Seven-run frames are usually enough to win baseball games. Especially when they come in extra innings.
Well, that's one way to win an extra-innings ballgame.
One night after eking out a one-run extra-innings win against the Blue Jays, the Red Sox once again found themselves playing extra baseball against their Canadian opponents. This time, however, the final was a bit more lopsided, with the Sox producing a seven-run eleventh inning en route to an 11-7 win.
The similarities to Monday night's game do not begin with extra innings, however. Instead, we start with the initial lead the Red Sox surrendered. Dustin Pedroia made the Jays pay in the first for Josh Thole failing to glove strike three against Brock Holt, bringing Boston's versatile utility player around to score with a second-deck homer to left field--his second homer in two nights. The Red Sox quickly added a third run on a Mike Napoli single and Will Middlebrooks double, leaving Boston with a 3-0 lead against R.A. Dickey and the Jays before the home team had even come up to bat.
Perhaps seeing the potential failings of true outcomes like the leadoff strikeout-turned-baserunner and the homer R.A. Dickey had allowed in the first, Rubby De La Rosa proceeded to do his damnedest to avoid them for the first three innings. This "strategy" didnt' hurt him right away, with some hard contact in the first going for naught as the Jays stranded a pair of leadoff baserunners.
Eventually, though, Rubby's steady diet of high fastballs (he threw just 11 off-speed pitches all night) proved every bit as harmful as you might expect. The Jays turned a leadoff double and single into a run in the third, then another when De La Rosa's first true outcomes proved a pair of walks in the fourth. Another early pair of hits in the fifth lead to a game-tying third Toronto run, and the end of De La Rosa's night. His velocity was enough to keep his night from turning into a complete disaster, but in terms of actual pitching, this was a pathetic performance from yet another young arm that just can't seem to establish any real consistency.
The good news, though, is that the Red Sox were quite a bit more straight forward with their shortcomings tonight. There was no excellence-turned-disaster in the ninth, just a time bomb ticking away that, while it never exploded, still left the lead gone all-the-same. The Red Sox would put on a little seventh-inning dance, with Yoenis Cespedes driving in the go-ahead run before Alex Wilson immediately allowed a home run to Jose Bautista in the bottom half of the inning, but all told when this game went to extras, it wasn't quite the soul-crushing experience that Monday provided.
And, because of that, the way the Red Sox eventually won it is all the more enjoyable. Coming in to pitch the eleventh, Casey Janssen just could not record the first out. Mookie Betts led off the inning with a single, then immediately signaled to the dugout to challenge when he was called out at second on Christian Vazquez' attempted sacrifice bunt. Betts proved correct, and after Janssen botched another sacrifice bunt from Brock Holt, the Red Sox had the bases loaded and zero outs.
That first out just would not come for Janssen. Dustin Pedroia, who had opened the scoring with a first-inning homer, put the Red Sox on top by two once again with a two-run ground ball single to left field, knocking Janssen out of the game. Sergio Santos would finally get that first out, striking out Yoenis Cespedes on four pitches, but gave Mike Napoli a high fastball to hit three pitches later. Napoli deposited the ball into the top deck in left, and the Red Sox went ahead 9-4. One Daniel Nava double later, and it was Allen Craig collecting his first Red Sox homer with a fly ball that just kept carrying out to right over the fence.
When all was said and done, it was 11-4 Sox with just the bottom of the eleventh to go. The Jays did manage a late rally of their own, plating three runs against Heath Hembree, but that didn't even serve to put the tying run on deck. Hembree finally picked up his third out, and the Red Sox left Rogers Centre with an unusually large extra-innings win.
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