|The Red Sox mob outfielder Daniel Nava on Thursday night at Fenway Park after recording their|
second walk-off win over Seattle in the space of 24 hours. (Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports)
Approach, all you fervent disciples of last-ditch deliverance, and kneel in reverence at the legend of the never-say-die, comeback kids of the Fens.
Or, as the great bard Dustin of Pedroia more eloquently and poetically put it:
#WalkOffCity #WalkOffCity sha la la la laaa la la laaaaa Walk off !
— Dustin Pedroia (@15Lasershow) August 2, 2013
Less than 24 hours after the Sox torpedoed the Seattle Mariners 5-4 in a five-hour, 15-inning odyssey that ended early Thursday morning, Boston staged another epic rally later that evening, scoring six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat Seattle 8-7 and sweep the three-game series.
Not only did the bounce-back win put the Sox at a season-high 22 games over .500 and give them a full-game edge over idle Tampa Bay in the American League East standings, it was Boston’s 11th walk-off win in 2013 — the most in the majors and the most for the Sox since 1978.
It was also the third win of the year for the Sox when trailing after eight innings and Boston’s 17th win in their final at-bat.
Need a further dose of significance?
It’s the first time that Boston won a game after trailing by five runs in the bottom of the ninth since the “Mother’s Day Miracle” of 2007, when the Sox scored six times in the final inning to defeat the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 at Fenway Park.
It’s also the first time the Sox won a game trailing by six runs as late as the eighth inning since July 3, 1940, when Boston rallied for a 12-11 win over the Philadelphia Athletics.
"In a word, magical," said Sox manager John Farrell after the game.
The walk-off win was storybook, full-circle absolution for outfielder Daniel Nava, especially.
Three nights earlier in a game against Tampa Bay, a baserunning gaffe by Nava — who came into the game in the eighth inning as a pinch-runner for catcher Ryan Lavarnway — cost Boston a pivotal shot to tie the score.
One play later, Nava was — albeit, mistakenly — called out at home to kill the possible rally.
Thursday night, Nava sparked the comeback by drawing a four-pitch walk from reliever Tom Wilhelmsen. Eight batters later, he went from zero to hero on the first pitch he saw from righthander Yoervis Medina, stroking a single to center to drive in Pedroia for the win.
“Is it magical? It’s a lot of fun. Is it magical? I’ll leave that up to you to decide,” Nava said. “I don’t think anyone saw that happening tonight.”
Well, maybe not twice in one night, anyway.
Nava's RBI, which was his first in only four starts since the All-Star break, was big, but perhaps the biggest factor in the win was that it was, all cliché aside, a true team effort, in the space of a single half-inning: the Nava walk. A Brock Holt RBI double. A walk to Jacoby Ellsbury. A Shane Victorino single that scored a pair. A Dustin Pedroia RBI single. A single by Jonny Gomes to tie it up. And then, Nava, once again, for the walk-off win.
That’s not to mention knuckleballer Steven Wright, who threw three scoreless frames of relief and got the win only hours after being recalled from AAA Pawtucket.
For both Boston and Seattle, there are glass-half-full and glass-half-empty ways of looking at the two walk-off wins in 24 hours, and they both can best be expressed through the sage teachings of Professor Lawrence Peter Berra, esteemed chair of the Baseball Philosophy Department.
For Boston, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.
For Seattle, it feels like déjà vu all over again.
Twitter: @jan_doh Jan-Christian Sorensen 8/02/2013 06:00:00 AM Tweet