After a pair of high-scoring games to start the series, the Red Sox and Rays put on a show of offensive ineptitude Sunday night, with Boston winning 1-0 in 16 innings.
It was the longest 1-0 game since the Brewers beat the Angels 1-0 on June 8, 2004, though the Mets and Cardinals played 18 scoreless innings before New York beat St. Louis 2-1 in 20 innings on April 17, 2010. The Red Sox were on the losing end of a similar contest two years ago. They fell 2-0 to the Yankees in 15 innings on Aug. 7, 2009.
The team’s combined to bat .078, which is even lower than Adam Dunn’s average this season. The Red Sox were 5-for-52, while the Rays went 3-for-50. Dustin Pedroia had three of Boston’s hits, including the go-ahead single that plated Josh Reddick in the 16th.
The starting pitchers were stellar, of course. Josh Beckett, who left his last start in the first half with a hyperextended knee, pitched eight innings of one-hit ball. Jeff Niemann allowed two hits while also going eight innings. He fanned 10 tonight after failing to strike out more than six in any of his previous 10 starts this season.
It looked like Boston would go ahead in the 11th, but after three straight walks to start the frame, Reddick and Jason Varitek both struck out and Marco Scutaro popped out foul to the catcher.
The Red Sox walked 12 times in all. They left 17 runners on base to the Rays’ six.
By winning two out of three this weekend, the Red Sox opened a seven-game gap on the Rays in the standings. The Yankees are in second place in the AL East, 1 1/2 games back of Boston.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.