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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Red Sox Beat Orioles 3-2 on Walk-off Bloop Hit by Xander Bogaerts


Built like a Beer League softball team with a powerful lineup and nothing close to a No. 1 or No. 2 starting pitcher, Boston's flaws are painfully obvious but few would complain about the results from the first 10 games of the 2015 season.

The Red Sox (7-3 overall, 3-1 home) beat the Orioles (5-5 overall, 2-2 away) 3-2 tonight at Fenway Park in the 1st of 19 meetings this season. Xander Bogaerts' bloop single scored Mike Napoli for the walk-off win. The hit itself was nothing to write home about but Napoli's baserunning was impressive as he broke for the plate from second right away.

It was a strange game since Ubaldo Jimenez (3.2 innings, 0 runs, 0 hits, 2 strikeouts, 3 walks) was ejected in the fourth inning after he drilled Pablo Sandoval in the back with a fastball. This was retaliation for Sandoval's hard slide on Baltimore second baseman Jonathan Schoop earlier in the contest. Since Sandoval was in the baseline, I didn't see the problem with it. Jimenez's mistake was hitting him so high (near his head), if it had been on his side or ample backside, nobody would have cared. Oh baseball.

Joe Kelly had a decent start for the Red Sox (5.2 innings, 2 earned runs, 4 hits, 3 strikeouts, 2 walks) but he was done too early with a crazy pitch count (118) that was shades of Dice-K in his painfully mediocre prime. The teams combined for eight pitchers (four apiece) which was nearly as many hits as they produced (9), that's why the game took so long (3:13) without much action.

Baltimore took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when a run scored despite the fact that Chris Davis grounded into a double play. The Orioles made it 2-0 the following inning when catcher Caleb Joseph homered to right (barely out of the reach of Shane Victorino). His first homer of the season was trumped by Ryan Hanigan's two-run blast over the Monster in the home half of the frame. It was the Andover, MA native's first bomb as a Red Sox which had to be a special feeling.

Edward Mujica was first out of Boston's bullpen and he got four outs. Junichi Tazawa pitched a 1-2-3 eighth with two strikeouts and Koji Uehara (1-0) was credited with the win after striking out two batters of his own in a 1-2-3 ninth (10 pitches!).

Literally anything could happen tomorrow afternoon (4:05, NESN) as Clay Buchholz (1-1) faces Chris Tillman (1-1) in a battle of "aces" who are nothing of the sort.


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