BOSTON (CBS) — Sometimes when a team is scuffling, all they need is a friendly bounce to get things going in the right direction. The Red Sox potentially got that bounce Wednesday night in Oakland.
The defending World Series champs snapped their four-game losing streak with a 6-3 comeback win over the A’s, thanks to a beneficial bounce off the third base bag in the ninth inning. Reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts stepped to the plate with two on and two out in the top of the ninth with the game tied 3-3. He chopped a 3-2 changeup from A’s reliever Fernando Rodney down the third base line, and with Gold Glover Matt Chapman manning the hot corner, it looked as though Betts had ended the inning.
That’s when the Sox finally got the early season break they’ve desperately needed during this tough stretch. Betts’ sharp grounder hit off the bag at third, and bounced high over the head of Chapman and into left field. Blake Swihart and Jackie Bradley Jr., who had advanced on a Rodney wild pitch earlier in the at-bat, easily scored to give Boston a 5-3 lead. Betts would score when Andrew Benintendi followed with an RBI triple, and Ryan Braiser closed the door in the bottom of the ninth to secure the W.
Betts knew as soon as he sent Rodney’s changeup down the line that the only way it would get by Chapman’s vacuum of a glove was if the ball hit the bag.
“Pretty much the only way you’re going to get it by Chapman,” said Betts, who scored two of Boston’s six runs on the night. “He’s one of the best, if not the best, at third.”
It wasn’t the prettiest way to get a win, but Boston will gladly take it for their second triumph of the season. After the Red Sox found all sorts of different ways to lose over the first week of the season, maybe the fortuitous bounce will serve as the spark that the team needed to get on track in 2019.
“A break? Yeah,” said Betts. “You know, [Tuesday] was one of those things where we’re a foot away from a home run tying the game up and a couple of reviews that didn’t go our way. Just to get a bounce our way was huge.”
One lucky bounce doesn’t completely negate Boston’s 2-5 start to the season, and they won’t find many sympathizers around the league when it comes to their early season woes. But for a team that was shut out the previous two nights, the Sox will take wins any way they can right now. Sometimes, that means taking full advantage of a lucky bounce that comes your way.