BOSTON -- This series was another make-or-break test for the Red Sox after losing two of three to Baltimore, seeing their AL East lead shrink to one game before the Yankees came to town.
It seemed like the Sox had lost control, again, and put themselves in a stressful position with a hot, playoff hungry rival coming to town.
But -- like they’ve done a lot in the second half this year -- they answered the call, sweeping a four-game set with New York for the first time since June 4-7 of 1990.
“Four-game series' are difficult,” John Farrell said following Sunday’s 5-4 win. “To take all four -- and three of them in comeback fashion -- that says so much about that team down in the clubhouse. There’s never any feeling of ‘We’re out of it,’ there’s never any giving at-bats away.”
Farrell credits the bullpen for providing stability throughout the series -- rightfully so. They combined for 19 1/3 innings, and only gave up two earned runs (both in Game 2 off Fernando Abad).
Robby Scott earned his first win Sunday, and has yet to give up a run for Boston. Heath Hembree pitched three innings in two appearances -- ceasing all the calamity in Sunday’s game. And Koji Uehara had two scoreless outings -- earning the save Sunday night after Craig Kimbrel had saved back-to-back games Friday and Saturday (which called for four outs).
“My gosh. What they’ve been doing in the last three weeks is remarkable,” Farrell said. “The bullpen is what’s been able to stabilize [the team]. Slowly but surely in a couple of games we’ve inched our way back and find a way to capitalize on an extra out.”
Now that they’ve past this test, they still have another to deal with -- putting the Orioles away -- which starts promptly as 7:05 Monday night in Baltimore.
Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar