On Mother’s Day 2007, I was giving my mom’s ‘97 Buick LeSabre (still in service, thank you) a bath. Joe Castiglione’s voice boomed from the stereo inside the old vessel and I scrubbed the bug dust from the fenders and sprayed grime from the white walls as Baltimore Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie stymied the Boston Red Sox all afternoon.
Guthrie, making just his fourth Major League start, wasn’t dominant – he logged only two strikeouts with a matching two walks – just deflating, inducing weak dribblers and pop-ups with his off-speed stuff. By the ninth, the fans at Fenway were on their way out into the Boston afternoon as the Sox trailed 5-0 and Guthrie approached a three-hit shutout. My folks and I were invited to a family cookout, so I clicked off the car radio, put away the car wash bucket, and headed over.
For whatever reason, the game was on in the background at my aunt’s house. It’s a good thing, because otherwise, we would have missed one of the all-time great Red Sox comebacks. Hyperbole or not, it was the Mother’s Day Miracle.
The meltdown started when O’s catcher Ramon Hernandez muffed a twisting foul pop off the bat of Coco Crisp. David Ortiz then launched a double off the Monster to score Crisp. The crowd stirred. The immortal Wily Mo Pena singled.
Orioles closer Chris Ray was summoned. Remember him? Outings like this may have hastened his demise as Orioles closer: he walked J.D. Drew and then Youk with the bases loaded, bringing in Ortiz. 5-2. Jason Varitek then lined a double to right that Nick Markakis bobbled, scoring two runs to make it to 5-4. At this point, the remaining Fenway Faithful were losing their minds.
Julio Lugo, whose name I haven’t typed in a positive sentence my entire life, then chopped one to the right of O’s first baseman Kevin Millar. Millar’s toss clanked off Ray’s glove as the pitcher attempted to cover first, and Lugo was safe. Varitek and Hinske scampered home, and the Red Sox snatched a 6-5 victory from the jaws of a shutout.
The 2007 Sox were loaded with firepower. The comeback showed that, even without the aid of a home run, a little small ball and some tomfoolery on the behalf of the other team meant the Sox could win on any given day. And they did, racing off to their second World Series win in four years.
Happy Mother’s Day.