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A statement win was there for the taking, but Red Sox couldn’t seal the deal

Christian Vazquez (center) could only watch while Joc Pederson (right) high fives Corey Seager after Hector Velazquez walked in the winning run for the Dodgers in the 12th inning.Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff/Globe Staff

After a shaky start on Sunday evening, the Red Sox had every chance into Monday morning at Fenway Park to beat the Dodgers and claim a statement series victory coming out of the All-Star break.

Instead, it was another stomach-churning loss in a season hardly lacking for them.

Down two entering the eighth, Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez cracked back-to-back home runs to tie it, but the home team squandered multiple chances for a walkoff victory and baseball’s best team took advantage in the 12th, ultimately winning 7-4 in a game that ended at 12:50 a.m.

“Yesterday was bad,” said manager Alex Cora, referencing Saturday evening’s 11-2 loss. “[Today] was a good baseball game. We just ran out of pitching. It’s a tough one, obviously. We had a shot to win the game multiple times and it didn’t happen.”


At five hours, 40 minutes, it was just five minutes shy of Boston’s 17-inning loss in Minnesota last month, the team’s longest game of the year. It dropped the Red Sox to 21-22 at Fenway Park this season.

The Red Sox bullpen tossed six shutout innings, allowing just three hits and two walks, until turning to Hector Velazquez in the 12th. He walked Joc Pederson to lead off, then interfered with Cody Bellinger on his hard shot to first base, turning a likely out into two on.

An A.J. Pollock single loaded the bases and, after an infield fly, Max Muncy walked on five pitches to score the eventual winning run. Los Angeles (62-33) added two more on a single by Alex Verdugo — who threw out Rafael Devers at home in the fifth and whom Andrew Benintendi threw out to keep the game tied in the 11th — and a Russell Martin fielder’s choice.

Velazquez (1-4) threw just 20 of his 36 pitches for strikes. Prior to his appearance, Josh Taylor, Colten Brewer, Ryan Brasier, Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, and Heath Hembree all threw scoreless innings in relief of David Price.


The Red Sox (50-43) had myriad chances to win it well before Velazquez was needed. Down 4-2 after Hyun-Jin Ryu — the All-Star Game starter for the National League — went seven innings, allowing eight hits against six strikeouts and a walk, Dave Roberts turned to his bullpen.

Five Pedro Baez pitches later, the game was tied 4-4. Bogaerts crushed a 1-1 offering off the shelf atop the Green Monster, and Martinez hit his first home run since June 30 into the Red Sox bullpen.

They were Boston’s fifth back-to-back home runs this season and their first at Fenway Park.

Brandon Workman struck out the side in the ninth to keep Fenway buzzing, but there would be no celebration for the home fans. Rafael Devers lined out and Bogaerts struck out against Kenley Jansen with runners on first and second in the ninth.

Vazquez drew a one-out walk in the 10th and caught the Dodgers napping to steal second with two out, but Jansen struck out Brock Holt.

The biggest blunder for the Sox might have came in the 11th inning. Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled off the wall in left-center to lead off the inning. With no outs Marco Hernandez grounded to Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager. Instead of staying at second Bradley bolted for third. Seager saw Bradley bolt past him, so he pivoted his feet and attention toward Bradley, throwing him out for the first out of the inning.


“First of all, I messed up,” Bradley said after the game. “But with that being said, my thought process was that he was behind me, jockeying me to make sure I stay close to the base. With a lefty in Marco being up, I thought (Seager) would be shifted a little more (up) the middle.

“As I went back and looked at it, as the pitch was being delivered, I see him shuffling a towards the hole. I saw it off the bat and didn’t necessarily see it hit hard enough, but I had to slow down to let (the ball) get by or it would have hit me.”

In short, Seager sort of deked Bradley.

The Sox loaded the bases in the 11th for Martinez despite Bradley Jr. running into an out at third following a leadoff double, but Dylan Floro got him to ground out. Former Sox reliever Joe Kelly cleaned up Floro’s leadoff walk in the 12th, fanning Holt and Bradley Jr. for just his third major-league save.

It was a fitting end to a much-hyped series that had left something to be desired before Sunday, opening with last year’s World Series opponents splitting two blowouts.

Hector Velazquez was the last of eight pitchers the Red Sox used Sunday.Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff/Globe Staff

In the top of the first inning, Price walked Dodgers leadoff hitter Chris Taylor, then Bogaerts booted a grounder at shortstop, putting runners at first and second. Price responded by getting David Freese to strikeout and Bellinger to pop out, but Pollock homered just inside the Pesky Pole.


Luck didn’t work in the Sox’ favor on this one. The ball had an expected batting average of .030, coming off the bat at 91.5 miles per hour.

The Sox quickly answered with two runs of their own. Mookie Betts singled off the Green Monster to lead it off. Two batters later, Bogaerts grounded to shortstop, but a shift left no one at second and Bogaerts beat out the throw to first in the confusion.

The shift would work to the Sox’ advantage again on yet another grounder to short from Benintendi. An errant throw by Taylor allowed two runs to score. The Sox had five hits in the inning, all singles, three not leaving the infield.

But that proved to be the only offense for the Sox during Price’s outing, which was finished after five innings thanks in large part to the Dodgers fouling off 31 of his 113 pitches. LA made it 4-2 in the fifth on a Pollock single through the left side. Yet the 27-pitch first inning followed by a 22-pitch second inning was what shortened Price’s outing.

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“They did a good job,”Cora said. “Lefty, righties, with two strikes. They are a good offensive club. Good game planning. It seems like they attack you as a unit. They got the pitch count up and we had to take David out of the game early.”


Said Price: “That’s tough. But at the same time I think I could make better pitches. Whenever I have the opportunity to put somebody away, I haven’t been able to do that in the past two or three weeks.”

Meanwhile, Ryu retired 11 straight batters until a Devers two-out single in the fifth that ultimately ended in Verdugo’s strike from left field.

For each time the Sox appeared to gain some ground, the Dodgers snatched it right back. It took 12 innings and more than five hours to decide this one and in the end, the Red Sox didn’t have enough.

“I thought we were going to win that game,” Price said. “I think that was the feeling in the dugout, too. That’s the feeling we need to have we just weren’t able to do that tonight.”