The Red Sox continue to find ways to win – even if it isn’t pretty.
What looked like a sure win took a turn for the absolute worst in the seventh inning, when Boston’s 7-2 lead evaporated and the Yankees took an 8-7 lead into the eighth. But late-game heroics by Boston allowed them to tie things up and then win in the 10th inning, 9-8.
Boston was down to its last out in the ninth when Mike Napoli singled to right field. New Red Sox Quintin Berry pinch ran for Napoli – and the decision paid off. On the first pitch from Mariano Rivera to Stephen Drew, Berry was off. Not only was he safe at second base, but the ball skipped to left-center field, and Berry made a successful dash to third base. Drew would come through with the game-tying single moments later, and like they’ve done all year, the Red Sox came back.
Shane Victorino would single in Jacoby Ellsbury in the 10th inning for the game’s final run.
Boston did most of its damage in the fifth inning, when they stretched a 3-2 lead to 7-2. Victorino homered to lead off the inning, and Mike Napoli and Ryan Lavarnway added to the score with the bases loaded later that inning.
But the Yankees weren’t dead. In the 7th inning they rattled off six runs, knocking Jake Peavy (6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO) out of the game. Matt Thornton and Junichi Tazawa couldn’t get the job done, as Thornton allowed both his inherited runners to score, and Tazawa allowed the rest.
Still, the Sox prevailed in the end.
What they’ll be saying: What more can you say about this Red Sox team? Just when you think they’ve choked a win away and given the opponent momentum that could haunt them the rest of the series – or worse, later in the season – they come back like they’ve done so many times this year and win.
What’s even better is that it came against the Yankees, a team trying to make a last-ditch effort at the Wild Card.
The Red Sox bullpen – Matt Thornton and Junichi Tazawa particularly – failed them Thursday night. But despite the bullpen’s choke job, Boston somehow prevailed, and Koji Uehara did what he does best – close the game out. He remains one of the team’s real MVP’s of the season.
But it hasn’t been about one or two guys for the Sox. It seems like every game somebody is stepping up, and that’s what a team with World Series aspirations needs.