In Wednesday night’s epic win against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Boston Red Sox clutched their 19th win since the All Star break, with eleven of those having taken place in August. The exciting finish proved the team’s resilience, an important quality to possess as the season nears its finish.
While Sox fans saw the win solidify in the ninth inning, manager John Farrell believes the success in the ninth started with the “hustle plays” made in earlier innings, including Jackie Bradley Jr.’s impressive throw for the out at home from center field.
“It set the stage for us to be able to come back in the ninth,” Farrell said.
Coming into the bottom of ninth inning, the Sox were down 4-2. Xander Bogaerts contributed a single-run homer to lift the score to 4-3. As Cardinals pitcher John Brebbia was taking his sweet time on his next pitch, umpire Chris Segal called a timeout just as Brebbia was about to release. The sudden stoppage infuriated catcher Yadier Molina, who immediately began exchanging choice words with Segal. This prompted Cardinals manager Mike Matheny out of the dugout to get in on the action, and ultimately resulted in Matheny being ejected from the game.
With two outs and tensions high, rally caps were on in Fenway Park as right fielder Mookie Betts took the plate. The at bat for Betts, who has been hitting lower than his average since the All Star break, seemed to last a lifetime for Sox fans.
Brebbia baited Betts with two sliders, tempting his focus. But Betts held off on his swing, resulting in a full count. This was key to the development of next play, as it allowed the baserunners to get ready to bolt off the next pitch.
“It changed the whole at bat. I was able to force him to throw a strike, and any time I can get a strike, I have a better chance of getting good wood on it. Being able to lay off those definitely gave me a better opportunity,” Betts said.
As the next pitch came in, Betts crushed the ball straight into left field off the Monster. Chris Young scored from second to tie the game, and Jackie Bradley Jr. managed to haul in all the way from first to secure the win as catcher Yadier Molina failed to complete the relay throw.
The win completed the sweep of the two game series, continuing the upward swing that the Sox have been on since the beginning of this month. The exciting finish will fuel the team as they head into the weekend ready to face their rivals, the New York Yankees.