The Rangers had already lost by the time the ninth inning of the Angels-Red Sox game rolled around on Wednesday night. Regardless of the outcome, Boston — at worst — would maintain its 5 1/2-game lead in the AL wild-card standings.
But that didn’t stop the Red Sox from pulling off a comeback of epic proportions.
Down 8-7 in the bottom of the ninth, David Ortiz got things started with a two-out walk. Then J.D. Drew got an infield single. Jed Lowrie ripped a grounder down the third-base line and reached when Chone Figgins made a great play just to knock it down. Then with the bases loaded, Nick Green walked on a full count to bring in the tying run.
And Alex Gonzalez, one of many maligned Boston shortstops of recent years, drove in the winning run with a blooper to left. Game over.
“Our lefties had real good at-bats against [Angels closer Brian] Fuentes,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said during Wednesday’s edition of Red Sox Extra Innings. “They didn’t give in and they gave us a chance. And we used everybody. … We were about out of players.”
As the Red Sox charge toward October — courtesy of convincing, feel-good wins over the Rays and now the Angels — they once again look like a team with character. They are getting production all through the order — even without their two heaviest hitters — and the pitching rotation seems to finally be getting its groove back. Meanwhile, the Angels look like a team that’s lost, confused, and — on the heels of this ninth-inning bullpen collapse — demoralized.
That can’t hurt the Red Sox’ mentality, considering their first-round playoff competition will likely be the Halos, barring a late-season collapse by the Yankees. Still, Francona insists that the win means little in terms of Boston’s playoff chances.
“We’re 140-something games into the season,” he said. “If we needed this for our confidence, we’re not quite where I think we are. But it was a really good win. As far as confidence goes, our guys did the job and played the game right.”
You can watch Francona’s full postgame news conference here: