The Sox first game against the Nationals in their interleague series turned into quite the ordeal. The nearly five hour affair took fourteen innings and fifteen (across both teams) total pitchers to complete, and ended with the Sox down 9-5.
Much like their quest to crest .500 this year, the Sox came close several times in this game, but just couldn’t seem to make it over the hump and take the lead. Edwin Jackson had a good night, pitching 7.0 innings and giving up no runs on five hits and two walks while striking out eight. He was matched by Jordan Zimmermann, who also went seven innings, giving up no runs on six hits and a walk while striking out four.
The game would ultimately turn on the bullpens. The Nats scored runs off of Chris Sale and Brian Bruney to give them a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. But the Sox managed to claw back against Washington’s nearly unhittable closer Drew Storen. With one out, A.J. Pierzynski singled up the middle, followed by Brent Lillibridge singling to right. Mark Teahen then took it deep for a pinch hit home run to knot the game at three.
In extras, the game was a see-saw affair until the 14th. Laynce Nix homered in the top of the 10th for Washington, but the Sox put together a walk by Paul Konerko, double by Adam Dunn (shocking), an intentional walk to Alex Rios, and then a wild pitch to score the tying run in the bottom of the tenth against Todd Coffey.
In the top of the 12th, Washington would once again take the lead as Brian Bixler doubled home Laynce NIx. But, nearly down for the count again, the Sox would come back when A.J. Pierzynski hit a solo home run off of Tyler Clippard. The 13th inning was uneventful, but Washington managed to touch up Matt Thornton in the 14th to pull ahead for good.
With two outs in the 14th, Brian Bixler singled on a ground ball to Brent Morel. On the next play, Ian Desmond singled and then advanced to second on a terrible throw by Alexei Ramirez, which also scored Brian Bixler. Thornton intentionally walked Jayson Werth to load the bases, and then Roger Bernadina singled to Alex Rios to score Desmond and put the Nats up by two. Ryan Zimmerman followed with a bases clearing double, to put the Nats up 9-5 heading into the bottom of the inning.
There would be no magic for the Sox this time around. Despite singles by Omar Vizquel and Adam Dunn, Alex Rios would ground into a double play to end it and quell the Sox hopes for another comeback.
The two teams will play the second game of the series on Saturday at the Cell. First pitch will be at 3:10 P.M., CDT.