Red Sox capitalize on missed strike call to rally against Phillies and win series

Philadelphia Phillies v Boston Red Sox
Philadelphia Phillies v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox jumped on Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola early in their series finale at Fenway Park. Two doubles and a single gave the Sox a four-run lead in the second inning.

But in the top of the fourth frame, the Phillies fought back. Kyle Schwarber drilled a bases-clearing double to bring Boston's lead down to one.

The Red Sox separated themselves in the next half-inning, with a little help from home plate umpire Alex Mackay. Nola walked Dominic Smith with one out, then collected another out after he fanned Ceddanne Rafaela. Jarren Duran followed Rafaela at the plate.

On a 3-1 count, Nola fired to catcher Garrett Stubbs. The ball was fully inside the strike zone but grazed the right edge of the plate. That was enough for Mackay to give Duran a free pass. Instead of strike two (and a full count), it was ball four and the inning was extended. Then, David Hamilton singled to left and Tyler O'Neill followed with a gargantuan three-run blast. The Sox took an 8-3 lead and ended up winning, 9-3.

Missed strike call helps Red Sox claim series win over NL's best Phillies

After the ball four call, the Phillies dugout was buzzed with frustration. The missed strike call wouldn't have ended Duran's at-bat, but Nola was deprived of his chance to finish the inning and maintain a one-run deficit.

After Philadelphia plated its three fourth-inning runs, Tanner Houck did his job. He sat down six of the seven Philly batters he faced in the next two frames and made his case for the All-Star Game against their tenacious bats. He went six innings, fanned five batters and allowed three runs on eight hits. His ERA is up to 2.08, but it's still the best of Boston's starters.

New acquisition Brad Keller shut down the Phillies for the rest of the night. He allowed two hits, a walk and fanned three batters over three shutout innings.

Everything went Boston's way in the series finale with Philly. The Sox got on the board first (and often), every single player in the lineup collected at least one hit, Houck and Keller posted excellent outings, and the defense was clean.

The Red Sox took a series from the best team in the National League by playing their best baseball two nights in a row. Amazing things happen when players make contact and convert routine defensive plays. Hopefully, the series win serves as a turning point for Boston, especially with the Yankees coming to town for the weekend.

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