Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
It was a raw, grey Easter Sunday across New England. While families throughout the region huddled around the table for Easter dinner, a sellout crowd packed Fenway Park for an afternoon tilt. The mercury in the thermometer barely pushed past 40 as the Boston Red Sox battled the Toronto Blue Jays for 12 innings. And, as he has so many times since, David Ortiz lifted a majestic fly through the cold to send the fans home happy.
As would be the case throughout much of the watershed 2004 season, shortstop Nomar Garciaparra and right fielder Trot Nixon were stapled to the Boston bench with injuries. Hired gun Curt Schilling made the second start of his Red Sox career with a bulldog-like eight innings on 116 pitches, sending 10 Blue Jay batters to the dugout in disgust by way of the K. But he left an 0-2, two-out splitter up to Josh Phelps in the sixth and Eric Hinske clobbered a home run to give the Torontonians a 4-2 lead.
The Sox clawed back with Blue Jays starter Miguel Batista out of the game. Kevin Millar rapped an eighth inning RBI single off Justin Speier, but the righty rebounded with punchouts of Jason Varitek and Gabe Kapler to leave the bases loaded.
The immortal Cesar Crespo knocked a double off Kerry Ligtenberg to lead off the ninth. Mark Bellhorn drove him in to tie the game and the Sox were back in business. After a few more frigid frames, Bill Mueller walked to lead off the 12th and Ortiz feasted on an Aquilino Lopez offering to put it in the books. Fenway went crazy and the BoSox had their first comeback win of the magical 2004 campaign.
Mark Malaska got the win in relief. Ten years gone, indeed.