Jason Varitek crosses the plate, tying the score 5-5 in this dramatization.
Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe.
The Red Sox celebrate after Julio Lugo reaches 1B on a throwing error, scoring 2.
Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe.
May 13th, 2007
Bottom of the 9th, one out, and the Red Sox were down 5-0 to the Baltimore Orioles.
Beckett had given up 2 runs (both earned) while striking out 7 in only 4.0 innings. Kyle Snyder gave up an unearned run in the 5th, and Joel Piniero coughed up another two earned runs in 1.2 IP. Remember Joel? No? I can't say I blame you.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Guthrie had nearly gone the distance, beguiling the Red Sox lineup over 8.1 shutout innings with only 2 Ks and 2 BBs. TV sets across New England were being turned off and some people were leaving the park as fans gave up the ghost.
But this is why we watch baseball.
After a weak, Julio Lugo ground-out to short Coco "Trade Bait" Crisp managed to reach 1B on a throwing error by Ramon Hernandez. Danny Baez came to Guthrie's relief and Big Papi promptly doubled to deeep center field on the 2nd pitch, scoring Crisp. Whiffy Mo Pena somehow managed to hit a single to left. Moving Ortiz to 3B.
Enter the formidable closer, Chris Ray.
J.D. Drew finagled a walk without taking his bat off his shoulder. The Greek (Jewish) God of Walks followed with a walk of his own, once again without a swing, forcing home Ortiz. 5-2 Orioles.
Momentum was building for the Red Sox. Chris Ray had just unintentionally walked two without so much as a swinging strike. El Capitan came to the plate, and watched another ball. Chris Ray must have been going out of his head. 'Tek, being the savvy veteran he is, was probably looking for a big, Italian meat ball at this point. 'Tek tapped his spikes twice with his bat and then doubled to right-center, scoring Whiffy Mo and J.D. Drew. 5-4 Orioles.
Watching the game from my couch, I knew the Red Sox had the Orioles on the ropes. Baltimore had their closer in the game and Ray would have had better luck buying a vowel than a strike. But baseball is a capricious sport and punishes hubris like the Greek gods of old. The rally cap stayed put. Fingers stayed crossed. The Sox still needed at least another run to tie the game. It was still bottom of the 9th, one out.
Chris Ray, still in the game, intentionally walked Eric Hinske with 1B open. Hinske wasn't much of a hitter in '07, but this was still the smart move; put the force-out into effect with slow runners aboard. With the bases loaded Alex Cora came to bat and hit into a fielder's choice. Youkilis was out at home in a very close, sliding play.
Much shouting at the TV.
Julio Lugo walked to the plate, the Red Sox having hit through the lineup in the 9th.
Were the Red Sox going to still lose after a tremendous rally? Would all of the mothers celebrating at Fenway Park be forced to go home despondent?
Lugo reached 1B on a throwing error by Ray, and both 'Tek and Hinske scored (think about how long it'd take Hinske to get home from 2B). Chris Ray was being punished. For what we'll never know, but it must have been bad. I jest, but this game was where Ray began to unravel due to injury. He was eventually shut down and required Tommy John surgery.
In one of the top, all-time comebacks I've seen, the Red Sox wrested victory from the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 in what was dubbed the "Mother's Day Miracle."
To give you a sense of how remarkable the comeback was, take a look at the Fangraph below.
Graph courtesy of fangraphs.com
Where does this moment fall on your Top 10 list?
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