The Indians won the first eight innings, but the Red Sox won the ninth, mounting a furious rally to come back from a 5-2 deficit and walk off with a 6-5 win.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Felix Doubront combined to get the Sox off on the wrong foot in the first. Still lacking his old velocity, Doubront lived high in the zone (or well outside of it) early on, allowing a leadoff line drive to Michael Bourn, who quickly stole second. An inability to read a pop-up off the bat of Jason Kipnis made what should have been a routine play a difficult one for Ellsbury, and with Stephen Drew having run out to try and help his lost center fielder, the ball bounced out of Ellsbury's glove as he heard the shortstop's footsteps. Doubront would manage to pick up a pair of strikeouts around a single which loaded the bases, but couldn't pick up the third out before Carlos Santana singled to center to make it 2-0.
After managing to work around a pair of second-inning walks, Doubront was given one of the runs back courtesy of a Stephen Drew double and Daniel Nava single. The Indians didn't take too long to strike back, however, with Jason Kipnis hitting the shortest of home runs, just barely wrapping a line drive around Pesky's Pole for a fifth-inning solo shot. With Nick Swisher clearing the monster entirely in the sixth, the young southpaw left the game facing a 4-1 deficit.
When Nick Swisher hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth inning to make it 5-1, the game seemed all-but-lost. Finally, though, with Cory Kluber and his ten strikeouts out of the game, the Red Sox started hitting. It started without much in the way of momentum. Stephen Drew's eighth-inning triple ended up being the only hit in the frame, with Jose Iglesias knocking him in with a sacrifice fly. Still, the Sox trailed by three runs headed into the ninth.
And that's where the miracle happened. Or at least Chris Perez did. While Cleveland's closer had been good for a 2.25 ERA before Sunday, he had endured a couple of difficult outings against the Mariners, and let the Sox get off to a hot start, walking Dustin Pedroia and giving up a double to David Ortiz, bringing the tying run to the plate.
The next two at-bats wouldn't be quite so difficult, with Perez getting a pair of RBI ground outs (the second only scoring a run thanks to David Ortiz' second steal of third in the past week -- seriously). That final out, however, would never come. Jonny Gomes drew a walk, and Stephen Drew ripped a single into right field, leaving a tie game just 90 feet away. That left the game on the shoulders of Jose Iglesias. After fighting a lengthy battle against Perez, fouling off a ridiculous two-strike curveball down and out of the zone along the way, Iglesias managed to draw the walk to load the bases, bringing Jacoby Ellsbury to the plate.
The last at-bat of the game would take a while. With a 1-1 count, Perez threw ball two, and then grabbed at his right arm. Terry Francona came out of the dugout, and after trying one last warm-up pitch, Perez was pulled for Joe Smith. Smith's first pitch to Ellsbury was too high, and Ellsbury didn't miss it. Michael Bourn raced towards the Monster in left, but had no chance. Jonny Gomes came around to tie the game, and Stephen Drew made his way home to end it, leaving the Red Sox walkoff winners.
Read more Red Sox:
- Terry Francona, a roaring memory
- Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is quietly producing
- Who can the Red Sox call up if Shane Victorino is on the DL?
- Stephen Drew’s presence is key
- Daniel Nava strengthening Red Sox’ outfield’s present, and maybe future