The Red Sox won their seventh walk-off win in 2013 on June 30 against the Blue Jays (Julian Benbow/Globe photo)
On Sunday at Fenway Park, the Red Sox took advantage of an error to cap a 5-4 walk-off win over the Blue Jays and record their American League-leading 50th win of the season.
When Shane Victorino ripped a ground ball that bounced off Toronto first baseman Josh Thole’s mitt and allowed pinch-runner and recent call-up Jonathan Diaz to race home with the game-winning run, it also redeemed Koji Uehara, who blew the save when he surrendered a game-tying homer to Jose Bautista in the top of the ninth.
It was the seventh walk-off victory this season for the Sox. Elias Sports Bureau reports that it’s the first time since 1964 that Boston has recorded that many walkoff wins by the end of June.
Don’t look for many more comparisons to the ’64 edition of the Red Sox, however. That team finished eighth in the American League (72-90) under managers Johnny Pesky and Billy Herman.
Conversely, the 2013 Red Sox have hit the 50-win plateau before any other AL team for the first time since 2009. It’s also only the fourth time the Sox have recorded 50 wins by the end of June in team history (1946, 1978, 2008). They became only the second team in the majors this season to reach 50 wins. The Pittsburgh Pirates, who have won nine straight, beat the Red Sox to the half-century mark by one day.
Last year, the Red Sox only managed to win three games all season via the walkoff, and didn’t hit the 50-win mark until July 28. That was en route to winning only 69 games the entire season.
Here’s a look back at the Red Sox’s other six dramatic walk-off wins to date in 2013:
1. April 13, 2-1 win over Tampa Bay: After Jacoby Ellsbury singled, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Jose Lobaton in the bottom of the tenth, Victorino singled to short to drive home Ellsbury.
2. April 15, 3-2 win over Tampa Bay: Two days later the Sox handed the Rays another dramatic loss, this time in the bottom of the ninth when Mike Napoli doubled to left to drive in Dustin Pedroia.
3. May 6, 6-5 win over Minnesota: This time it was Stephen Drew who got to play the hero in the bottom of the eleventh with two out when he doubled to left to drive home Jarrod Saltalamacchia from second base.
4. May 26, 6-5 win over Cleveland: Down 5-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the Sox scored four runs to storm back and hand Terry Francona and the Indians a gut-wrenching loss. After Pedroia walked and David Ortiz doubled to start the inning, Napoli grounded out to score Pedroia. Ortiz then stole third and Saltalamacchia grounded out to bring him home. Jonny Gomes then walked, Drew singled and Jose Iglesias walked to load the bases. Cue Ellsbury, who ripped a double to center to score Gomes and Drew and cap the rally.
5. June 6, 6-3 win over Texas: After Gomes doubled and Pedroia was intentionally walked, Ortiz launched a walk-off homer deep to right.
6. June 18, 3-1 win over Tampa Bay: In the second half of a day-night doubleheader against the Rays, Joel Peralta allowed a walk to Daniel Nava and then served up a first-pitch fastball to Gomes, who promptly deposited it into the Green Monster seats to erase a blown save by Andrew Bailey and give the Sox their second win this season via the walk-off home run.