Of all the Sox comebacks this year, “this was the most magical of all,” said announcer Joe Castiglione, just after Daniel Nava capped a 6-run 9th inning, last gasp rally and the home nine held onto first place with it’s MLB-leading 11th walk-off win, 8-7.
VIDEO HERE: http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=29345443&topic_id=28898650&c_id=bos
The 6-run deficit was the largest that the Sox overcame this season and Pedroia scored the winning run in the 9th for the second game in succession.
With fifty-two games left down the stretch, the Sox are now 66-44 and 37-20 at Fenway and now lead Tampa by a full game.
It was the greatest comeback win since the Mother’s Day win in 2007.
When starter “King Felix” Hernandez, unbeaten in his last 11 starts, departed the game, the Mariners were leading 7-1, thanks to an unlikely grand slam by light-hitting veteran catcher Henry Blanco, a large cohort of Sox fans left to make the train or beat the traffic, choosing to defy the baseball truism: “The game’s not over, ‘til the last man’s out.”
The loyalty of the remaining Fenway Faithful, who kept hope alive, was fully rewarded, as they witnessed the 6-run “last licks” rally by their Red Sox:
When Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen replaced Charlie Furbush and took the hill to start the 9th inning Seattle appeared to have an insurmountable 6-run lead with just 3 outs to get. Ho hum.
But, he walked Nava and Lavarnway stung a line drive that dropped in front of center fielder Michael Saunders for a single that moved Nava to 2nd and the crowd came to life.
The just-traded Iglesias’ replacement at 3rd, rookie Brock Holt, doubled plating Nava, moving Lavarnway to 3rd.
A visit by the pitching coach Carl Willis was to no avail, as Wilhelmsen walked Ellsbury to put Sox on the corners with nobody out.
Oliver “Gas Can” Perez replaced Tom Wilhelmsen.
Victorino greeted Perez with a single to right fielder scoring Lavarnway and Holt, advancing Ellsbury to 2nd.
Red hot Pedroia shot a single through the left side of the infield scoring Ellsbury, Victorino to 2nd.
Perez got the first out of the inning when David Ortiz struck out swinging.
Yoervis Medina replaced Oliver Perez.
Gomes, who threw out a Kendrys Morales at 3rd when he played the Jai Alai carom off the wood and tin wall and then made a great catch in the top of the 9th, single up the middle, Victorino scored, Pedroia went to 2nd.
Medina walked Drew, advancing Pedroia to 3rd and Gomes to 2nd.
With the remaining crowd rising to its feet, anticipating a miracle comeback victory, Nava, in his second at-bat of the inning, drilled a line drive to center that went over Michael Saunders head and one-hopped into the wall allowing Pedroia to score the winning run in the 9th inning for the second night in a row.
Sox knuckle-baller Steven Wright [2-0] earned the W tossing the final 3 innings, allowing just 2 hits, walking 2 and K-ing one Mariner.
Oliver Perez [2-3] was pinned with the L and Medina was tagged with his first blown save.
Hernandez wound up with a no-decision and remains 11-4 while lowering his American League-leading ERA to 2.30 as he allowed just one run and six hits over seven innings. Hernandez is 6-0 with a 2.11 ERA over his last 12 starts, having not lost since May 25 vs. the Rangers.
“In a word,” manager John Farrell said, “magical.”
“After Victorino’s base hit to right, that seemed to be not only further momentum, but it was getting closer,” Farrell said.
Said Victorino: “You watch the momentum get going, you see the walks, you see guys get hits, and you’re like, OK, here we go.”
“We don’t quit — ever,” Farrell said. “It might be easy thinking, you’re down five with their closer coming in, that it might be over. But there’s no quit in this bunch. They truly believe that there’s a chance to do something special, whether it’s on a given night or over the course of a given year.”
Said Victorino: “I don’t want to use the word ‘magical’ myself. I’ll let Skip use it. But you keep winning games like this, we’re going to be someplace that we want to be. It’s definitely something you look back on and say, ‘This could be special.’
The stunning, last-chance win allowed the Sox to sweep the 3-game series from the Mariners and hold onto the AL East lead by a game over the Rays.
After taking on the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 3-game inter-league series at Fenway this Friday and Saturday [7:10] and Sunday [1:35], the Sox take a 10-game road trip to Houston [3 games], Kansas City [4 games] and Toronto [3 games].
Tomorrow night [7:10] at Fenway:
Delgado, R (3-3, 2.85)
Lester (10-6, 4.27)