Matt Barnes was summoned from the bullpen in the eighth inning to get out of a jam Sunday against the Angels, which he did successfully, giving himself a save opportunity in the ninth with the score sitting at 5-4.
The closer would successfully retire the first two batters, leaving the game in the hands of perennial all-star Mike Trout. They had the shift on the center fielder, and Trout would deliver a bloop single into shallow right field that neither second baseman Michael Chavis, center fielder Marwin Gonzalez and right fielder Hunter Renfroe would be able to get to, as it landed right next to the three.
With Trout on base, Shohei Ohtani smacked a two-run shot that barely made it fair around the pesky pole to give the Angels the 6-5 lead in the ninth.
“The bloop hit was just kind of unfortunate,” Barnes said to the media afterwards. “Kind of the nature of the business. Sometimes you make a good pitch, the guy gets a piece of it and it just drops in the middle of no-man’s land – and then I just threw a fastball middle-in to Ohtani, and he was ready for it.”
Rafael Devers smacked a go-ahead three-run home run in the fifth inning to give the Sox the 5-4 lead, after Plawecki socked a solo shot earlier that inning.
“When it left his (Trout’s) bat I thought the game was over,” Barnes said about Trout’s bloop single. “I mean I know he wasn’t going to be camped under it but, I thought we were going to have somebody run right to it. But we didn’t, and that happens sometimes.”
The Red Sox were able to claw back in the game after the Angels jumped out to the early 4-0 lead. Starter Nate Eovaldi finished the day allowing six his off four runs, while striking out six across five frames.
Matt Barnes had not blown a save all season prior to Sunday, as he was 9-for-9 in save opportunities.
“Nobody’s ever finished a full season with a 0.00 ERA,” Barnes said. “You’re gonna give up runs, you’re gonna blow games. It’s gonna happen.”
Ohtani’s home run went 372 feet, with an exit velocity of 96.6 miles per hour.
“I personally think he (Ohtani) is the most physically gifted baseball player that we’ve ever seen,” Barnes later stated. “I don’t think that you’re ever going to see someone who throws 101 (MPH) and can hit the ball 600 feet. He’s a special player, and he’s incredibly talented.”
The Red Sox have an off day Monday, before packing their bags for a three-game split in Toronto.
(Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)