Red Sox Silence Diamondbacks Hitters in Victory

Kenley Jansen of the Red Sox celebrates a 2–1 victory over the Diamondbacks with his catcher, Reese McGuire.
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Red Sox 2, Diamondbacks 1

PHOENIX, May 27 — Garrett Whitlock, in his first game back from injury, held the Arizona Diamondbacks to one run on three hits as his Boston Red Sox — thanks to three singles, a walk, and a bases-loaded squeeze play — eked out a 2–1 victory in front of a national television audience late Saturday afternoon. The Red Sox allowed three Diamondbacks to reach base all night, with only one coming beyond the first inning.

“Their starting pitcher went on lockdown,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said, “and threw the ball (really well) through the five innings. A couple of relievers later, they continued to do the same thing.”

Diamondbacks right-hander Zach Davies, also returning from injury, had a short outing, allowing two runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings. But relievers Kyle Nelson, Tommy Henry, Austin Adams, Scott McGough, and Miguel Castro pitched 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing one hit and two walks to keep the Diamondbacks in the game.

“You give up two runs, you should win a baseball game,” Lovullo stated. About the relievers, he later added, “Everybody did a really nice job of keeping it at two runs. They kept pounding the zone, making pitches, and giving us a chance to play catch-up, but we just never could.”

Diamondbacks Take Early Lead, Red Sox Rally

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The Red Sox got two baserunners in the first against Davies thanks to a one-out walk by right fielder Alex Verdugo and a two-out single by designated hitter Masataka Yoshida. With runners now on the corners and center fielder Jarren Duran batting, the Red Sox tried a double steal. Yoshida broke for second on a 2–2 pitch. Diamondbacks catcher Gabriel Moreno fired toward second, where shortstop Geraldo Perdomo cut the throw off. When Verdugo committed for home, Perdomo threw back to Moreno, who got the tag down in plenty of time for the third out.

A solo home run to right by Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte gave the hosts a 1–0 lead. At this point, according to Lovullo, the staff felt like they’d “bunch together some hits, some runs, and end up running out and winning this ballgame.”

But that was the end of the Diamondback scoring.

The Red Sox countered with a two-run top of the fourth, giving Davies an early exit. Designated hitter Masataka Yoshida led off with an infield single to third, advancing to third on a one-out single by first baseman Triston Casas. A sharp single to left by Enrique Hernandez plated Yoshida and advanced Casas to second. Lefty Kyle Nelson relieved Davies at this point, bringing up Pablo Reyes to pinch-hit for the left-handed-hitting Enmanuel Valdez. A walk loaded the bases with one out for catcher Reese McGuire, who dropped a squeeze bunt. By the time Nelson reached it, the only play was at first, and the Red Sox had the 2–1 lead they never relinquished.

Lights-out Red Sox Relievers

First it was Kutter Crawford, who retired all seven batters he faced before a comebacker off the ankle forced him to exit early. Next came Chris Martin, who sat down two straight on a grounder to second and a liner to deep right. Kenley Jansen slammed the door, tossing a 1–2–3 ninth for his 11th save of the season and 402nd of his career.

Usage of Tommy Henry

Henry, who has been in the rotation since his late-April call-up, threw 10 pitches over 1 1/3 innings. Lovullo said there were two contingency plans for how to handle the relievers Saturday. If Davies had exited even earlier than he did, and if Lovullo needed length, Henry was going to be the long man and throw “100 pitches if he needed to.” If Davies got to a certain point where Lovullo could “maneuver into the bullpen,” the team was going to use Henry briefly. The latter happened, so the Diamondbacks saved Drey Jameson for relief duty on a different day. This allows them to use Henry as the starting pitcher Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies.

Looking Ahead

Whitlock (2–2) earned the win, while Davies (0–1) took the loss. Jansen, as mentioned earlier, notched the save. The Red Sox (28–24) and Diamondbacks (29–23) wrap up their three-game series Sunday afternoon. Tanner Houck (3–3, 4.99 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Red Sox against “the mainstay” — right-hander Merrill Kelly (5–3, 2.98 ERA). First pitch will be at 1:10 pm Arizona Time.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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