Can you believe these guys? Red Sox pull off another stunning comebackBy MICHAEL SILVERMAN
September 05. 2018 9:31PM
ATLANTA — Brandon Phillips looks as if he is going to fit right in with the Red Sox.
In his first game as a Red Sox, the veteran second baseman hit a stunning, two-run game-winning home run off of Atlanta closer A.J. Minter Wednesday to seal one of the most remarkable rallies in this increasingly remarkable Red Sox season.
Manager Alex Cora had given five of his regulars a day of rest, meaning he put out a lineup that resembled a split-squad game in Dunedin. A bit defensive before the game about it, he pointed out, “we’ve got a No. 1 prospect at third base, an All-Star at short, an All-Star at second base, an All-Star at first and three first-rounders in the outfield — that’s a lot of talent out there. It’s not like we’re just showing up and not trying to win.”
Prophetic words were never more spoken in the 9-8 victory.
At first, Cora looked wrong, not because of the lineup, but because of the seven runs allowed by the first two pitchers, Hector Velazquez and Drew Pomeranz.
But all that was prelude to one of the most remarkable rallies the Red Sox have produced to date this season.
The Red Sox swept the series.
Down 7-1 in the eighth, that split-squad, rag-tag lineup began their first rally.
The Red Sox had just two hits when the eighth began. The bases were loaded when Blake Swihart doubled in two runs. A pair of runs came in behind RBI from Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland before the first returning partly-rested regular, Ian Kinsler, singled in two more runs. Three other regulars saw action in the eighth: Eduardo Nunez (flyout), Xander Bogaerts (walk) and Mookie Betts (strikeout to end the inning).
The Red Sox had one out when Phillips came up in the ninth. Andrew Benintendi was on first base after singling. Phillips launched into Minter’s first pitch, sending it into the bleachers over the left-field wall to put the Red Sox on top.
Craig Kimbrel came in for the ninth to close out the game for save No. 38.
Velazquez did not pitch as if he was aware of the early 12:10 start time. He allowed a home to the first batter he faced, Ronald Acuna, a triple to the second and then two singles in a row before escaping the inning with the Braves up, 2-0.
Velazquez did settle down nicely, running into no more trouble until the fourth, when the defense behind him came to the rescue. After Velazquez issued a leadoff walk, Phillips chased down a foul ball at the wall for the first out. Tyler Flowers then doubled down the left field line. The tag team of left fielder Benintendi, shortstop Brock Holt and catcher Christian Vazquez combined to throw out the base-runner from first, Lucas Duda, at the plate for the second out.
No runs scored in the bottom of the fourth, but the fifth inning was a Braves hit-show.
Drew Pomeranz replaced Velazquez and his first inning was even worse than the one Velazquez produced.
Pomeranz faced six batters and recorded only one out. He was charged with five runs. The rotten fruit of his labor was two walks, two singles and a triple before he was asked to vacate the mound.
The Red Sox scored a run in the second inning. Phillips worked a leadoff walk, scooted to third base on Rafael Devers’ single before a groundout by Holt scored Phillips to keep the score a respectable 2-1.