The truth of the matter is that the Red Sox weren’t trying to win a beauty contest on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park. They just badly wanted a victory, and that made the 4-3 win that snapped a 10-game Astros winning streak a highly-satisfying outcome.
In this showdown series between MLB’s past two World Series champions, Boston had no interest in being swept at home.
They avoided the broom treatment and set up more fun for next weekend, when the defending World Series champions return to Houston for the first time since last year’s AL Championship Series. At 24-22, the Sox trail the Yankees by 4 1/2 games in the AL East.
“Yeah, obviously a really big win,” said Brandon Workman, who closed it out with his first career save. “If we lost, we went back to .500 and you don’t want to get swept by a team that you’ve seen in the playoffs and [are] likely to again, so it was nice to get a win and end the series on a high note.”
Sale is currently on track to start the first game of that series on Friday night. The lanky lefty, who had been almost untouchable in his previous three starts, was plenty powerful in this one but didn’t have his usual command. Sale equaled a career high of five walks but minimized the damage, allowing four hits and three runs as he threw 106 pitches in 5 1/3 innings.
“Yeah, it was kind of a weird day in and out of rhythm,” Sale said. “Kind of trying to find a comfortable spot to be in, kind of bounced around, but we had some right guys in the right place and scored some runs when we needed to, played some good defense.”
“I was picked up by Walden big time in the sixth inning,” Sale said. “That was honestly probably the biggest moment and he stepped up big for us.”
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Bogaerts came up in a big spot and smashed an RBI double to center to score Mookie Betts from first. That put the Red Sox in front for the first time since the first inning.
After Matt Barnes stifled the lethal 4-5-6 of the Astros' order in the eighth, Workman came on for the ninth and recorded his first career save.
It was a sweet turn of events for Bogaerts, who despised the way he felt in morning batting practice.
“He didn't like it. He was rolling over,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “He was jumpy. I've never seen him that way, so down on his swing. I was like, 'Oh, God.' Then he was looking at J.D. [Martinez] before the game and talking about working and trying to get better and he said, ‘Well, I showed up today, so hopefully the Baseball Gods will help me out through the game.’ I guess they did. He's an outstanding player.”
So how bad was the BP, exactly?
“You know how bad it was. That’s how bad it was. It was bad,” Bogaerts said. “I mean, to help the team out, obviously I was a bit lucky with that first hit I got, and I think that kind of set the tone for the next at-bat, gave me a little more confidence, and I was just trying to help the team.”
“Yeah, it took me a little longer than I’d have liked,” said Workman. “It was nice to get that. It was exciting obviously.”
The win didn’t come easy, but it sure felt good once the Red Sox got it.
“It was a good one,” said Cora. “We played outstanding defense. We grinded out some at-bats. It was a tough series against them. We had two bad innings and we lost the series, but we played pretty good the whole weekend.”