BOSTON -- In a game that began on Wednesday evening and ended on Thursday morning -- and started with the Red Sox in second place and finished with them in first -- the Sox defeated the Seattle Mariners, 5-4, in 15 innings on a wild night at Fenway Park.
"Anytime you win a game like this in extra innings, it seems like two [wins]," said manager John Farrell.
Stephen Drew singled down the right-field line with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 15th, driving in Dustin Pedroia with the winning run. Drake Britton, the sixth Boston pitcher of the night, got credit for the victory, his first in the major leagues, after tossing two scoreless innings.
It was the 10th walkoff win for the Red Sox this season. But it could have come sooner. A lot sooner.
The Sox loaded the bases twice in the first inning but, thanks mainly to a David Ortiz double-play grounder, didn't score. They failed to hold leads of 2-1 after five innings and 4-3 after seven. And they had a golden chance to win the game in the bottom of the 14th when Brandon Snyder led off with a pinch-hit double and went to third on a sacrifice bunt. But Seattle center fielder Michael Saunders gunned down Snyder at the plate on after a fly ball to center by Shane Victorino, resulting in an inning-ending double play.
"A win in nine innings," said left fielder Jonny Gomes, who contributed to the wackiness with a rare unassisted double play by an outfielder in the top of the 15th, "would have been just as good."
The Sox had surged ahead in the bottom of the seventh when, following a leadoff single by Victorino, Pedroia launched a two-run homer over everything in left, his second homer in as many nights. But after retiring Nick Franklin on one pitch in the top of the eighth, Junichi Tazawa yielded a game-tying homer to Kyle Seager. That not only cost the Red Sox the lead, but it also cost starter John Lackey a chance for his eighth win.
The Mariners had stitched together three of the seven hits allowed by Lackey in the sixth inning to score twice and grab a 3-2 lead. A sacrifice fly by Kendrys Morales and a run-scoring single from ageless Raul Ibanez accounted for the two runs.
Seattle had gift-wrapped two runs for the Sox in the fifth, with errors by Dustin Ackley -- who dropped a liner that he intially gloved -- and Franklin -- who bobbled a routine grounder at second base.
STAR OF THE GAME: Stephen Drew
After a single in his first at-bat, way back in the second inning, the Red Sox shortstop was hitless in five straight plate appearances, but came through when it mattered most -- in the bottom of the 15th, with the bases loaded -- lining a single just inside the right-field foul line, scoring Dustin Pedroia with the winning run.
HONORABLE MENTION: Drake Britton
Britton tossed two shutout innings -- the 14th and 15th -- to make himself the winning pitcher. The win was his first in the big leagues and extended his scoreless streak to eight innings in his first six appearances in the majors.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Lucas Luetge
The Mariners' reliever took the loss, and he had himself to blame: He walked four in his 2 2/3 innings of work, including two in the 15th, helping to set up Drew's winner.
TURNING POINT: The Sox looked to have the game won in the bottom of the 14th when Victorino lofted a fly ball to medium center. Snyder, on third base, attempted to blast the ball free from catcher Humberto Quintero and failed, getting tagged out.
BY THE NUMBERS: When Snyder was thrown out in the bottom of the 14th, it marked the 21st out of the season at home plate for the Red Sox. Before Wednesday, no other American League team had more than 14.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "Anytime you win a game like this in extra innings, it seems like two [wins]. Being on the other side of it, a loss after 15 can have a little bit more of an effect.'' -- John Farrell on the late-inning drama.