Well, we've now gotten the first extra inning game of the season out of the way. This was a long one! Other than giving up an RBI double to Justin Bour, Chris Sale pitched pretty well for the Sox. Not as dominant as Opening Day, but he was solid through five and struck out six. JD Martinez drove in a run late in the game and the Sox and Marlins ended the ninth inning tied at one run apiece. It looked like the Sox would finally take the win in the eleventh: Eduardo Nunez hit a double and Andrew Benintendi drove him in to give the Sox a 2-1 lead. However, Matt Barnes came on to get the save and after getting the first two outs, proceeded to walk the next two batters (both on full counts) before giving up a double. The tying run scored, but luckily Bour tried to score from second and was easily gunned down by Benintendi. The Sox did turn a nice relay throw, but if Bour wasn't carrying that piano on his back this game would've been over then and there. Instead, in the thirteenth inning Hanley Ramirez hit a two RBI double to give the Sox the 4-2 lead and that would be the final score.
The Sox pitching continued to be great (Barnes' blown save in the eleventh excepted). Bobby Poyner, Joe Kelly, Carson Smith, and Craig Kimbrel all performed well and Heath Hembree (who usually gives me heartburn) pitched well and got the save. The offense came up with the timely hits, but most impressive was the defense. There was some great play in the field with Jackie Bradley in particular turning in a highlight reel diving catch midway through the game. All in all, a satisfying win even if the Marlins aren't that good of a team. That's five in a row for the Red Sox and they remain alone atop the division.
If I may add one more thing, this series and the preceding one with the Rays reaffirmed what I've thought for years: professional baseball (and pro sports in general) in Florida are a joke. The crowds are pathetic and those who do show up tend to root more numerously and vocally for the road teams. This is because places like Florida (and Arizona, to name another) are full of transplants who bring their allegiances with them and vastly outnumber the insignificant contingent of home fans. The two Florida teams (and Arizona) have been in existence over twenty years and this still hasn't changed. If it were up to me, I'd move Tampa ton Montreal and contract the other two teams, but that's a discussion for another (longer) post. In the meantime, the Sox now get a day off before traveling back to Boston to open the home season at Fenway Park in two days. Hopefully the weather will cooperate more than it did for the Yankees and Mets earlier this week!