Red Sox tie single-season franchise record for extra-innings wins

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12: Outfielders Andrew Benintendi
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12: Outfielders Andrew Benintendi /

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles for their 15th extra-innings win of the season, tying a single-season franchise record.

Sometimes it takes a hitter coming through in the clutch with a timely hit to win a tight ballgame. Other times the opposing team simply hands you the victory. That’s what happened Tuesday night when the Boston Red Sox were gifted a win by the Baltimore Orioles.

Naturally, the game took more than nine innings to decide. The win moved Boston to 15-3 in extra-innings contests, tying the franchise single-season record for extra-innings victories.

The Red Sox have won seven consecutive extra-innings games, the longest such streak the franchise has strung together since 1972.

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The two division rivals played to a stalemate into the 11th inning for the second consecutive game. Unlike the previous night when each team exchanged dramatic lead changes, this game went to extra frames scoreless.

The Red Sox failed to move a runner to third base and only twice had a runner in scoring position through the first ten innings. The decisive 11th proved to be the lineup’s biggest threat, as Boston loaded the bases with two outs.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter seemed to toy with the idea of calling on a lefty reliever to face the left-handed Mitch Moreland. He ended up sticking with the right-handed Brad Brach, despite Moreland’s struggles with southpaws. Ultimately it wouldn’t be the lefty-righty matchup that would matter, as Brach threw a wild pitch that allowed Jackie Bradley to race home for the winning run.

There were no clutch hits to break the game open in that decisive inning but there were clutch at-bats. Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts drew consecutive walks to load the bases, seeing a combined total of only nine pitches. The control issues from Brach, whose career 3.9 BB/9 rate shows a history of wildness, may have been a precursor to the wild pitch that doomed his outing. Showing the patience to lay off pitches outside of the zone to let the pitcher beat himself shows a certain amount of the clutch factor.

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Let’s also give credit to the outstanding efforts of a pitching staff that blanked a dangerous Orioles lineup for 11 innings. Drew Pomeranz wasn’t able to tie for the league lead with his 17th win but he certainly deserved one after tossing 6 1/3 shutout innings.

The bullpen locked down the rest of the night, finishing the final 4 1/3 innings of the shutout without allowing a hit or a walk. The only baserunners Red Sox relievers allowed were on a hit by pitch (which should have been a strike considering it appeared Adam Jones was swinging) and an error.

The throwing error by Rafael Devers created a bit of drama in the bottom of the 11th, as it allowed the tying run to get into scoring position. It was the fifth consecutive game with an error by the rookie third baseman and this one could potentially have been the most costly if it led to Baltimore walking off with a win. Or worse, tying the game and sending it into a seemingly endless number of additional innings.

Matt Barnes got the next batter to ground out to end the game, so no harm was done on the error. The torch carrying mob of angry Red Sox fans looking to set the 20-year old’s glove on fire can stand down.

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We should have expected that the Red Sox would work their way out of trouble to secure the win. The way this team has been playing, they should always feel confident when the game extends into extra-innings.