The Boston Red Sox fell behind the Pittsburgh Pirates early in Thursday’s contest at Fenway Park, but they were able to pick themselves back up thanks to a big eighth inning.
Boston pulled off the 4-3 win after a one-out walk to second baseman Dustin Pedroia in the eighth inning set the stage for a three-run rally that included a bases-loaded double for designated hitter Hanley Ramirez. It was the Red Sox’s first lead of the day, but it was all they needed in the end.
On the other side of the ball, starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez’s day could’ve been better, but it wasn’t his worst start by any means. The left-hander went home with the no-decision at the end of the day.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
It’s been tough to tell if the Red Sox’s offense has been struggling, as plenty of their starters were sidelined with the flu and took a while to fully recover. But Thursday showed the offense might not be in such bad shape after all as they were able to chip away at the Pirates’ bullpen to grab the win.
IT WAS OVER WHEN …
Craig Kimbrel held things down in the top of ninth.
The Red Sox needed three outs to win after their big comeback, and Kimbrel gave them the save.
ON THE BUMP
— The first inning saw Rodriguez give up a two-run home run to No. 3 batter Andrew McCutchen after walking Pirates second baseman Jordy Mercer to leadoff the inning, and things looked to be getting worse when the left-hander followed that at-bat by allowing back-to-back singles to Gregory Polanco and David Freese. But this start actually was an improvement from Rodriguez’s last. Rodriguez ended the first with two swinging strikeouts of third baseman Josh Harrison and first baseman Josh Bell and settled down a bit after that.
Rodriguez saw just three batters in the second, third and fifth innings — he gave up a leadoff walk to Starling Marte in the third, but Christian Vazquez caught Marte trying to steal second — and four in the fourth. However, Rodriguez was throwing a lot of pitches, so he was pulled after giving up a one-out double to Polanco and walking Freese on his 107th pitch in the top of the sixth. Rodriguez finished the day with three runs (two earned) on four hits with four walks and eight strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings.
— Heath Hembree finished out the sixth inning for Rodriguez. He struck out Harrison to start, but Polanco was able to score on a throwing error by Vazquez on a double steal. Bell grounded out to end the top of the frame.
The right-hander got into some trouble in the seventh after giving up a one-out double to catcher Chris Stewart and a single to Mercer, but Hembree struck out Marte and got McCutchen to fly out to get out of the jam.
— Matt Barnes was tasked with getting through the eighth, and his one blemish was a one-out walk to Freese. Polanco lined out, Harrison flied out and first baseman John Jaso grounded out.
— Kimbrel started the ninth with a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Adam Frazier, but Francisco Cervelli flied out, Frazier was caught stealing second and Mercer grounded out to end the threat.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Hanley Ramirez changed the game with his first hit of the day, doubling with the bases loaded to tie things up in the eighth. The designated hitter went 1-for-4 with two RBIs.
— Xander Bogaerts knocked in the go-ahead run with a single in the eighth inning, ending his day 2-for-4 with an RBI.
— Another day, another double for Mitch Moreland. The first baseman hit a two-bagger in the second inning and ended the day 1-for-3 with a run and an intentional walk.
— Third baseman Marco Hernandez also doubled in the second to score Moreland and put the Red Sox on the board. Hernandez reached on a forceout in the seventh, too, going 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
— Andrew Benintendi went 1-for-4 with a run.
— Mookie Betts went 1-for-3 and added a walk in the eighth inning, too. The right fielder nearly scored a run on Ramirez’s double but was called out after a review.
— Dustin Pedroia (0-for-3), Christian Vazquez (0-for-3) and Brock Holt (0-for-3) all went hitless. Pedroia walked and scored a run in the eighth, though.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Mitch Moreland’s double in the second put him ahead of some pretty elite company for the new franchise record.
The Tampa Bay Rays come to town Friday to kick off a four-game series at Fenway Park at 7:10 p.m. ET. The Rays will send right-hander Chris Archer to the mound to face off against Red Sox starter and reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images