Duran erupts, Jansen falters in wild finale to tough homestand

May 17th, 2024

BOSTON -- The Red Sox have been patiently waiting for a true comeback victory all season, and they came tantalizingly close to pulling one out on Thursday night at Fenway Park. Instead, their momentum fizzled in a frustrating ninth inning that led to a 7-5 loss to the Rays.

While the controversy regarding Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder walking onto the field after his team was already out of mound visits became a focal point, there were plenty of other developments to unpack for the Red Sox, who ended their homestand with a 3-4 record.

Kenley got wild
After the Red Sox surged back to tie the game after trailing 5-1, they felt good about their chances to win a game in which they trailed by more than one run for the first time this season.

When took the ball for the top of the ninth, Boston had visions of a second walk-off win in three days. When Jansen struck out Josh Lowe on three pitches to open the frame, things were trending in the right direction. But it all went downhill after the big righty walked Randy Arozarena on four pitches.

“That’s tough,” Jansen said. “To me, it's unacceptable right there from myself. I’ve got to be better in that situation, especially coming in with a three-pitch strikeout.”

Jansen has issued 10 walks in 15 2/3 innings this season.

“I'm just frustrated I walked the hitter,” Jansen said. “At this point in my career and my life, no disrespect to any hitters, but walking guys, for me, it's not in my nature, and I don't like how it's going right now.”

After the walk, the Rays rallied for two runs against Jansen, who said he felt no ill effects from pitching for the fifth time in seven days.

“We had the right guy on the mound,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “It happens. The walk put us in a bad spot.”

Duran nearly carried team to victory
If the Sox had been able to complete their comeback, seemed poised to be the hero. The leadoff man belted doubles in the third and fifth innings, the latter one leading to a three-run rally. In the sixth, Duran unloaded for a solo shot into the bleachers in right-center that tied the game. Duran’s second homer of the season was scorched at a projected distance of 426 feet, per Statcast.

While Boston’s lineup has been compromised by injuries to key players, Duran has started all 44 games.

“[Duran] put some good swings on the ball yesterday too,” Cora said. “He’s in a good spot. Like I’ve been saying, this is a good player. He’s going to go through stretches, but he knows what he needs to do to get back on track, and he started driving the ball the other way. He hit one in the air for the homer. The last one hit in the air was to the pull side. That was good. He’s been fighting his mechanics, but he keeps working on it and he’s put some impressive at-bats together.”

Duran only wishes his performance had come in a win.

“Yeah it's tough, but you got to pick out the good things,” Duran said. “We fought back hard. They punched us. We punched back. It's just baseball. They just scrapped it out more than us tonight. But I like where we're at. I like that we’re fighting back right now and I like where we're taking our at-bats.”

Criswell’s first tough start
After dazzling in five starts this season in which right-hander allowed two earned runs or fewer in each outing, he faltered while facing his former team in what might have been his last start for a while. In just 3 2/3 innings, Criswell threw 100 pitches while allowing four hits and five runs (three earned).

(4-0, 1.96 ERA) made a Minor League rehab start Wednesday and is expected to rejoin Boston’s rotation early next week at Tropicana Field. Criswell could be moved to the bullpen or even optioned to Triple-A Worcester.

“Changeup and slider were yanking on me,” Criswell said. “I felt like I might have been opening up a little bit. I’ll go back over the video tomorrow and look at the mechanics. But I just felt like the timing was a little off with the sweeper and changeup, essentially too many three-ball counts and led to me throwing way too many pitches.”