This game had it all: a no-hit bid, lots of home runs and a ninth-inning rally. Unfortunately, the Red Sox showed up a little too late and fell 5-4 to the Blue Jays in a game that wasn’t close for the first eight innings.
Top Play (WPA): Eduardo Rodriguez allowed just four hits on Sunday, but they were all home runs. Three of those four Toronto homers made up the top three WPA plays. The biggest was Edwin Encarnacion’s two-run shot with two outs in the third inning to put the Blue Jays up 4-0 (+.150). Encarnacion’s home run came three batters after Darwin Barney’s solo blast off Rodriguez with one out (+.103). We’ll get into Jose Bautista’s leadoff homer (+.095) soon.
Bottom Play (WPA): Marco Hernandez put up a good at-bat against Roberto Osuna with two on and two outs in the ninth inning of a one-run game. He worked the count to 3-0, and with Mookie Betts on deck a walk would’ve been great. But Osuna worked the count to 3-2 and struck out Hernandez swinging with a 97 mph fastball to end the game (-.176).
It was a nice effort nonetheless by the Red Sox, who trailed 5-0 through seven and took a 5-1 deficit into the bottom of the ninth before rallying for three runs, two of which were driven in with two outs.
Key Moment: There are three moments from this game that are worth mentioning.
- As we all expected, Chris Young broke up Marco Estrada’s no-hit bid with one out in the eighth with a solo home run over the wall in left. Young’s homer put the Red Sox on the board and finally woke the offense up.
- Bautista led off the game with a solo homer to left off a hanging changeup down the middle from Rodriguez. This set the stage for a frustrating afternoon for E-Rod, who surrendered two of his four home runs with his change.
- The Red Sox actually generated some offense in the bottom of the first after Estrada walked both Betts and Dustin Pedroia to start the inning. Xander Bogaerts followed with a poorly executed bunt attempt back to the mound that allowed Estrada to throw out Betts at third. The Red Sox wouldn’t get another runner on base until Young’s homer.
Trend to Watch: The Sox haven’t played well over the past five games, but they at least deserve credit for showing some fight in the ninth inning. Trailing 5-1 entering the frame, the Sox gathered five hits, scored three runs and had a chance to tie or win the game with one swing. Pedroia and David Ortiz each extended their hitting streaks to 13 games with doubles, while Hanley Ramirez picked up his first extra-base hit since May 15 with a two-out double to score Rusney Castillo. Jackie Bradley Jr. singled in Ramirez to bring the Sox within a run with two outs. Young kept the rally alive with a single of his own.
Overall, it was a disappointing effort by the Red Sox. It was an especially frustrating performance by Rodriguez, who looked good when he wasn’t allowing home runs. But if there was ever a time for a moral victory, it may have come in the bottom of the ninth when the Sox showed some and a willingness to play until the end.
Coming Next: The Red Sox begin a two-game series in San Francisco at 10:15 p.m. on Tuesday night, when Rick Porcello will oppose Giants righty Albert Suarez. Porcello has come back down to earth a little in his last two starts, allowing a combined nine runs and four homers, three of which came Thursday in Baltimore. Suarez, meanwhile, is making just his second start of the season after allowing three runs over five innings against the Braves last Wednesday. It’s not exactly the David Price-Madison Bumgarner matchup we’re all anticipating in the series finale.