Bases loaded, 1 out. Toronto led 7-2. Then suddenly, Holt cracked it into right, and it was gone!!!!
The Red Sox came back to haunt the Blue Jays after trailing by five at the end of the fourth. Their bullpen held the Jays to no scoring from innings 5-9, and their lineup produced 6 runs in the span of two innings. Brock Holt had a monstrous game, going 2-3 with 5 RBI, 1 run, a double and a grand slam. Xander Bogaerts added a 3 hit, 3 run game.
The Sox started off sloppy in the first inning with a 1-2-3 and a run given up by Joe Kelly. Kevin Pillar hit a lead off triple and with first and third, Edwin Encarnacion hit the sac fly that scored the run. By the end of the inning, despite two strikeouts, Kelly had given up a triple, two walks and a run off a sac fly. The Red Sox turned things around in the next couple innings. Hanley Ramirez got a single but was caught running to second. Travis Shaw and Brock Holt made up for it with back to back doubles that scored a run for the Sox. Starting Brock Holt and Travis Shaw rather than Panda and Castillo was worth it. It didn’t end for them there. Holt and Shaw had become a crucial part of the lineup. A Xander Bogaerts single along with an impressive RBI double by Big Papi scored the 2nd run for the Sox in the 3rd.
Joe Kelly also had more control in the 2nd and 3rd, he had two straight innings with only 1 hit or walk, but no 1-2-3 innings. In the 4th, Kelly just lost it. With Kevin Pillar up, he had given up four straight singles and a 2nd run. That’s when things just got worse. He hit Pillar in the head, scoring another run! Then Josh Donaldson, reigning AL MVP, came up to the plate. He crushed one into right and there went a grand slam. It was now 7-2 Blue Jays, Kelly had barely made it three innings, (he got pulled after the grand slam) and worst of all, it looked like the Red Sox could not win without David Price. Noe Ramirez even gave up two more hits before a third out in that same inning.
But in the 6th, the Red Sox began to prove everyone wrong. Xander Bogaerts drove a double to left, and Big Papi walked. When Hanley Ramirez grounded out, they both advanced a base. Travis Shaw then walked to load the bases. Guess who was back up? Brock Holt. Holt just barely got the grand slam to right. It looked like he would have to settle for a double but just reached the bullpen. The Sox had suddenly cut Toronto’s lead to just 1 run.
Meanwhile, the bullpen was impressing everyone. The Blue Jays lineup was held to just 1 hit since the dreaded 4th inning.
In the 7th, the Red Sox went on a two run, four hit rally. David Ortiz drove in run #1 of the inning on a base hit that drove in Pedroia. Hanley Ramirez drove in the 2nd run with Big Papi on first and Bogaerts on third. With that Bogaerts scored his third run of the game. It was now 8-7, the Red Sox leading. Junichi Tazawa additionally got the Boston bullpen their first 1-2-3 on the Jays. They were trying their hardest to stay in control until Craig Kimbrel was ready to close the game. After a quiet two innings for the Sox lineup, Kimbrel went out to finish the game on a 1-2-3.
After a game full of grand slams, rallying and big surprises, the Red Sox had come back to take down the Blue Jays 8-7. If they keep playing like this, they could actually fight for a playoff spot. Even if their rotation is iffy beyond Price, just as I said in my Opening Day Preview, the powerful lineup and bullpen just need to stay consistent for a good season. To go beyond getting a wild card, the Sox will need to be capable of outplaying the Jays head to head. That could be their key to their first pennant in three years. Catch game 2 of Red Sox @ Blue Jays on NESN. The Bruins also play their final regular season game as they fight for a playoff slot. Things are looking up for Boston Sports this weekend.