Like a too good to be true soaring stock market, the Boston Red Sox bullpen was due for a correction, but what happened yesterday in Kansas City was more like a full blown financial meltdown.
The Sox pen hadn't given up a run in 26 innings before the bottom of the 8th turned all that around. Working with a 4-2 lead, Matt Barnes walked the first two batters he faced before being lifted for Robby Scott, who kept the free pass train rolling by walking Eric Hosmer. And you could just see that train charging down the track to a bad destination for Boston when Salvador Perez stepped to the plate. Scott worked him to a 3-2 count before Perez blasted the next pitch over the left field wall for a grand slam that ruined a fine effort by Drew Pomeranz and sent the Red Sox to a 6-4 loss. Pomeranz went 6 1/3 innings, and gave up just two runs on six hits and was in line for the win before the relievers relieved him of that chance.
The bullpen meltdown also rendered moot the 100th career hit by Andrew Benintendi, a big blast that made it to the famous waterfalls in right center field at Kauffman Stadium. Xander Bogaerts went back to back with Benintendi for his fifth homer of the year, but Barnes and Scott failed to keep those runs from being the winning ones. It's hard to be too critical of a pen that's been Boston's best strength this season, but it's one thing to blow a lead by giving up a hit or two, it's quite another to walk the bases loaded and then give up a grand slam without recording a single out.
And it also cut short the Red Sox brief hold on first place in the division, since the NY Yankees were due for a correction in the other direction. Having lost seven in a row the Bronx Bombers made sure the losing streak would not reach eight when they beat the L.A. Angels 8-4 at the Stadium last night. Didi Gregorious and Matt Holliday each homered for the Yanks and the bullpen combination of Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman made sure that lead didn't go the way of the Red Sox yesterday by shutting down the Angels in the last two innings. Starter Jordan Montgomery improved to 5-4 on the year in picking up the win.
The NY Mets have had enough of the L.A. Dodgers and were less than amused at the behavior of one player in Dodger blue after latest pounding they took, an 8-2 loss at Dodger Stadium. Yasiel Puig hit a three run homer off rookie Tyler Pill in the fourth and stood at home plate watching it like he was admiring a painting at the Louvre, something opposing teams never appreciate, and first baseman Wilmer Flores let Puig know about it when he finally got around to making his home run trot. Flores told Puig to just run the bases and when these teams meet again I wouldn't be surprised if Puig gets a pitch he won't have much time to dodge, much less hit and admire.
In Arlington, Texas Darwin Barney hit a two-run homer in the top of the first and the Toronto Blue Jays weren't done there, tacking on four more runs to get out to a 6-0 lead over the Texas Rangers. Texas would chip away at that lead and make a game of it but the Blue Jays hung on for a 7-5 win. The Rangers did get something for the highlight reel, though, when Joey Gallo hit a shot that caromed off the left field wall, got away from the outfielders, and ended up being an inside the park home run.
The Vermont Lake Monsters dropped their season home opener to the Brooklyn Cyclones 6-1 at Centennial Field last night, looking the proverbial gift horse in the mouth by not taking advantage of six errors committed by Brooklyn. The Cyclones weathered those miscues and used a 14-hit attack to drop Vermont to 1-2 on the young New York Penn League season. Seth Martinez pitched pretty well for the Lake Monsters, giving up one run on seven hits with three strikeouts over five innings of work, but the bullpen couldn't contain the Cyclone hit parade. Game two of the series is at Centennial Field tonight.
In the New England Collegiate Baseball League, the Vermont Mountaineers are getting an unwelcome taste of the stuff served up by the pitching staff of the North Adams Steeple Cats. One game after Blake Whitney struck out 11 in a 4-1 win, the Steeple Cats got another great start from Robert Donnelly, who threw six scoreless innings against Vermont in North Adams' 8-3 win at Recreational Field. Grady Miller suffered his first loss of the season for Vermont, giving up five runs in five and two thirds while striking out three.
The Upper Valley Nighthawks saw their nine game winning streak halted last night by the Winnipesaukee Muskrats, who cooled off the Nighthawks with a 9-3 win at the Maxfield Sports Complex in White River Junction. The Muskrats scored four times in the top of the third to pull away for the win.
The NHL's newest franchise, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, got its pick of players left unprotected by the other teams in the league yesterday and the biggest names claimed by Vegas include veteran goalie and Stanley Cup champion Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pittsburgh Penguins and hulking defenseman Marc Methot of the Ottawa Senators and high scoring winger James Neal of the Nashville Predators. The Golden Knights also claimed young Boston Bruins defenseman Colin Miller, a smooth skating, puck-moving defenseman with a blistering slap shot who was left unprotected by Boston because, you know, why would the Bruins need a player like that? Also, from the NHL, Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers was named the league's MVP for his stellar 2016-17 season.
And the NBA draft is today. Here's hoping the Boston Celtics select Duke forward Jayson Tatum with the third pick, which they have after trading the number one pick to the Philadelphia 76ers.