The Boston Red Sox were competitive through the first five innings of Saturday’s contest against the St. Louis Cardinals, but one inning changed the whole complexion of the game.
St. Louis scored six runs in the top of the sixth inning to go up 10-2 after Boston had cut the lead to 4-2 before the inning. The Cardinals didn’t look back and won the game 11-2 at Fenway Park. The Red Sox had entered the game only giving up 11 runs in its past five games, per Devin Benson of Red Sox Baseball Communications and Media Relations.
“We were one swing away from changing the whole thing,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters postgame, per team-provided audio. “We were working the counts. That’s what (Cardinals pitcher Dakota Hudson) does — getting ground balls. All the walks, we were right there — one swing away from changing the whole thing, but it just didn’t happen.”
The Red Sox had forced five walks off Hudson. Boston scored its second run off a walk when the bases were loaded. Kevin Plawecki was the one who was walked in the situation — the second walk of the game for the catcher.
The six runs given up in the sixth inning were the most the Red Sox had given up in one inning since the May 24 contest against the Chicago White Sox, per Benson.
The runs came off relievers Hansel Robles and Hirokazu Sawamura. Cora said Boston brought in Sawamura in hope to get a groundball to end the inning, but it did not happen as hoped. Robles only went 1/3 of the inning after facing five batters and appeared to not be at full strength. The reliever was checked on by training staff, and his fastball only averaged 94 MPH — down from his usual 96 MPH, per MLB.com’s Ian Browne.
“He’s fine. He kept moving his arm,” Cora said on Robles’ health status. “I don’t know if you guys noticed. Obviously, he was coming off an injury 10 days ago. We made sure everything was fine. He said yeah.”