Last night, in front of over 36 000 baseball fans in Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox did something that they have only done three times in the last ten games: they won. The victory snapped the seven-game win streak of the Chicago White Sox, stopping them from sweeping the Red Sox. Boston’s starter Steven Wright had the right stuff (excuse the pun) to take the wind out of White Sox, while their bats did the same to starting pitcher Chris Sale (again, apologies).
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The game seemed like the last three matches. The White Sox drew first blood in the first inning, with Jose Abreu smashing a two-run homer over the fence in right center field. The hit scored Adam Eaton for the early lead. Wright’s 76-mph knuckleball didn’t seem to have much of a dance card, as it laid straight over the plate for Abreu to discard quickly, like many of Red Sox Nation might have done with their hopes that this game would be any different than the last few nights.
Then, the Red Sox did something a bit more unexpected. They didn’t just score a run; they manufactured one. With two outs, Boston’s young shortstop Xander Bogaerts stole second base with designated hitter David Ortiz batting. Whether the hit-and-run was on or not, Bogaerts didn’t wait for Ortiz to hit him around the bases, as what traditionally happens with Big Papi at the plate. The fact that it happened with two out, risking the end of the inning with him being caught, Bogaerts’ stolen base was all the more refreshing. His efforts were rewarded, as Sale uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Bogaerts to move to third. It set the table for Ortiz to locate and bash Sale’s 98-mph fastball into right field for a double and score Bogaerts.
A sobering moment came in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval was injured during his at-bat. According to Ian Browne of MLB.com, “Sandoval was belted on the left forearm by a pitch from Chris Sale that he actually swung at for strike three. Sandoval crouched down in obvious pain after making the third out […] and Josh Rutledge replaced him at third base. Sandoval went for X-rays after leaving the game and sustained only a contusion.”
The Red Sox made up for the loss of their teammate in the bottom of the fifth inning. Hanley Ramirez hit a single to right field, scoring Brock Holt. Ortiz followed that up with a single of his own to score Bogaerts.
Jul 27, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) rounds the bases after hitting a home run at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
It was more of the same in the bottom of the sixth inning. After already hitting Jackie Bradley Jr. and Sandoval with pitches, Sale hit Rutledge in between two singles, leading to Bradley’s revenge with a single of his own. The play scored Rusney Castillo. The next batter was Holt who hit yet another single to score both Rutledge and Blake Swihart, which was all that White Sox manager Robin Ventura could stand. He relieved Sale with Matt Albers. A sacrifice fly from Bogaets that scored Bradley was the only added damage, and the White Sox got out of the inning with the score 7-2 in favor of the Red Sox.
However, Boston was not through with Albers just yet. Castillo led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a solo shot over center field on the first pitch, capping the end to the onslaught from the Beantown babies for the rest of the game.
Not that Wright needed much more support. After making quick work of the White Sox unscathed for another six innings, Robbie Ross and Junichi Tazawa took the eighth and ninth frames with little trouble. The White Sox couldn’t score another run, ending the game without a sweep in Fenway.
- The Red Sox were 6-for-11 with runners in scoring position. The White Sox were 0-for-6.
- Holt was 1-for-5 with two strikeouts, but he also had two RBIs and a run scored.
- Ortiz was 3-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs. He’s been hitting much better lately, even though his season batting average still sits below .250.
- Castillo looked in better form since coming back from Triple-A Pawtucket. He went 2-for-4 with a homer and scored two runs. He put pressure on the pitchers and had success. Hopefully that becomes a trend.
After early trouble, Wright kept the White Sox off of the scoreboard. That’s all anyone has been asking of the Red Sox starting pitchers, this season. He threw for seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts. The knuckleball found a groove that it wanted to dance to and kept the White Sox bats from spoiling the party. Wright threw 116 pitches, 77 for strikes, in the well-balanced effort. He had four ground outs and seven fly outs that helped him stem the tide from the early uprising.
Not much to say, except the only blemish that they had was a hit given up in the ninth inning. They both held the White Sox at bay without much fuss, earned a combined three strikeouts for their trouble. A solid effort to secure the win.
If you were looking for a single reason for the successful offense, you’d be disappointed. However, if you wanted to find the leadership for it, look no further than Ortiz. The man knows when to put on the red cape and swoop down to Earth and help the Fenway faithful. In times of turmoil, like the last seven games that the Red Sox have played, Ortiz has used his swing like a shining light through the darkness, hitting .435 with three home runs and 11 RBIs.
However, the Carnivorous Crusader had spunky sidekicks to help fight off the evil zeros on the multiple inning-frames that had plagued the city of Boston. The youthful talents of Bogaerts, Castillo, and catcher prospect-turned-starter Blake Swihart all had multiple hits that set the table for others to drive them home. Even Bradley had a hit, and RBI, and a run scored. With the help of these young men, Ortiz and the Red Sox found another victory, something that Bostonians have almost forgotten.
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