Papi sends Boston home a winner

Papi sends Boston home a winner
June 7, 2013, 12:30 pm
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Before last night, it had been nearly four years since David Ortiz’s last walk off homer (8/26/09: a solo shot off Tony Peña). Before last night, it had been nearly three years since Ortiz’s last walk off hit of any kind (7/31/10: a bases clearing double off Phil Coke). But after last night, that familiar feeling is back in Boston.

The bottom of the ninth inning started with the Sox and Rangers tied, 3-3. And when Johnny Gomes lead off double put the winning run in scoring position, with Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz up next, the Rangers manager made a bold decision: Intentionally walk Pedroia.

"If Ortiz beat us I could live with that,” Washington said later. “If Pedroia beat us I couldn't have lived with that."

The good news for old Ron is that he can feel free to go on living. The bad news is that Ortiz stepped into the box, turned on the first pitch he saw from reliever Michael Kirkman, and launched into the bullpen faster than you can say “Pete Incaviglia’s beard.”

“Were you motivated by the intentional walk?” Jenny Dell asked Ortiz after game. “Ohhh, you know Papi!” he screamed with a smile.

Yes. Yes we do.

The game-winning bomb was the 11th (regular season) walk off homer of Ortiz’s career, which leaves him only two shy of Jim Thome’s Major League record. But locally, it meant much more than that. It was a real time glimpse at one of the defining images from this era of Boston sports.

A David Ortiz walk-off.

A Tom Brady game-winning drive.

A Paul Pierce buzzer beater.

Three recurring concepts and events that will live on forever through this city’s history.

But last night, one of them was so perfectly present.

Thanks, Ron Washington!