Four Real? Walk Off Hero! Red Sox vs Padres 7-3-13

Pete Lepak
RedSoxLife Staff Writer

Game 86
Boston, Ma-  By name, a Jon Lester versus Edinson Volquez matchup would be a game I wouldn't want to miss. This year, however, it might be ok to change the channel. Lester (4.61 ERA)  and Volquez (5.88 ERA)  have struggled in the first half of the 2013 season, but both brought their vintage stuff to pitch quality starts and leave the game to be decided by the bullpen. The starters combined for 11 strikeouts and only gave up one run each. When it was all done, it took a pinch hit walkoff for settle the game. Here are the four at bats that changed the game:

1) Early Score by the Visitors? The Red Sox have been scoring at will in the first couple of innings this Summer, but tonight, it was the Padres who took their early cuts. After recording two quick outs, Lester gives up three consecutive singles to Carlos Quentin, Chase Headley and Kyle Blanks to give the Padres a 1-0 lead. While Quentin's hit was a little squib down the third base line, batters had no problem making contact with Lester's pitches all inning, as he threw 32 total pitches and was lucky to leave with only one run given up.

2) Runs at a Premium. With both starters getting into a groove, runs were not going to be scored in bunches. Boston manages to tie the game off of two hits in the fourth inning, as Mike Carp swings at the first pitch of the inning and singles to right field. Jarrod Saltalamacchia follows with a double off the Green Monster to plate Carp and tie the game. The Red Sox could not advance Salty though, as the next three men were all retired.

3) Bullpen bigtime. Lester leaves the game after seven strong innings, and Junichi Tazawa enters the eighth with the game on the ropes. Tazawa rises to the occasion by striking out the side, three up, three down, to keep the game well within reach.

4) Ga Ga Gomes! Bottom of the ninth inning, and Jonny Gomes steps up as a pinch hitter for Brandon Synder. On a 2-2 Luke Gregerson pitch, Gomes goes "all-in" on a slider that he could handle and swings for the fences. He makes contact and drives the ball into the first row of the Green Monster seats for a walkoff win. 2-1 Sox win! Last walkoff, Gomes punted his helmet. Tonight? He pretends his helmet is a football and he is a running back and Gomes runs it home for the win.

The win is the 8th walkoff win for Boston this season. They only had three all of last season. It's also the 13th game decided in their last at bat and their 17th come from behind win this year. It's safe to say the Red Sox have brought the magic back to Massachusetts.

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