BOSTON — There will probably be some weary Red Sox fans at work Thursday morning.
One night after many Red Sox fans stayed up late to watch the Jake Peavy deal unfold, they were given another reason to put off sleep. The Red Sox and Mariners went toe-to-toe for 15 innings at Fenway Park before Stephen Drew’s two-out RBI single gave Boston a 5-4 walk-off win early Thursday morning.
The Red Sox now have a major league-leading 10 walk-off wins this season, which is their most in a season since 1996. Boston is two walk-off victories shy of matching its highest total since 1950 (12 in 1961), and given the club’s flair for the dramatic, it’d be surprising if it doesn’t reach that mark.
“We somehow find some energy late in the game,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “It’s been many different guys that have been the reason for the walk-off, but I can tell you that the conversation each time we’re at the plate in the extra innings, we’re looking for something to draw energy from to make one last push and we were able to do that again here tonight.”
Wednesday’s victory — which technically came Thursday morning — ended with Drew ripping a single just fair down the right field line with the bases loaded. The walk-off hit was the fourth of Drew’s career and his second this season. Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli (intentionally) and Jonny Gomes all walked to set the table in the 15th inning.
The most important part of Wednesday’s game — which was Boston’s longest since a 17-inning contest on May 6, 2012 — was that the Red Sox reclaimed first place with the win. They’re now a half game ahead of the Rays in the AL East, and they’re also a season-high-tying 21 games above .500 at 65-44. The triumph wasn’t without some interesting moments, though, which is pretty much in line with the rest of Boston’s intriguing season.
The Red Sox grabbed a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning when Pedroia smoked a two-run homer over everything in left field, but Kyle Seager, who batted .396 (38-for-96) in July, tied the game in the eighth with a solo home run over the Boston bullpen.
The game stayed tied at 4-4 until the 15th inning, largely because of some excellent defensive plays. Jacoby Ellsbury made a sliding grab on a sinking line drive in left-center field in the 13th inning, Michael Saunders threw out Brandon Snyder at the plate in the 14th inning and Jonny Gomes turned a rare unassisted double play after making a diving grab in the top of the 15th. Eventually, the Red Sox were able to push across a run, and they used their trademark, grind-it-out offensive approach to get it done.
It took five hours and three minutes for the Red Sox to earn the victory, and it seemed even longer given that it came hours after the all-important, non-waiver trade deadline. But the end result was worth staying up late for if you’re a Red Sox fan, even if a couple of extra coffees might factor into the equation Thursday morning.