Ben Revere homered off of Max Scherzer. Because of course.

11 Comments

Max Scherzer was already reeling after surrendering a hit to the Phillies in the sixth inning of Friday night’s start at Citizens Bank Park, ending his bid for a perfect game, which would have doubled as the back end of back-to-back no-hitters. That would have paired him with Johnny Vander Meer as the only pitchers to have tossed back-to-back no-hitters.

Then Scherzer relented a run in the seventh on a Domonic Brown RBI double to left-center, which ended the Nationals’ streak of 48 consecutive scoreless innings pitched by the starting rotation.

Ahead 5-1, manager Matt Williams opted to have Scherzer start the eighth inning, which was a bit questionable considering the right-hander’s recent workload, his pitch count nearing 100, and the fact that the Nationals were comfortably ahead. Freddy Galvis helped Scherzer out, though, popping up a bunt attempt on the first pitch to bring up Ben Revere.

Revere, if you aren’t aware, is not exactly known for his power. He memorably had baseball’s longest active home run drought, at 1,466 at-bats, before ending it in late May last year. He homered again in September for good measure. Revere hadn’t homered since then. Scherzer hadn’t allowed a home run since Stephen Drew took him yard on June 9. Revere had 304 homerless plate appearances on the year coming into Friday’s action; Scherzer had thrown 1,449 pitches and yielded only six home runs (0.41%). And yet, as baseball is wont to do, the statistically improbable happened:

Red Sox even ALCS 1-1, defeat Astros 7-5 in Game 2

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Game 2 of the ALCS, held Sunday night in Boston, was a play in three parts. For the first three innings, it was a back-and-forth affair between the offenses of the Red Sox and Astros. The middle three innings involved both team’s pitching staffs calming things down. The final third of the game saw the Red Sox add insurance. Ultimately, the Red Sox went on to win 7-4 to even the ALCS at one game apiece.

The Red Sox opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning, with Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers hitting RBI singles off of a shaky Gerrit Cole. The Astros returned the salvo in the top of the second against David Price as George Springer fisted a double that just barely stayed fair down the right field line to plate two runs to tie the game. Marwin González broke the 2-2 tie in the top of the third, turning on an inside cut fastball for a two-run homer over the Green Monster. In the bottom half of the third, the Red Sox put together a rally, loading the bases with one out. After Ian Kinsler struck out, Jackie Bradley, Jr. drilled an opposite-field double off of the Monster with the carom taking left fielder Marwin González back towards the infield, allowing all three runs to score, putting the Red Sox back on top at 5-4.

Price, whose postseason woes are well-publicized, pitched better than his line indicated. He was on the hook for four runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts. His counterpart, Cole, went six frames, on the hook for five runs (four earned) on six hits and a pair of walks with five strikeouts.

Once Price was out of the game, Matt Barnes got four outs with nary a scrape. Ryan Brasier worked around a two-out walk in the seventh for a scoreless frame. In the bottom half of the seventh, facing Lance McCullers, Jr., Mookie Betts led off with a walk. As Benintendi struck out, Betts moved to second base on a wild pitch. During J.D. Martinez‘s at-bat, Martín Maldonado allowed a passed ball, which gave Betts the opportunity to move to third base. Martinez struck out, but Maldonado was unable to handle a pitch from reliever Josh James, so Betts ran home to score a crucial insurance run.

Rick Porcello took over in the eighth, setting down Tony Kemp, González, and Carlos Correa in 1-2-3 fashion, striking out the latter two. In the bottom half of the eighth, Betts added yet another insurance run with an RBI double to right-center.

Kimbrel has had a rough postseason thus far, giving up a run in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees followed by two more in Game 4. Those struggles continued on Sunday. He got Evan Gattis to pop up, then struck out Josh Reddick. So far, so good. Unfortunately for Kimbrel, Springer poked a double to left field, then advanced to third base on a wild pitch while José Altuve batted. Altuve then ripped a single off of the Monster to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Alex Bregman. Mercifully, for the Red Sox and their fans, Kimbrel got Bregman to fly out to Benintendi just in front of the Monster in deep left field.

David Price’s team won a postseason game he started for the first time. This was his 10th postseason start and he had been 0-8 with one no-decision.

With the ALCS tied up at one game each, the Red Sox and Astros will take Monday off to travel to Houston. Game 3 is slated for a 5:09 PM ET start on Tuesday. The Red Sox haven’t yet named a starter but the Astros will go with Dallas Keuchel.