The Red Sox don’t like having to come from behind in the ninth inning — or so they say.
Ninth-inning drama has become a common occurrence for this year’s Red Sox, and Boston once again rose to the occasion in the final frame in Wednesday’s game against Houston. Jonny Gomes homered in the seventh inning, and Stephen Drew then drilled a three-run homer in the ninth inning to cap a 7-5, come-from-behind victory.
In other words, it was just another day at the office for these Red Sox.
“Hopefully it continues and hopefully we don’t have the need to have so many comebacks,” manager John Farrell said. “But again, it just continues to build on what the spirit and the characteristic of this team is. It’s ‘never quit.’”
The Red Sox have now won seven of their last nine games, with a number of those victories, including the last two, coming in dramatic fashion. Boston needed to overcome a five-run deficit to take down Houston on Tuesday, and it needed to overcome a three-run deficit in the seventh inning to come out on top Wednesday.
The Red Sox actually jumped out in front, 2-0, Wednesday, but Robbie Grossman, who was a thorn in Boston’s side all series, tied the game at two apiece with his second home run in as many nights. The Astros then seized control with a three-run sixth, which came just minutes after the Red Sox squandered a bases-loaded opportunity in the top half of the inning.
Boston’s never-say-die attitude remained evident, though, as Gomes delivered a two-out, two-run homer in the seventh inning to chip away at the newfound deficit. Josh Zeid had gotten two quick outs in the seventh before Mike Carp singled and Gomes went yard.
The big blow of the night came in the ninth inning. After two excellent innings by Junichi Tazawa kept Boston’s deficit at one run, David Ortiz led off the ninth with his fourth hit and Gomes laid off a 3-2 curveball to earn a seven-pitch walk with one out. Drew then sent the second pitch he saw — a hanging curveball — into the right field seats for a go-ahead, three-run homer.
“Both Jonny and Stephen [had] timely hits. First Jonny with the two-run homer to bring us within one, and then obviously Stephen to put us ahead,” Farrell said. “You look at the overall performance on the year, you look at the numbers, but in key moments they’ve been big for us, and both guys [were big again] tonight. We needed once again every run. Credit Houston — they pushed us to the hills in this three-game series. I’m just proud of the way we continued to fight back and show a lot of character and a lot of grit.”
The character and grit have been there all season for the Red Sox, but the traits have really been at the forefront of Boston’s recent success. The Red Sox have come from behind in six of their seven wins since July 30, and they now have 27 come-from-behind wins overall.
“It’s nine innings. It might go more,” Drew said after Wednesday’s victory. “This team, we have a lot of fun, also come out and we play hard. Everybody knows their role, and that’s a great part to be at, because you come in every day and you know your role. It makes your job a lot easier.”
Things haven’t always been easy for the Red Sox, particularly in those first eight innings. But when push comes to shove toward the end of the game, the Sox just keep finding a way to get the job done, making for an entertaining display of resilience.
“Some teams and some guys kind of lack the late-inning mental focus that it takes,” Gomes said following Wednesday’s drama.
The Red Sox clearly are not one of those teams. In fact, they’re quite the opposite, as the later innings are when they look most comfortable.
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