I officially have a boner for this team. I am excited, eager, a little sweaty, and generally pumped about this team.
They weren't supposed to win this game. Ryan Dempster vs. Felix Hernandez. Down 5 runs in the 9th. And I was fine with that. The Sox won the 15 inning game the night/morning before, and losing to Hernandez is completely excusable. We had all printed a pass for the Sox when and if they lost this game.
The Sox were not fine with accepting that pass. They took advantage of a bizarre 9th inning which saw an opposing manager use the wrong arm to signal a pitcher, and a very hitter-friendly strike zone from home plate umpire David Rackley. Perhaps that was karma from the blown call at home plate against Tampa Bay on Monday.
And not only did the Sox win, they won in 9. They didn't get involved in another draining extra inning game. They finished it in 9 and preserved their energy for Arizona this weekend.
Once Hernandez left the game, with a comfortable 6 run lead, Shane Victorino hit a homerun. It didn't seem to mean much at the time. It would wind up meaning quite a bit.
Daniel Nava started off the 9th with a walk. Lavarnway singled, Holt doubled, Nava scored. Then Ellsbury walked. Mariners interim manager Robby Thompson wanted a righty to face Victorino and Pedroia. But on his way to the mound he tapped his left hand. The umpires caught this and forced the Mariners to put a lefty in. Victorino singled to knock in 2, Pedroia singled to make it a 7-6 game. Ortiz struck out against the lefty, then Thompson finally got to put in the righty he initially wanted. Gomes singled to tie the game, Drew walked, and Nava finished the inning he started with a fly-ball to deep center. Once it left his bat there was no doubt the game was over.
From 7-2 down to 8-7 up in 1 inning. Simply magical.
The Sox continue to do well at home. They're 22 games above .500 overall, 17 of those games are at Fenway (37-20 record).
The Sox start a 3-game series with Arizona tonight. Lester faces 23-year old righty Randall Delgado. This is a chance for Lester to be Ace-like, or semi-Ace-like, and continue the momentum the Sox have built this week. Or it's his chancy to be Lester the mope, and ruin everything.
Jim Rogash/Getty Images