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.
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.
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.
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.
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