Red Sox win historic extra-innings game against Tampa Bay Rays
By Sean Penney
The Boston Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in a 15-inning marathon Friday night, reaching several historical marks for the franchise along the way.
The Boston Red Sox took about six hours to score six runs, only to knock in more than that in the final inning alone.
Boston tagged Tampa Bay Rays closer Alex Colome for three runs in a thrilling ninth inning to tie the game, sending it to extra-innings. Red Sox fans are no stranger to staying up late for these extended marathons. Friday night was the 16th time this season that the Red Sox have gone into extra-innings.
When you commit six hours of your night to watching baseball your team better come out of it with a win. Otherwise it feels like two losses – one for the loss column and another for the loss of sleep. Luckily, the Red Sox have been good to their fans by going 13-3 in extra-innings this season.
The 13 extra-innings wins leads the majors this season, which is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to historical marks reached in this game. Those 13 extra-innings wins are the most the Red Sox have had since 1982.
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Boston has played six games this season of 13+ innings after going the entire 2016 season without a game that lasted that many innings. Friday night was the fourth time this season they have played 15+ innings, tying the franchise record set in 1951, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Red Sox pitching staff set a single-game franchise record with 24 strikeouts. Chris Sale led the way with nine strikeouts in his 5 2/3 innings of work. The bullpen contributed the other 15, including three by Craig Kimbrel when he struck out the side in the bottom of the 9th to ensure the Red Sox would make it to extra-innings.
We all thought that Boston had this game won in the 14th inning after Rafael Devers drove in Mookie Betts with a base hit to take the lead. Then the typically reliable Brandon Workman coughed up a home run to Kevin Kiermaier to lead off the bottom of the inning, leaving us to wonder if this game would ever end.
Leaving nothing to chance, the Red Sox would ensure they gave themselves an insurmountable lead when given another chance. The lineup exploded for seven runs in the decisive frame to put the Rays away. Of the 16 extra-innings games the Red Sox have been involved in this season, this was the only one decided by more than three runs.
Not all of the historical achievements from this game were positive. Dustin Pedroia became only the third hitter in the last 25 years to go 0-for-9 in a game. Martin Prado was the last to do it in 2011, while you have to go back to former Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon in 2006 for the other occurrence. Pedroia is also the first hitter ever to go 0-for-9 while leaving at least 13 runners on base.
It wasn’t all bad for the veteran second baseman. He reached base on a fielders choice in the 15th inning and later scored on an incredible slide to evade the tag from the catcher at home plate.
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The game wouldn’t end until the early hours of Saturday morning but it was worth the wait. It usually is with this team, as they’ve shown the mental fortitude to keep fighting no matter how long the games go on for. That trait should serve them well in the pressure packed environment of the postseason.