For the second straight game* the Red Sox walked off over the White Sox, taking a 4-3 win on a big pinch-hit single from Mike Carp in the tenth inning.
While yesterday it was the Red Sox coming back from a late deficit, Thursday the shoe was on the other foot. At least for the second half of the game. For the first half...well, it looked very much like Wednesday all over again. Jon Lester was not nearly so vulnerable as Rubby De La Rosa, but he was good for a first-inning run with Jose Abreu smacking a double over Jonny Gomes' head and off the bottom of the Monster, scoring Adam Eaton from first as Gomes struggled to recover.
Meanwhile, Jose Quintana was doing his best to make Chris Sale look bad. Which is no easy feat. As we've seen so often dating back to the ALCS, frankly, the Red Sox were in some danger of letting the opposing pitcher make a bit of history. Quintana took a perfect game into the sixth inning, leaving Lester's best efforts looking pedestrian by comparison.
In reality, they were anything but. After the first inning run, Lester was downright ridiculous. The White Sox managed to produce some hits, but with Lester missing bat after bat after bat, they were unable to capitalize on any given baserunner. After seven innings of work, Lester had amassed 20 swinging strikes, half of them on a curveball that may have done more work tonight than any given pitch in any given start for a Red Sox pitcher this year. 20 of them led to 16 swings, 10 misses, and just one ball in play. All told, he left the game with twelve strikeouts, seven hits, no walks, and just the one run.
He also left with a lead. In the sixth, Quintana's perfect game went off the rails in a hurry. Back-to-back walks to Stephen Drew and David Ross brought Jackie Bradley to the plate with two on and no outs. While the Red Sox made the odd call to have Bradley attempt to bunt even with a 2-0 count, he thankfully failed to get it down, allowing him to hit a ground ball into right field for an RBI single, tying the game.
While the next two Red Sox batters grounded out, the attack was not over yet. Already having been robbed of extra bases earlier in the game, David Ortiz gave Chicago's outfielders no chance to keep him from getting to Quintana in the sixth, doubling off the left field wall to plate both Ross and Bradley, giving the Red Sox a 3-1 lead.
There was still one hurdle left to clear. After all, newly-dubbed Red Sox killer Conor Gillaspie hadn't had a chance to do his dirty work yet. That waited until the ninth. After replay overturned about the closest bang-bang call you'll see at first, giving Alexei Ramirez an infield single to start the inning, a pinch-hitting Gillaspie jumped out in front of the plate to meet a Koji Uehara Splitter, launching it into the seats in right field to tie the game.
The Red Sox could not get back on the scoreboard in the bottom of the ninth, and so we found ourselves in extra innings. Those, thankfully, did not last too long at all. Once again, Daniel Nava provided a key pinch-hitting appearance, drawing a walk to start off the tenth after Andrew Miller worked around a leadoff single in the top of the inning. The Red Sox, as the White Sox had, moved the runner along with a sacrifice bunt. Then the White Sox, as the Red Sox had, elected to intentionally walk the next batter.
The difference is that the Red Sox had intentionally walked Jose Dariel Abreu. The White Sox...the White Sox walked Stephen Drew, which would have brought David Ross to the plate had John Farrell not elected to pinch hit Mike Carp. And while it's been a long time since Carp provided us with big clutch hits, for the second straight night there was a little 2013 left in Fenway. Carp ripped a 2-2 fastball through the vacated left side of the infield, and while this time the throw to the plate was closer, Daniel Nava was still able to slide in safe under the tag, giving Boston a second straight walkoff victory.
*In which A.J. Pierzynski has not been a part of this team. Sorry, I still couldn't help it.