Wow. From the emotional pre-game ceremony celebrating the lives and saviors of people hurt and killed in the recent Boston bombings to Clay Buchholz‘s stellar pitching performance to the comeback win propelled by a home run from one of the greatest comeback stories in baseball, that was one of the greatest Red Sox games I have ever watched. Everyone knew it was going to be emotional throughout Fenway Park, but nobody could have predicted the vibrant and powerful atmosphere in Fenway Park during today’s game against the Royals.
A pitching duel looked likely coming into the ballgame as Clay Buchholz (3-0, 0.41) faced James Shields (1-2, 3.43) and a pitching duel was what we got. Neither team scored until the fifth inning on an RBI single by Royals’ right fielder Jeff Franceour, and it was low scoring throughout. Buchholz wound up getting the win in the game, his fourth of the year, as he allowed 2 runs in 8 innings, raisinghis ERA to a still minuscule 0.90. Shields was equally good for his outing, allowing just a run in 6 strong innings to lower his ERA to 3.00 in a no-decision.
It wasn’t until later in the game that the Red Sox really burst out offensively, as they were down 2-1 entering the bottom of the eighth. In a questionable move, Jonny Gomes came in to pinch-hit for Shane Victorino, but it worked out admirably as Gomes doubled high off the monster. After Dustin Pedroia walked, David Ortiz grounded into a double play to complicate matters with Gomes on third and two outs. Flame-throwing Kelvin Herrera came on the pitch from there and walked Mike Napoli on four pitches. The real damage in the inning, however, came on a 2-1 pitch to Daniel Nava. Nava stroked a changeup from Herrera on a line right into the glove of Koji Uehara in the Red Sox bullpen for a three-run homer.
The game was still far from over, though, as Andrew Bailey had far from a spot-free outing. He allowed a leadoff home run to Lorenzo Cain, who had a remarkable game as he went 4-4 with 3 runs scored, 2 doubles, and a home run. It eventually came down to Bailey versus Alex Gordon with 2 men on base, 2 outs, and a 2-2 count. Gordon hit a routine ground ball to shortstop and the crowd erupted as Stephen Drew threw on to first to end the game and send the fans home happy with a seven game winning streak after a wonderful baseball game.