The Red Sox are finally back on a winning streak. This time it took 11 innings to eke out a 5-4 win in a back-and-forth game against the Athletics Monday night.
Top Play (WPA): The Sox hit a number of balls deep into the outfield, but got one to leave the ballpark when it mattered most as Pablo Sandoval lined an 0-2 fastball from Angel Castro over the right-field wall for a home run (.348) to lead off the top of the 11th inning. Sandoval’s homer set Matt Barnes up for his first major league win.
The next-highest WPA play came courtesy of a Mookie Betts RBI single (.196) that scored Blake Swihart and tied the game at 3-3 in the seventh. It was the first of two RBI knocks for Betts Monday night.
Bottom Play (WPA):With runners at the corners and no outs in the fourth, Marcus Semien grounded to short for a double play (-.054) that scored Max Muncy from third and gave Oakland a 2-1 lead. That was a big pair of outs for Sox starter Rick Porcello, who escaped that inning with limited damage despite some early trouble and finished with a no-decision after allowing three runs on nine hits over five innings.
The A’s had runners on the corners with no outs again the the seventh, but once again settled for just one run on a sacrifice fly by Stephen Vogt (-.033) to tie the game at 4-4.
Key Moment: Whether or not you stayed up to watch the game, this choice is obvious. It has to be Sandoval’s leadoff home run in the top of the 11th. It was Sandoval’s second home run in as many games. Although his ISO still sits at .126, the power resurgence is a good sign for him and the Sox given his troubles collecting extra-bases hits this season.
Trend to Watch: Mookie Betts is officially on fire. The 22-year-old center fielder hit a pair of RBI singles to extend his hitting streak to nine games and now has a hit in 12 of his last 13 games. Betts has three home runs, 11 RBIs and 10 runs scored over the last 13 games, pushing his numbers closer to preseason projections. Betts endured a 3-for-21 stretch from April 14 to April 20, but since then has improved his TAv to .289 and wOBA to .330. This looks more like the Mookie we thought the Sox had in spring training.
Coming Next: The Sox will go for three straight wins when they turn to Justin Masterson for the second game of this best-of-three series. Masterson is coming off his shortest start of the season last Wednesday against the Rays. The right-hander lasted 4.1 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and six walks in a Red Sox loss. Masterson will oppose lefty Drew Pomeranz, who hasn’t performed any better. Pomeranz is 1-3 with a 5.12 ERA and 4.13 FIP in 2015, and is also coming off his shortest start of the season – a 4.1 inning letdown against the Twins in which he gave up six runs and five walks in an Oakland loss last Thursday.
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