Red Sox Recap: Blake Swihart’s home run lifts Sox over Mets in extra-innings


The Boston Red Sox head to New York to open a weekend series against the Mets in their first ever regular season visit to Citi Field.

We hoped for a classic pitching duel between Henry Owens and Matt Harvey and the two budding young stars didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately neither would factor into the decision, as the bullpens took turns giving up the lead.

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The Mets struck first with a fortunate run in the 4th inning. Travis d’Arnaud singled to shallow center field to drive in Wilmer Flores, who raced through the stop sign at third base to score the first run of the game. Xander Bogaerts inexplicably cut off the throw, much to the chagrin of Blake Swihart, who knew he would have had Flores easily at the plate if the throw had made it to him.

Harvey was credited with three strikeouts in the 5th inning, despite starting the inning by getting Rusney Castillo to ground out. How, you may ask? After getting Swihart looking, Harvey struck out Jackie Bradley swinging on a pitch in the dirt that got away for a wild pitch, allowing Bradley to reach with two down. A stolen base put JBJ in scoring position, but Harvey battled back after falling behind 3-0 to get Owens to chase strike three to end the inning.

The Red Sox defense gave the Mets another gift run in the bottom of the inning when the ball rolled under Castillo’s glove on a base hit from Michael Cuddyer. Despite the error, Castillo still had plenty of time to gun down David Wright at the plate, but Swihart couldn’t hang on to the ball as Wright slide home for the second run of the game.

Clearly the Red Sox lineup couldn’t have been happier to see Harvey leave the game. The Dark Knight befuddled Boston hitters over 6 shutout innings, allowing only 2 hits and a walk, while striking out 8. As soon as he left, David Ortiz blasted his 27th home run of the season on the first pitch that he saw from reliever Logan Verrett. Later that inning Verrett would give up the lead on a two-run homer by Bradley that put Boston ahead 3-2 heading into the 7th inning stretch.

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The Mets have been hitting more homers than any team in baseball lately, so Red Sox fans had to be sweating bullets when Alexi Ogando entered the game with one out in the bottom of the inning. The good news is that he didn’t give up a long ball, but the bad news is that his solution for avoiding home runs was to throw the ball nowhere near the plate. Ogando allowed a hit and walked three, the last of which pushed the tying run across the plate.

It looked like we could be headed for a long night as the game headed for extra innings, but the Red Sox offense wasn’t willing to wait around any longer. The bats broke through with three runs to put Boston back ahead in the 10th. Swihart started it off with a ball hit off the wall in deep center that ricocheted so far away from the center fielder that the shortstop Ruben Tejada had to race over to get it. By that point Swihart was hustling around third on his way home for an inside-the-park home run.

Boston added another pair of runs in the inning, first on a sac fly by Josh Rutledge, who had entered the game in the 8th inning after Pablo Sandoval had been ejected. A single by Bogaerts later in the inning would bring Rutledge home, putting the Red Sox up by a comfortable three run margin.

Junichi Tazawa did his best to make things interesting in the bottom of the 10th, walking 4 straight batters to bring in a run and put the winning run on base before getting the hook. Red Sox pitches walked a staggering 12 batters in the game, including two free passes with the bases loaded. Craig Breslow got Yoenis Cespedes to fly out to a backpedaling Mookie Betts in center field to end the game, as the Red Sox escaped with the win.


  • Hanley Ramirez was a late scratch from tonight’s lineup with right shoulder fatigue, replaced by Bradley in left field. Ramirez is considered day-to-day, but could use at least a day off to try to shake off the slump he has been. The 31-year old is hitting only .183 since the break, without a home run.
  • Harvey’s last start came 12 days ago, as the Mets look to ease his workload late in the season. The 26-year old missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery and is quickly approaching his career-high in innings pitched that he set in his first full big league season in 2013.
  • The Mets entered the night leading the majors in runs scored (155) and home runs (43) in August. Boston entered second in the majors this month in runs scored (144), but only middle of the pack with 27 home runs.
  • The Citi Field crowd gave David Wright a nice ovation as he made his way to the plate for the first time at home since April. He was activated from the disabled list during the team’s four-game road trip to Philadelphia this week.
  • Ortiz’s homer was No. 493 for his career, tying him with Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff on the all-time home run list.


B. . Game Ball. Henry Owens. STARTING PITCHING

Owens walked a batter in each of the first four innings, piling up his pitch count early and knocking him out of the game after only five innings and a career-high 108 pitches. He had good stuff tonight, racking up 6 strikeouts, but the control issues led to a short outing. Some sloppy defense behind him didn’t help either, as he easily could have escaped without allowing a run if his teammates hadn’t botched two key plays. Failing to record those outs at the plate also was a factor in the rapidly rising pitch count for Owens. While it would have been nice for him to have been able to go deeper into the game, allowing only two runs (one earned) over his five innings is still a pretty solid outing for the rookie.

C-. . Game Ball. Jean Machi. RELIEF PITCHING

Jean Machi retired all four batters he faced, striking out one. He entered the game in the bottom of the 7th, bailing Ogando out of a bases loaded jam by getting Tejada to fly out to right. Ogando and Tazawa both had brutal outings that nearly cost the Red Sox the game, as neither of them could find the strike zone.

A-. . Game Ball. Blake Swihart. OFFENSE

The Red Sox came through with a trio of home runs to power the offense, but none more exciting than the one of the inside-the-park variety that put Boston ahead in extra-innings. The homer was his second hit of the game, making him one of four Red Sox hitters to have a multi-hit game. Swihart has now reached base in each of his last 8 games, with his OBP climbing to .320 for the season.