The Boston Red Sox took the first game of their weekend series against the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-5, at Fenway Park on Friday night.
Boston improved to 35-30 on the season while St. Louis fell to 37-29.
You can view the full box score here.
ONE BIG TAKEAWAY
The Red Sox may need a closer.
You can only blow so many late leads before doing something about it, and the Red Sox were one pitch away from blowing a five run lead in the ninth inning. Being perfect through through 8.2 innings almost wasn’t enough, because Boston doesn’t have an established closer to lock things down.
Boston entered the ninth inning with a 6-1 lead, seemingly poised to cruise to a victory. Manager Alex Cora brought on Austin Davis, who hadn’t allowed an earned run in 13 innings pitched prior, to nail down the win. He got two outs, then things started to unfold.
First, Dylan Carlson doubled to centerfield. No problem.
Then Harrison Bader tripled to drive him home. It happens, right?
Then Andrew Knizner was hit by a pitch, with two strikes in the count. Yikes.
Ok, enough of the Austin Davis experiment. Bring in the unofficial closer Tanner Houck, who had about ten pitches to warm up.
Tommy Edman double. Brendan Donovan double. Paul Goldschmidt comes to the plate in a one run ball game. What is going on?
From that point, you know what happened. Tanner Houck settled in, struck out Goldschmidt and got his third save of the season. You just can’t help but wonder if it should have been easier than that.
STARS OF THE GAME
— Story didn’t just do it with the glove for Boston, busting out of his recent slump with an RBI single after making a pair of tremendous defensive plays.
— Xander Bogaerts continued to do Xander Bogaerts things on Friday, going 3-for-4 with a double.
— Rafael Devers continued to be one of baseballs best sluggers (ehhhem), going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles for two RBI.
Nolan Arenado had +270 odds to hit a home run according to DraftKings Sportsbook. If you’ve ever watched him face Michael Wacha, that was an easy bet, that cashed relatively quickly with Arenado hitting one into the Monster Seats in the second inning. A $100 bet on the slugger paid out $370 total.
ON DECK AT NESN
The Red Sox will play the second of their three-game set against the Cardinals on Saturday night at Fenway Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. ET on FOX. Boston will return to NESN in the series finale against St. Louis on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET with pregame coverage starting at 12:30 p.m. on NESN.