Salty’s Mad Dash: Ellsbury with the Walk Off Hit

BOSTON, MA - JULY 26: Jacoby Ellsbury #2 of the Boston Red Sox gets a hit as Matt Treanor #15 of the Kansas City Royals catches on July 26, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

 

Jarrod Saltalamacchia was sent in to pitch run for Jason Varitek in the ninth inning, given the Sox a slightly faster runner. Just Slightly. With the possibility to extra innings head, and Kevin Youkilis already tossed from the game*, the bench was already thin and it didn’t seem too significant.  Except, it would be Saltalamacchia staring at the windmill-ing arm of third base coach Tim Bogar on Jacoby Ellsbury’s single to center .Just like that our pinch-running catcher was in a race for the win.  

A good throw would have gotten him. A better bad throw might have gotten him, but they didn’t get him. Salty made an excellent slide to the back side of the plate and the throw went wide up the first base line. The teamed mobbed Ellsbury, who delivered his first ever walk off hit.

The game started over ninety minutes late, but the delay had no effect on the two starters. Josh Beckett was in very good form all night, going six innings without a walk and punching out seven. He had just six hits on the night as well. Unfortunately, the Indians continued to find the seats; Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall both homered off Beckett, providing the only two runs of the game for Cleveland.

David Huff also pitched well, going five and allowing just three hits and one run. That lone run came when David Ortiz scored on a bases loaded wild pitch. The pitch that allowed Ortiz to score got Jason Vartek swinging and Huff struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam. He was relieved early though and Kevin Youkilis took advantage, homering off replacement Rafael Perez to lead off the sixth. 

Both teams got strong relief efforts from that point on. Franklin Morales took the ball for Boston in the seventh and eight, showing excellent stuff. Papelbon took the top of ninth with the chance for the walk off win at hand. For Cleveland, Perez got help from Joe Smith and Tony Sipp to carry the tie into the bottom of the ninth. Vinnie Pestano got one out before allowing three straight singles leading to Salty’s mad dash. He takes the loss for Cleveland.

The dramatic win evens the series at 1-1 and gives the Sox a big lift ahead of Tim Wakefield’s second bid for 200 wins.

 

*Kevin Youkilis was tossed in the eighth after arguing a check swing call.

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