 10 innings over the Angels on Tuesday.

Boston’s bullpen arms picked up starter Garrett Whitlock, who labored through four innings, as five relievers combined to give up just a single run and only two hits in six innings of work to help Boston come from behind to edge the Angels.

“The bullpen, they did an amazing job,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “We went to the bullpen quick, and (Hirokazu) Sawamura was outstanding and (Austin) Davis. We kept going and going. They’re rested because of what the starters have done. We did an outstanding job from there.”

After Jake Diekman allowed a run in the fifth in his only inning of work, the Red Sox’s bullpen completely shut down the Angels. First it was Sawamura, who has recently shuffled back and forth from the big-league club and Triple-A Worcester, tossing a perfect 1 1/3 innings. Davis then came on in relief and got two outs to end the seventh inning.

Cora next went to Tanner Houck, who made the biggest contribution out of any of Boston’s relievers. Houck tossed two scoreless innings and got out of a pressure-packed jam in the bottom of the ninth. After surrendering a leadoff double to Tyler Wade, Houck got a pop out and two strikeouts, including fanning Jo Adell to end the threat. Houck ended up earning the win.

“About slowing down the moment, not making the pressure get to you,” Houck told Jahmai Webster following the contest, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “Just sit back, take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.”

Matt Strahm closed things out in the tenth inning to earn his second save of the season. Strahm picked up two strikeouts in the inning as Boston’s bullpen totaled nine strikeouts in six frames.

Here are more notes from Tuesday’s Red Sox-Angels game:

— Christian Vázquez delivered in the clutch as he laced an RBI single to right field to score Trevor Story for the game-winning run in the top of the 10th inning.

“I love those situations,” Vázquez said on coming through in that moment, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “Somebody’s got to do it, so why not me?”

— Coming into the contest, the Red Sox were 0-18 this season when trailing after sixth innings. Trevor Story tied the game with an infield single in the top of the seventh before Vázquez’s heroics.

— Kiké Hernández was in an unusual spot to end the game as he took over at shortstop starting in the bottom of the ninth for Xander Bogaerts, who left the contest after aggravating a shoulder injury. Hernández helped record the final out as he gobbled up a sharp grounder by Kurt Suzuki and threw on to first to get him in plenty of time.

Seeing Hernández make that play in that situation was certainly an exciting moment for Cora.

“Unreal,” Cora said. “Actually in the dugout when (Suzuki) hit it, I screamed, ‘Kiké!’ And he made the plays. … That wasn’t an easy play. He gets to it and makes a great throw. He didn’t do much at shortstop in spring training, hasn’t done much in the infield throughout the season, but whenever we need him we know we can count on him.”

— Mike Trout went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run in the first inning, but exited the game in the third inning due to left groin tightness.

Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Tanner Houck
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