We normally don’t do individual MLB game recaps on here simply because there’s too much to cover. But tonight’s game between the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians deserves to be an exception, because it was the game of the year to this point.
The game was absolutely nuts for lack of a better term. If you don’t believe me, look at the final stats; 22 runs scored, 28 hits, six home runs, four blown leads, two blown saves and a walk-off.
Expected to be pitcher’s duel between Boston’s Cy Young favorite Chris Sale and Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco, the game wound up being the exact opposite.
The Indians jumped all over Sale, tagging the Boston ace for seven earned runs and five in the first two innings. Despite being given a 5-0 lead, Carrasco too was smoked and gave up the lead in just an inning and a third before getting pulled. After the Red Sox tied it at five, noted Red Sox killer Edwin Encarnacion belted a two-run shot to give the Tribe the lead back, 7-5 in the fifth. That was it for Sale as well.
Hanley Ramirez almost made it 7-6 in the bottom of the frame with a long drive to dead-away center, but was robbed by Austin Jackson. The center fielder flipped over the wall into the Boston bullpen to make a jaw-dropping catch, shades of Jackie Bradley Jr. on Aaron Judge a few weeks ago.
Boston once again warred back and took a 9-7 lead in the sixth courtesy of a bases-clearing double by newcomer Eduardo Nunez. However, the Red Sox other newbie, reliever Addison Reed, had a tougher time, surrendering a bomb of a homer to the first batter he faced with his new team. Carlos Santana’s shot in the eighth made it 9-8. But Reed hammered down, and the one run lead was in the capable hands of Craig Kimbrel in the ninth.
However, the wackiness continued when Francisco Lindor hit a solo shot to lead off, tying the game at nine. Boston’s normally unflappable closer got into even more trouble by loading the bases and then throwing a wild pitch, allowing Jose Ramirez to score, 10-9 Tribe. In the blink of an eye, Cleveland went from three outs from losing to three outs from winning.
With Andrew Miller already having been used, Indians setup man Cody Allen came on for the save. He started it well by striking out Bradley, but then allowed a single to red-hot youngster Rafael Devers. Xander Bogaerts then flew out, leaving it up to Mitch Moreland. Moreland struck out on a wild pitch, but catcher Yan Gomes couldn’t corral it and Moreland reached to keep the inning alive. Up came Christian Vazquez.
After working to 3-1, Vazquez forced Allen to serve up a fastball, and he hit it over the centerfield wall to give Boston an unbelievable 12-10 win and send Fenway Park into a fracas.
In one of the wildest and most entertaining contests of the season and maybe even MLB history, Boston and Cleveland elevated their underrated rivalry to a new level. It was an especially sweet win for the Red Sox and their fans considering this was the team’s first meeting with the Tribe since they were unceremoniously swept in last year’s ALDS by the eventual AL champs.
With the win and Yankees loss to Detroit, Boston is back atop the AL East. Cleveland’s lead over Kansas City in the AL Central is now two games. Boston goes for the sweep tonight in a rematch between Trevor Bauer and Rick Porcello from the opening game of the ALDS last year.
Hats off to both teams on an incredible showing. The Red Sox won the contest, but the fans were the real winners.