Winslow Townson/Associated Press
Nine innings weren’t enough for the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.
Neither were 10, 11, 12 or 13 for that matter.
Boston defeated its American League East rival in a 19-inning marathon, 3-2, after Hanley Ramirez’s single scored Mookie Betts in walk-off fashion at Fenway Park. Jon Tayler of Sports Illustrated noted it was the first game of the 2017 season to feature 19 innings.
19 innings was ENOUGH.
@HanleyRamirez sends @RedSox home victorious! #Walkoff https://t.co/DO91G2UGiG
Ramirez played a critical role in forcing extra innings in the first place when his RBI groundout in the bottom of the ninth made it 2-1. Mitch Moreland then tied the game with an RBI groundout of his own, setting the stage for one of the most memorable contests of the season.
The Red Sox shared Ramirez’s comments after his winning hit:
Red Sox @RedSox
“We fight and we don’t give up.” – @HanleyRamirez (tonight’s hero)
FINAL: #RedSox 3, Blue Jays 2 https://t.co/d7l7h9nGlB
While Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez allowed both of Toronto’s runs on a sacrifice fly from Teoscar Hernandez and a home run from Kendrys Morales, the Sox’s bullpen was brilliant. Joe Kelly, Addison Reed, Craig Kimbrel, Brandon Workman, Austin Maddox, Heath Hembree, Robby Scott, Blaine Boyer, Fernando Abad, Carson Smith and Hector Velazquez combined for 13 scoreless innings in relief.
Joe Sheehan of Sports Illustrated put the performance into historical perspective:
Joe Sheehan @joe_sheehan
The #RedSox used 12 pitchers tonight. As recently as 1983, they used 12 pitchers all season.
Tuesday was shaping into a problematic day in the division standings for the Red Sox when they fell behind 2-0 entering the ninth inning and the archrival New York Yankees held a one-run lead in the ninth of their contest against the Baltimore Orioles. However, Manny Machado drilled a walk-off home run in Baltimore, and Boston then completed its comeback and dramatic win.
The Red Sox are now 3.5 games ahead in the AL East heading into the stretch run after what could shape up to be one of the most important single days in the division race.