Red Sox 8, Orioles 7: Red Sox Walk Off On Adrian Gonzalez' Double

The Red Sox overcame a 6-0 deficit to walk off against the Orioles, 8-7.

With the Sox having spent the top end of their rotation against the Yankees, they turned to Daisuke Matsuzaka, hoping he could flourish against a less-impressive Orioles offense. The results were less than impressive. The very first pitch of the ballgame was shot back up the middle and into Daisuke's gut for a base hit. From there, it seemed more like Daisuke had been hit in the head, allowing three walks and a double to the O's to give them an early 2-0 lead. They made it 3-0 in the third on a pair of singles and yet another walk.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox offense was up to its old tricks, leaving the bases loaded in the first, and stranding two more runners in each of the fourth and fifth innings. So with Daisuke having allowed a couple more runs in the fifth (on, surprise of surprises, two more walks--he gave up seven in total) before being pulled for Scott Atchison, who gave up another in the sixth, the game seemed well and truly over. The Orioles had gotten five scoreless frames out of Chris Tillman, the Sox had given up six in six between Daisuke and Atchison. Just another disappointing Red Sox loss in a dissapointing Red Sox season.

Except that was when the Red Sox woke up. With Michael Gonzalez in to replace Tillman, J.D. Drew got them off on the right foot by singling to left, and then got them on the board when Jed Lowrie doubled him home. Carl Crawford seemed ready to break the momentum when he chopped a ground ball to third base, but Mark Reynolds fumbled the ball and everyone was safe. When Jason Varitek managed to line a 1-2 slider into right for a hit, it was clear something was happening.

The O's almost shut things down right then and there, though. Jacoby Ellsbury hit the ball hard, but Luke Scott reeled in the line drive to get the out, and when Jeremy Accardo relieved Gonzalez and got Pedroia to fly out to center, the Sox seemed ready to strand some more baserunners. Adrian Gonzalez was having none of it, shooting a single to left, and then scoring along with Jason Varitek when Kevin Youkilis doubled off the wall, bringing the Sox within one run.

The seventh inning proved a roller coaster ride. Alfredo Aceves took over on the mound, and quickly left a slider up in the zone to Mark Reynolds, who made him pay with a towering shot over the wall in center. The Red Sox responded in the bottom half of the inning after Jed Lowrie led the frame off with a triple, but the Sox stranded two runners when Adrian Gonzalez struck out swinging, and two more in the bottom of the eighth.

With Aceves managing to hold the Orioles at seven for the last three innings, though, the Sox still had a chance in the ninth. For a second, it seemed as though Jason Varitek was going to lead off the frame with a game-tying homer, but the ball died on the track, leading to out number one. 

That was the last out the Orioles would get. Jacoby Ellsbury took advantage of Kevin Gregg's typical wildness by drawing a five pitch walk, but Dustin Pedroia had to practically manufacture one, fouling off three pitches with two strikes to draw a nine-pitch walk on a ball in the dirt. Up stepped the one man the Sox would want at the plate: Adrian Gonzalez. Greggs wasn't going to risk giving up another walk, throwing a backdoor slider hooking into the strike zone low-and-away. That's the one place you don't want to throw a ball to Gonzalez. His opposite-field swing looked as effortless as usual, and sent the ball high off the wall. Ellsbury raced home to tie the game, and Pedroia came in behind him, well ahead of the throw to give the Red Sox the walkoff win.

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