The Boston Red Sox gave the ball to Craig Kimbrel with a one-run lead in the ninth inning, which normally leads to a Boston victory. But on Monday night, it took just one pitch for those wishes to go away, as Mike Napoli tied the game with a solo blast on the first pitch of the ninth, forcing extra innings. Although, Andrew Benintendi played the role of hero in the 11th with a two-run single to lift the Red Sox to a 7-5 win over the Texas Rangers. Dustin Pedroia played a key role in Boston's sixth straight win, including a key play to throw out Carlos Gomez at first base in the ninth. After Devin Marrero's throw sailed past first base, Pedroia backed the throw up, and the ball ricocheted right to him, where he was able to make an off-balance throw back to first and catch Gomez leaning. The Red Sox' second baseman was intentionally walked before Benintendi's game-winner, and drove in three on the night. The Rangers also got long balls from Carlos Gomez and Rougned Odor in the loss. Heath Hembree retired all six batters he faced to earn his first win for Boston. The Red Sox held a 5-2 lead before the Rangers started chipping away, including an RBI single from Nomar Mazara. Napoli's home run was his third in four games, but was not enough, as these two teams move on for a Fourth of July showdown on Tuesday night.
Nationals Recover to Walk-Off Against Mets
The Washington Nationals ended a scoreless tie in the eighth, entered the ninth with a 2-0 lead, but the scoring was far from over then. After blowing that 2-0 lead in the top of the ninth, Ryan Raburn came out with two outs in the bottom half to hit the walk-off RBI single in a 3-2 win over the New York Mets. Curtis Granderson tied the game with a pinch-hit, two-out, two-run home run off of Matt Albers, who went on to earn his fourth win. That came after Michael Taylor gave the Nats a lead with a two-run shot in the eighth inning. The Mets could not force extras, as Paul Sewald struggled out of the bullpen, walking Matt Wieters to lead off the ninth. Wieters would move to third in two at-bats, before Raburn hit the game-winner. Stephen Strasburg and Steven Matz each threw seven scoreless innings in a pitching duel, but things would go elsewhere once they exited. Brian Goodwin helped keep the game scoreless in the top of the eighth by throwing out Brandon Nimmo at the plate on Jose Reyes's single. The Nationals' bullpen struggles continued and forced the heroics, as they entered the game with a league-worst 5.12 ERA. The first-place Nats will now play host to their traditional Fourth of July game on Tuesday morning.
Durant Takes Pay Cut in Deal With Warriors
Following Stephen Curry getting a $201 million deal from the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant decided that keeping the team together was more important than getting the dollar amount. The unrestricted free agent agreed to a two-year, $53 million deal to stay in Golden State, taking an obvious pay-cut in his contract. The deal includes a player option on the second year, where many expect him to opt out again in the summer of 2018. Reports say it is about a $9 million pay-cut that the Finals' MVP is taking, helping Golden State hang on to Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. Both of those players got three-year deals after Curry's massive extension, as the defending champs remain focused on keeping their group intact, rather than adding to it. They still have work to do to bring back JaVale McGee, who has reportedly drawn interest from the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, and Miami Heat.