Xander Bogaerts

Game 85 Recap: Red Sox 4, Marlins 3

#XforASG is ready to take off. One night after being snubbed – yes, snubbed – from the initial All-Star roster, Xander Bogaerts hit a three-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the Red Sox to yet another comeback win, 4-3, over the Marlins Tuesday night. It was the Sox’s third consecutive win and eighth in their last 11.

Top Play (WPA): Bogaerts’ three-run single with the Red Sox down 3-1 in the seventh was a big one. So big, in fact, that it earned the title of top WPA play with a massive .512 mark. It was good timing for Bogaerts, who needs every bit of positive attention he can get as he’s forced to rely on the fan vote to earn a well-deserved spot in the All-Star Game.

The second- and third-best plays both belonged to the Marlins, and both came in a top of the seventh in which Miami scored twice to take a 3-1 lead and chase Wade Miley from the game. Cole Gillespie scored J.T. Realmuto with an RBI single (.127) to put the Marlins up 2-1. Three batters later Christian Yelich doubled to center to score Gillespie (.124). That at-bat ended what was a solid outing for Miley, who struck out a season-high nine batters and walked just two over 6.2 innings.

Bottom Play (WPA): Taking home the worst play of the game honor is Brock Holt, whose strikeout with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh was worth -.131. Fortunately for Holt, Bogaerts bailed him out one batter later, deeming the strikeout irrelevant.

The Sox owned the second-worst play as well. That came courtesy of Mookie Betts, who grounded into an inning-ending double-play (-.102) in the second. Betts’ groundout followed Ryan Hanigan’s RBI single, which gave Boston the early 1-0 lead. Hanigan’s opposite-field knock put runners at the corners with one out for Betts.

Key Moment: This one was easy. The Sox were down two runs with the bases loaded and two outs, and Bogaerts delivered, driving a 3-2 fastball from the hop-stepping Carter Capps into the right-center field gap for a bases-clearing single that put Boston ahead 4-3. It was an impressive at-bat in a pressure situation for the 22-year-old, further proving himself worthy of an All-Star selection. After going ahead 3-0 in the count, Bogaerts took a strike and fouled off another for a full count. The shortstop fouled off two more upper-90s fastballs before connecting on the next pitch.

As important as Bogaerts’ hit was, what can’t go overlooked is how the bases became loaded to begin with. With two on and one out, Betts hit a hard grounder to third base that was mishandled by Miguel Rojas for an error. Instead of an inning-ending double play, all three runners reached base safely. That set up Bogaerts for his game-winning hit.

Trend to Watch: I’m not here to anoint Travis Shaw as savior after one big game, but the 25-year-old’s three-hit effort Tuesday is bad news for Mike Napoli. Tuesday’s game may not say much about what Shaw’s major league future will be. However, the last thing Napoli needs is another reason for John Farrell to leave him on the bench. Napoli has had a miserable 2015 at the plate. Things got so bad that after a 3-for-29 stretch he was benched Sunday in favor of David Ortiz at first base. On Tuesday, he was replaced by Shaw, who three hits later, looks like a good excuse to keep Napoli out of the lineup for as long as possible.

Coming Next: The Red Sox will try to make it four straight wins and a two-game sweep of the Marlins when the teams finish the brief interleague series Wednesday night. The odds of the Sox succeeding aren’t good, however, as Rick Porcello, who has been nothing short of a disaster over the last two months, opposes a righty with a 1.80 ERA over his last three starts in Tom Koehler. The Red Sox follow with three at home against the Yankees over the weekend before the All-Star break.

Photo by Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports Images

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