Within the single game played between the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners on Thursday afternoon, there were several individual contests where the momentum shifted back and forth. At least, the momentum shifted over the first five innings of the game before it took a hiatus and only returned in the 10th inning to finally put an end to the proceedings. When the game ended and momentum had picked a side, it was the Red Sox who were on the winning side of the 8-7 game.
The first shift in momentum occurred in the very first plate appearance of the game. Jacoby Ellsbury continued his hot hitting by belting a solo home run that gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead and seemed to promise a lot of good things to come in the future.
However, the good feeling from Ellsbury’s solo shot did not last long at all and was quickly replaced by the sort of stomach-churning nausea of the kind one can experience on a roller coaster. For as high as the Red Sox seemed to reach thanks to Ellsbury’s home run, they plummeted even more after the bottom of the second inning.
In the second inning, it was the Mariners who appeared to take lasting control of the contest. Kyle Seager led off the second inning with a solo home run of his own, and when the second inning concluded, the Mariners had added three more runs off of three more hits and taken advantage of a couple of Red Sox miscues.
The Mariners then went on to score an additional run in the third inning, thanks to an RBI single by Michael Saunders, that gave the team a win expectancy of 92.8 percent.
Momentum did not reside long with the Mariners, though, as it decided to see what other teams were in the sea and locked onto the Boston Red Sox, at least for the duration of the top of the fourth inning. During that frame, the Red Sox scored three runs on three straight RBI singles to almost even the score again.
However, momentum quickly grew bored with the Red Sox and returned to the Mariners and gifted the Red Sox opponent with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, which provided the Mariners with a 7-4 lead and a game-high win expectancy of 93.0 percent.
Still, momentum is incredibly fickle and just when one thought it had settled down with the Mariners, it quickly shifted its allegiance back to the Red Sox and gave the club the impetus to score three runs in the top of the fifth inning to tie the game at 7-7. Their fifth-inning output gave the Red Sox a win expectancy of 50.2 percent for one plate appearance before it slipped down to 44.3 percent.
Then momentum took a break from both teams for the next four innings, a phenomenon that curiously coincided with the removal of starting pitchers Ryan Dempster and Erasmo Ramirez from the contest. Dempster, who gave up seven runs over 3.3 innings, pitched to a win probability added of -0.569 while Ramirez, who gave up seven runs over 4.7 innings, was little better with a win probability added of -0.306.
Removing their ineffective pitching efforts from the contest went a long way into also removing the momentum from the game because one pitcher’s mediocrity was not soon being matched by the other.
The pitchers who followed them in the contest implemented a sense of calm into the game’s events. No offense was able to mount much of an attack as the relievers from both teams quickly erased any would-be rallies.
That is, until the top of the tenth inning when the Red Sox cobbled together the winning run through a walk, a sacrifice bunt, a stolen base, and an RBI single from Daniel Nava that gave the Red Sox their first lead of the contest since the Ellsbury home run and a win expectancy of 87.7 percent.
Closer Koji Uehara then came on the scene to shut the door on the Mariners as he pitched a perfect 10th inning that included two strikeouts.
Thus, the Boston Red Sox capped off their victory and the four-game series against the Mariners, of which the Red Sox won three.