BOSTON – The Red Sox saved their best for last Sunday afternoon. A four-run eruption in the ninth inning gave them a 6-5 walk-off win over the Indians. It was the only lead the Sox had all day.
It was the Sox’ fourth walk-off win this season, just their second when trailing after eight innings, and 12th come-from-behind win. It was the first time they have scored four runs in an inning to win in a walk-off since overcoming a 5-0 deficit to win 6-5 against the Orioles on May 13, 2007.
Left-hander Felix Doubront started and gave up two runs in the first inning. He settled down, though, at one point retiring a string of 10 straight Indians batters, five on strikeouts.
Doubront was not involved in the decision. He went six innings, giving up four runs, two earned, on five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts and two home runs.
Craig Breslow, who pitched the final two innings, earned the win. He gave up one run on two hits, improving to 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA.
The Indians got to Doubront for two unearned runs in the first. Michael Bourn opened the game with a single and stole second and Jason Kipnis reached on a Jacoby Ellsbury error. After Asdrubal Cabrera struck out, Nick Swisher singled to load the bases. After Mark Reynolds struck out, Carlos Santana singled, scoring Bourn and Kipnis. But, Santana was thrown out trying to stretch a double.
The Red Sox got a run in the third when Stephen Drew led off with a ground-rule double, scoring on a two-out single by Daniel Nava, who was thrown out trying to stretch a double.
Solo home runs by Kipnis with two outs in the fifth, just beyond the Pesky Pole, and Swisher leading off the sixth extended Cleveland’s lead.
With one out in the second, Doubront allowed back-to-back walks to Cleveland’s Nos. 8 and 9 hitters, Mike Aviles and Drew Stubbs, Doubront then retired the next 10 batters – five on strikeouts – before Kipnis’ home run.
With Craig Breslow in for the eighth, Kipnis led off with a double to right-center, taking third on Cabrera’s single to center, and scoring on Swisher’s sacrifice fly, as Cabrera was caught off first base, giving the Indians a 5-1 lead.
The Sox added a run in the eighth when Drew led off with a triple, scoring on Jose Iglesias’ sacrifice fly.
Trailing by three the Red Sox sent eight batters to the plate in the ninth to face Chris Perez. Dustin Pedroia led off with a walk, followed by a David Ortiz double. Pedroia scored on Napoli’s ground out. With Saltalamacchia batting, Ortiz stole third base – for the second time in his career and second time in less than a week – and scored on Saltalamacchia’s groundout. After Gomes walked, Drew singled sending Gomes to third, and Drew stole second base. Iglesias walked, loading the bases for Ellsbury. But on a 2-and-1 pitch to Ellsbury, Perez was injured, bringing in Joe Smith.
Ellsbury needed just one pitch, slamming a double into center field, scoring the tying and winning runs.
Alex Wilson pitched a scoreless seventh, giving up one walk with a strikeout.
Perez (2-1, 4.32) took the loss, while Smith was charged with his first blown save.
The Sox won the season series against the Indians, 5-2.
STAR OF THE GAME: Jacoby Ellsbury
Ellsbury took the first pitch he saw from Joe Smith - entering the game as an injury replacement for Chris Perez, with two outs, the bases loaded, two runs already in, the Sox trailing by a run, with a 2-and-1 count - and drilled it into center field for a walk-off double.
It was Ellsbury's fourth career walk-off hit, and first since Sept. 11, 2012 (his birthday) against the Yankees. Three of his four walk-off hits have come against the Indians, including back-to-back games in 2011, a single on Aug. 2 and a home run – also off Smith – on Aug. 3.
Ellsbury has driven in the game-winning run in each of Boston’s last three walk-off wins against the Indians.
HONORABLE MENTION: Stephen Drew
Drew went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, a double, a triple and a stolen base – a home run shy of the cycle. He raised his average from .205 to .222, and scored the game-tying run on Ellsbury’s walk-off double.
Drew matched his season high in extra-base hits for the third time. The triple was his third of the season, all at Fenway Park. Since 1978, the only other Sox shortstop with at least three triples in a season is Nomar Garciaparra, who did it four times.
THE GOAT: Chris Perez
Given a three-run lead in the ninth, Perez entered for what could have been his seventh save of the season. Instead, he gave up four runs and the game, facing eight batters. Perez left with a shoulder injury, and a 2-and-1 count to Ellsbury. The situation Smith inherited from Perez could not have been more difficult for a reliever. Perez was charged with the loss, falling to 2-1 with a 4.32 ERA.
THE TURNING POINT
In his first three plate appearances, Iglesias was hit by a pitch, grounded out, and hit a sacrifice fly. In the ninth inning, he went to the plate with two outs, a runner on first and the Sox trailing by two runs. After being down 0-and-1 and then fouling off a couple of pitches, he worked a seven-pitch walk, to bring up Ellsbury. Ellsbury’s game-winning double scored two runs, with Iglesias as the game-winner.
BY THE NUMBERS
It was the 1st time the Sox have scored four runs in an inning to win in walk-off fashion since overcoming a 5-0 deficit to win 6-5 on May 13, 2007, against the Orioles, in a game that was known as the ‘Mother’s Day Miracle.’ It was the Sox fourth walk-off win this season, and their second win when trailing after eight innings (they are now 2-15 in such situations) and 12th come-from-behind victory.
QUOTE OF NOTE
“I’ve never really been in that situation. But I know him coming in, his mindset is to throw a strike and try to make it 2-2. I figured I’d be aggressive, if I got my pitch.” -- Jacoby Ellsbury, on his walk-off double, after a pitching change during his at-bat.