By: Andrew Tashian
A night after the Red Sox & Orioles combined for 18 runs on 23 hits in 11 innings in Boston’s 14th extra-inning win of the season, Tuesday night was all about the pitching at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. Storming back after pitcher Doug Fister allowed 5 runs in only 2 innings the Sox scored six times in the 6th inning which turned a 5-run deficit into a 1-run lead, once in the 7th inning to tie the game, & twice in the 11th inning to win it. The Red Sox watched their magic number to clinch the AL East division title shrink to 10 with 13 games left to play. On Tuesday, pitcher Drew Pomeranz looked to erase the bad taste Fister’s outing had left in Red Sox Nation’s mouth.
Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman entered the game 11-10 with a 4.83 ERA. In 12 career starts versus Boston, he owned a 4-6 record with a 4.25 ERA, his highest ERA against any team he’s faced 6+ times. However, using very aggressive and efficient pitching, Gausman baffled Red Sox hitters the whole night. Keeping Boston scoreless through 8 innings, Gausman exited the game having pitched maybe his best game all season. His final line: 8 IP – 3 H – 0 R – 1 BB – 7 K. He lowered his ERA to 4.61 on the season & earned a no-decision.
Red Sox pitcher Drew “Big Smooth” Pomeranz took the hill for Boston as he sought after his club-leading 17th victory of the season. Over his last 7 games, entering Tuesday night, Drew owned a 5-1 record with a 3.03 ERA striking out 39 batters in 38.2 innings. In his last 5 against Baltimore, Big Smooth possessed a 2-2 record with a not-so-smooth 4.82 ERA. Pomeranz was very good for Boston & he benefited from a couple sensational plays from his outfielders.
Can’t say enough about those two. They’ve been enormously important to the success of the Red Sox & proved it again, tonight by taking two runs off the board.
Pomeranz exited the game after getting one out in the 7th inning. His line: 6.1 IP – 5 H – 0 R – 2 BB – 5 K. With the no-decision, Drew failed to reach the 17-win mark, which leaves him in a 1st place tie with Chris Sale for wins on the staff. Pomeranz did lower his ERA from 3.28 to 3.15 & if he were to finish the season under 3.31, it’d be his best career ERA for a single-season in which he made at least 18 starts.
Reliever Carson Smith got to work in back-to-back games which must be a sign his body is feeling good since his return from the DL. He pitched in relief of Pomeranz in the 7th, striking out both batters he faced. Smith was acquired to be the 8th inning setup man to closer Craig Kimbrel & he may assume that role next season if he continues to pitch well and stay healthy. Smith has shown the good confidence & resolve of an important member of a Championship-caliber baseball team, that may cause John Farrell to call his number more frequently, down the stretch.
Addison Reed pitched a scoreless 8th inning, striking out two men and, once again, showing his value to this Red Sox team. In his last 18 outings, including Tuesday, Reed has a 2.11 ERA & has struck out 20 batters & hasn’t allowed a run in 16 of those 18 appearances.
The game stayed scoreless through 9 innings & John Farrell went to his closer to send the game to extras for the second consecutive evening. Kimbrel ran into minor trouble after hitting Orioles CF Adam Jones with a fastball. Working around the mishap, Kimbrel struck out 1 and finished the inning not allowing another base-runner.
Both offenses remained quiet through 10 innings. Joe Kelly, working on back-to-back nights, touched 100 MPH on the radar gun. Kelly has struck-out at least one batter in 10 of his last 12 games heading into Tuesday’s appearance & he didn’t miss a beat.
After loading the bases with two outs in the 11th inning, Mitch Moreland came to the plate with a chance to hit Boston’s first grand slam of the 2017 season. Following a lengthy mound visit between Orioles manager Buck Showalter and pitcher Brad Bach, Showalter decided to leave the right-hander in to face left-hand hitting Moreland. And on the first pitch, the Red Sox took the lead.
JBJ, who had a homerun saving catch in the 5th inning, scored Boston’s first and only run of the ball game. It was Boston’s second 11th inning lead in as many nights and they turned to Matt Barnes to seal their 15th extra-inning win of the season. After earning his 7th win of the season on Monday night, Matt Barnes earned his 2nd career save, 1st of the season, on Tuesday. Joe Kelly earned his 4th win of the season in what was Boston’s 9th shutout of the season.
Another resilient, gritty performance by the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox. Tied for the franchise high in extra innings with 15, this particular roster never seems to waver. In 18 extra inning games this season, Boston is 15-3, scoring 32 runs while hitting .274. Their team ERA is 1.25 and 15 wins are most in the Majors.
Consistently coming from behind, making the defensive plays when they need to & riding one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, the Red Sox are playing hard-nosed baseball. They may not have the 40 home run hitter or the flashy 22 game win streaks, but they do have a division lead and that magic number is now down to 9.
Looking ahead to Wednesday’s series finale, Baltimore will send former-Sox pitcher Wade Miley to the hill. Miley is 8-13 with a 5.32 ERA this season for the O’s. The Red Sox will send another 16 game winner to the hill in Chris Sale. Sale is 16-7 with a 2.86 ERA in his first season with Boston & has a 4-1 record with a 2.45 ERA in his last games against Baltimore.
FINAL SCORE: RED SOX 1 — ORIOLES 0
Photo Credit - Boston Red Sox