On Monday night, the Red Sox needed 12 innings to beat the Orioles 2-0 at Camden Yards, with Brock Holt hitting a sacrifice fly in the top of the frame to plate the deciding run. It marked Boston’s fifth shutout of the season to date and their second against Baltimore (the Sox won 5-0 over the Birds on 20 May at Fenway Park).
Winning in extra innings is fairly common; Boston played bonus baseball 18 times in 2017, amassing a surprising 15-3 mark in those instances. Shutouts are also not unusual; Boston blanked its opponent in 11 games last season. All that stated, winning in extra innings while shutting out your opponent? That is somewhat unique. According to Baseball-Reference.com, since 1908, there have been only 32 instances where the Red Sox shut out their opponent but needed extra frames to secure the win.
Between 1912 and 1918, a span of seven seasons that saw the Red Sox win four World Series championships, Boston needed extra frames in 12 instances to win, including three games against Cleveland in 1918. Two of those games against the Indians came on back-to-back days, but not in back-to-back games, as the first shutout came in the first game of a doubleheader on 08 July.
Additionally, a game between the Red Sox and St. Louis Browns on 14 July 1916 at Fenway Park ended in a 0-0 tie after 17 innings. Ernie Koob went the distance for the visitors, while Carl Mays pitched the first 15 innings for Boston and Dutch Leonard tossed the final two. The Red Sox have one other instance in their history of a game that went to extra innings and ended in a 0-0 tie; that game came on 08 September 1929 against the Browns that was scoreless after ten innings. Likely because it was the second game of a doubleheader and that it came well before the Red Sox installed lights at Fenway did the game end when it did. Ironically, that game was a make up of a rain out from 25 July.
Since 1931, a span of nearly 88 seasons, there have only been 20 additional instances of the Red Sox shutting out their opponent in extra innings. Surprisingly, since 2011, Boston has accomplished this feat five times; more improbably, they have done it three times over the past two seasons: twice against Baltimore and once against Pittsburgh. Perhaps the most nail-biting of the most recent affairs came in 2011, when the Red Sox needed 16 innings to shut out the Rays 1-0 in Tampa, with Dustin Pedroia driving home Josh Reddick with two outs in the top of the frame and Jonathan Papelbon coming in to get the final three outs and preserve the win.