BOSTON -- By the end, scattered throughout the batting order were names like Marrero and Leon and LaMarre.
If you looked at the lineup card, with the names crossed out and late-inning replacements penciled in, you could be forgiven for thinking that you had stumbled into an early March spring training game, a road game from which the regulars had been spared a long bus ride.
But it was nothing of the sort. John Farrell was playing for keeps.
It wasn't March at all. It was late June. But Farrell was managing like it was September.
He ran through all his position players, having emptied his bench out of necessity while putting a pretty good dent in his bullpen, too.
Craig Kimbrel was pushed for two innings for the first time this season. Travis Shaw, too sore to start at third base early in the afternoon, eventually found himself in left field for the first time since spring training.
The Red Sox were desperate for a win and, after they had outlasted the Chicago White Sox, 8-7 in 10 innings, weren't ashamed to admit it.
Well, maybe not "desperate,'' per se. But they acknowledged that the game carried with it an unusual sense of urgency.
"Yeah, very much so,'' said Farrell. "We're staring at (the possibility) of a four-game sweep at home and that's never a good thing. So you find a way to pull out all the stops. We all sensed that. We did some things that . . . you know what? You do what you can with what you have in the moment.''
And the Red Sox, at times, didn't have much. They lost outfielder Chris Young to a significant hamstring strain that will put their third left fielder on the DL in the last month. They got just 5 1/3 innings from starter Rick Porcello, requiring repeated calls to the bullpen.
But they played and managed with a heightened sense that, damn the calendar, this was one they could not afford to lose.
The White Sox had come here scuffling, too, but had gotten better by beating up the Red Sox for the first three. A sweep at the hands of the thoroughly mediocre White Sox would have been too much for Boston to take.
You seldom hear baseball players attach much significance to a single game, especially one weeks before the All-Star break. Usually, there's the usual cliches about it being a long season, with plenty of baseball to be played.
And it is, and there will be. But the Red Sox dropped their guard after the win and admitted that, yes, they needed this one in the worst way.
"For sure,'' agreed Xander Bogaerts, who sent a flare into shallow center that scored the winning run. "We all were (feeling desperate). We've been one base hit away. Chris Young's home run (a foot from being fair in the late innings Wednesday night) . . . The games had been so close (in the series) and everything seemed to be on their side. It was on our side today.''
One win -- no matter how hard-fought, or how dramatic -- won't turn around the Red Sox season.
There's still a black hole in left field that must be filled until Brock Holt can return. The bullpen has been exposed in recent weeks and re-inforcements must be found, either internally or externally.
And even after 14 runs scored in the last two games, the offense still has the disquieting habit of stranding runners at the worst possible time.
Those issues aren't going away because the Red Sox, for an afternoon, willed themselves to a victory.
There are no guarantees, in short. The Sox play their next six on the road, the first three of which are against the team (Texas) with the best record in the American League.
But none of that mattered Thursday, when the Red Sox seemed willing to do just about anything for a single win.