It's easy to look at the box score from Sunday's Red Sox/Blue Jays tilt and assume that Shane Victorino did very little to contribute to the Boston victory. That would be incorrect, though: sure, he was 0-for-4 at the plate heading into the ninth, but he did what he needed to do on both ends of the ball in the game's final inning, allowing the Red Sox to come away with a win and the series victory over Toronto.
First, the top of the ninth. Red Sox closer Koji Uehara gave up a solo home run to Jose Bautista that blew the save and tied the game, but it very easily could have been a two-run blast that put the Jays ahead. Bautista didn't even get the opportunity for a go-ahead homer, though, thanks to Shane Victorino's excellent catch in right field at Fenway:
That would have been extra bases, easy, and that's even more apparent from the outfield camera, where you also see Victorino prepare for impact with the wall via slide:
Given Reyes' speed and the bounce that ball could have taken in Fenway's odd right field, Reyes could have easily been standing on third base -- not that this would have mattered for Bautista's homer, but even if circumstances changed and Bautista hits a sac fly, the game would have been tied up.
Victorino came up in the bottom of the ninth with Jonathan Diaz on second and Jacoby Ellsbury at first. Jays' closer Casey Janssen had been placed in the game to face Victorino, and at first, it looked like he got the job done, with Victorino grounding out to first. Except...
Josh Thole is a catcher forced to play first base thanks to Adam Lind's injury, and he looked like one there. The ball slowly rolled to right, and that gave Diaz enough time to round third and score on what could have been a double play ball that got the Jays out of the inning. Instead, the Red Sox erased Bautista's game-tying homer with a dribbler, and took the series.
It wasn't your typical dramatic finish, but that's okay: the Red Sox celebrated just the same, by taking Victorino's lunch money and stuffing him inside a locker:
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