April 20, 2013 was the most emotional game of the year for the Red Sox. It was the first home game after the tragic Boston Marathon bombings and the Red Sox came back late with a comeback win over the Kansas City Royals, most notably on Daniel Nava‘s three-run go-ahead home run (the one on which Don Orsillo famously called “Boston, this is for you!”). One year later, that game left some pretty big shoes to fill. It would be tough to play quite as good a game as one year ago, but the Red Sox came pretty close tonight.
What looked to be a favorable pitching matchup for the Red Sox– Jake Peavy (0-0, 1.93) vs Ubaldo Jimenez (0-3, 7.31)– started going awry as soon as the first inning. With one out in the first inning, Nelson Cruz took the first pitch he saw and deposited it over the green monster for a solo home run to give the O’s an early 1-0 lead. The Orioles added onto that lead within the first inning as an RBI single by Matt Wieters and a sacrifice fly for J.J. Hardy gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead after just the first half inning.
Peavy got himself together for the next three innings before allowing single runs in both the fifth and the sixth innings on an RBI double by David Lough and an RBI single by Adam Jones, respectively.
Meanwhile, Ubaldo Jimenez had been turning in his first good start in an Orioles uniform. Just four Red Sox batters had reached base entering the sixth inning, but that all changed with a tiring Jimenez on the mound. With one out in the inning, David Ortiz singled and Mike Napoli walked, setting up a key situation for Jonny Gomes. And Gomes came through. On a 2-2 count, Gomes crushed a hanging curve into the bleachers on top of the green monster to cut the Orioles’ lead to 5-3 and place the Red Sox firmly back into the game.
Reliever Chris Capuano held the Orioles in check in the top of the seventh and then the Red Sox got right back to business in the bottom half. However, it wasn’t without controversy. With a runner on first and one out, Grady Sizemore hit a little dribbler to pitcher Zach Britton. Britton turned and fired to second to get the force out, but runner Brock Holt was called safe when second baseman Ryan Flaherty dropped the ball on what looked to be the transfer. However, Buck Showalter did not challenge the call and the Red Sox proceeded to load the bases. They got one run when David Ortiz singled on a ground ball into right field. The Red Sox then picked up another on a ground ball to third base, where Grady Sizemore beat the throw home to tie the game at 5-5. However, that would be all the Red Sox got in the inning as a popup and strikeout would strand the bases loaded going into the eighth.
The game stayed knotted at 5-5 for the next two innings, but things got serious once again in the ninth inning. With one out and nobody on, Dustin Pedroia lifted a high fly ball which nearly cleared the monster, instead going for a double. David Ortiz and Mike Napoli followed him up with a walk and a hit by pitch and the Red Sox had the bases loaded with one out in the inning. Then came the finish. Pinch-hitter Mike Carp lined a ball to left, not deep enough to score the run. However, left fielder David Lough’s throw to the plate was errant and Dustin Pedroia scored from third to complete the improbable comeback as the Red Sox won 6-5.