Sox are getting used to this walk-off thing

Sox are getting used to this walk-off thing
August 2, 2013, 12:45 am
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BOSTON – The Red Sox began Thursday with a 15-inning walk-off victory in the wee hours over the Mariners at Fenway Park. They ended it with another walk-off win over the Mariners, their second of the day and 11th of the season.
 
“In a word: Magical,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell of his team’s 8-7 victory.
 
The Sox trailed 7-2 entering the ninth.  Then 10 batters went to the plate, with Daniel Nava the last. With one out and the bases loaded, Nava connected on the first pitch he saw from Yoervis Medina, the Mariners third pitcher of the inning, and belted it over the head of center fielder  Michael Saunders, scoring Dustin Pedroia with the winning run.
 
Overcoming a five-run deficit marks the Sox largest of the season. They entered the game with a record of 2-35 when trailing entering the eighth inning.
 
This was the first time the Sox have scored five runs in an inning to win in a walk-off since coming back from a 5-0 deficit to win 6-5 against the Orioles on May 13, 2007 at Fenway.  It was the first time they sent 10 batters to the plate in a walk-off win since that game.
 
The Sox lead the majors with 11 walk-off wins, the most the Sox have recorded in a season since 1978, when they also had 11. The last time they had more was in 1961, with 12. They are two shy of the team record of 13 walk-offs in a season, in 1940, according to Elias.
 
“I don’t think we shocked anyone to tell you the truth. We’ve done it a whole bunch,” said Gomes. “It’s kind of par for the course with what we’ve been doing this year.”
 
The reason for so many walk-offs?
 
“We’ve been behind in the ninth,” Gomes said. “That’s the only reason.”
 
This is the first time they’ve won consecutive games in a walk-off fashion since Aug. 2-3 2011 against the Indians.
 
“We don’t quit. Ever,” Farrell said. “It might be easy thinking that 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 – that one would be this year.”
 
Seattle ace Felix Hernandez left the game after seven innings, with his team leading by six runs.  In the eighth, Shane Victorino led off with a home run off Charlie Furbish. Victorino would score the tying run in the ninth.
 
“It’s fun,” Victorino said. “The smile says it all, for me, what tonight’s victory was all about. You just got to keep playing – play 27 outs … I don’t want to use the word ‘magical’ myself, I’ll let the skip use it. But for me I think it’s just one of those things you just got to keep playing. These are all games that you’re going to look back on at the end of the season, whether you’re there or you’re not. Wins like this, we keep winning games like this we’re going to someplace that we want to be, obviously.”
 
Ryan Dempster, who would have taken the loss, was the beneficiary of his offense. Rookie Steven Wright, who pitched three innings of scoreless relief, got the victory.
 
 
“It’s just been amazing and it seems like a different guy every night,” Dempster said.
 
“First you see a couple hits, and they got their closer out there so you don’t think too much of it. Then all of a sudden you get the tying run on base and you’re thinking about a way to tie it up. And it just kept coming. It didn’t stop. I think the biggest at-bat was Vic’s there, getting that base hit, putting the tying run on base.”
 
 
Jonny Gomes entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Mike Carp in the eighth, drawing a walk.  He would play a key role in the comeback – first defensively, with another highlight reel play, snaring Endy Chavez’s fly ball to left, smacking into the walk, with a backward somersault on the carom, to end the inning.
 
In the ninth, the first six Sox batters reached safely before the Mariners could get an out. Nava opened the ninth with a walk off closer Tom Wilhelmsen.  Ryan Lavarnway singled, and Brock Holt doubled, scoring two runs. Jacoby Ellsbury walked.
 
Mariners bench coach and acting manager Robby Thompson (manager Eric Wedge is recovering from a minor stroke) called for a pitching change. But instead of putting his right arm up to signal for Medina, his left arm went up. Although, Medina, whom Thompson wanted to face Victorino hitting left-handed, began the jog from the dugout, home plate umpire David Rackley enforced Thompson’s left-arm signal, requiring left-hander Oliver Perez to enter the game.
 
Victorino, batting right-handed, greeted Perez with a single to right, scoring two runs. Pedroia singled, scoring another run, before David Ortiz struck out.
 
At that point, Thompson brought Medina into the game. The Mariners would not get another out.
 
After two called strikes, Gomes worked the count to 3-and-2, and drove the seventh pitch of the at-bat into center field, scoring Victorino to tie the game.  Stephen Drew was quickly down 0-and-2 before working a six-pitch walk to load the bases for Nava.
 
Nava, the 10th batter of the inning, drove the first pitch he saw, delivering the Sox 8-7 win.  It was the first walk-off RBI of his career.
 
“It’s a lot of fun,” Nava said. “Is it magical? I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to you to decide. But it’s a lot of fun. I don’t think anyone saw that happening tonight.”
 
Least of all the Mariners.