For eight innings, the Sox lacked much life and vitality, trailing the Indians 5-2 on only four hits. The ninth was a completely different story, as the Sox scored four runs to win in a dramatic, walk-off fashion, sending Fenway into a frenzy. Yesterday’s game was Boston’s biggest walk-off win at Fenway since Mother’s Day in 2007, when the Sox rallied from five down against the Orioles.
The ninth inning itself was incredible to witness on television, so I can only imagine the atmosphere at the ballpark. With Chris Perez in to close out the game, the prospect of a dramatic win looked bleak for the Sox. Dustin Pedroia (0-2, 2 BB, 1 R) led off the inning with a close 3-2 take for ball four. David Ortiz (1-4, R) followed that up by doubling over center fielder Michael Bourn‘s head, sending Pedroia to third in the process. Pedroia would score on a groundout to short by Mike Napoli. Ortiz would then steal third (yes, you did read that correctly; a shift was in place so that no one was covering third base), which put him in position to score on a Jarrod Saltalamacchia groundout just a few pitches later, making the score 4-3.
With two outs, the ensuing plate appearances would have everyone on their feet…and biting their nails. Following a walk by Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew (3-4, 3 R) added to his huge game with a single to right, placing runners at first and third (Drew would later steal second). With the game on the line and the game-winning run now at second, Jose Iglesias stepped up to the plate. Iglesias responded to the situation with an incredible, grind-it-out, seven pitch walk that included taking ball four on a pitch literally an inch off the strike zone.
The tension now palpable throughout the park, Jacoby Ellsbury (2-5, 2 RBI) was presented with an opportunity to build some confidence and win the game for the Sox. Adding to the suspense, Perez would leave after he injured his right shoulder after throwing just three pitches to Ellsbury. Advantageously placed in a 2-1 count, Ellsbury ripped the first pitch from new reliever, Joe Smith, into the left-center field gap, clinching the game and the series for the Sox.
Fenway and members of Red Sox Nation erupted into absolute pandemonium, with some still disbelieving that they were even able to recover from the three-run deficit (count a friend of mine who I watched the game with, as one of these people). In my opinion, this game epitomized the season to this point, with the Sox never-say-never attitude once again prevailed.
Starting pitcher Felix Doubront pitched fairly well, surrendering four runs (just two earned) and notched eight K’s in six innings of work.
Today, the Sox hope to build off Sunday’s amazing victory, facing the Phillies at 7:10 at Fenway for a quick two-game set. Alfredo Aceves makes a spot start for an injured Clay Buchholz, who was scratched due to some collarbone an AC joint discomfort.