BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox appeared to be on their way to a blowout win over the Tampa Bay Rays early in Monday’s game at Fenway Park. But with a series of unfortunate errors in the span of about a minute, Boston’s big 7-1 lead over the Rays turned into just a two-run cushion.
Boston ace Chris Sale appeared to be in cruise control when he got the first two outs in the top of the fourth. But then things fell apart for the Red Sox, lowlighted by Alex Verdugo losing a deep fly in the sun in centerfield.
With two outs in the inning, Sale allowed three straight singles to load the bases. Just when it seemed like he had gotten out of the jam with a deep pop up to center off the bat of Nelson Cruz, Alex Verdugo lost the ball in the sun. Three runs scored as Cruz raced for third, and the Rays DH came home when second baseman Taylor Motter airmailed his relay throw to third.
It was a four-run pop up for the Rays — or a “Little League home run” — and one ugly sequence by the Red Sox.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Red Sox. 🤦🤦♀️
— The Sporting News (@sportingnews) September 6, 2021
Instead of the final out to get Sale out of the inning, four runs scored and Boston’s 7-1 lead was down to 7-5. Sale’s day was over two batters later after he allowed two more infield singles. He gave up five hits in the top of the fourth, and 10 overall over his 3.2 innings of work.
Verdugo’s drop was initially ruled a triple but was later changed to a three-base error, so only one of the five runs given up by Sale was earned.
It was not a great day for Verdugo in center. He also tried to go for a ball that hit high off the wall in the top of the ninth off the bat of Austin Meadows, just out of the reach of his glove. Meadows rounded the bases as the ball bounced around the outfield, tying the game 9-9 with an inside-the-park home run.
An inside-the-park homer to tie it in the 9th!! 😱 pic.twitter.com/aOWe8swjdz
— MLB (@MLB) September 6, 2021
Hunter Renfroe did not do a great job backing Verdugo up on the play, and Boston shortstop Jose Iglesias was the one who eventually got to the ball. Iglesias booted it a bit and then made an errant throw into the infield, allowing Meadows to easily scampered home to tie the game.
The Red Sox ended up losing the game 11-10 in 10 innings. The Yankees also lost Monday afternoon, so a Boston win would have put the Red Sox in front in the AL Wild Card race. Instead, Boston remains 0.5 games behind New York.