For the second straight night, Jacoby Ellsbury carried the Red Sox to a walk-off victory, slamming his 18th home run of the season into the stands in straight-away center to break a 3-3 tie with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Wednesday night would not prove to be the night that Tim Wakefield picked up win number 200 despite pitching a solid 6.2 innings. Having been staked to a 2-0 lead in the first thanks to, Wakefield retired the first eight batters he faced, with Lou Marson only reaching on an error from Marco Scutaro. But the Indians’ offense started picking up the second time through. Jason Kipnis continued to feast on Red Sox pitching, leading off the fourth inning with a home run (he now has a homer in each of his last four games) and, a couple of ground ball hits later, the game was tied.
The tie did not last long. While the Sox couldn’t break the game open after loading the bases with one out, Marco Scutaro ran out his ground ball well enough to avoid the double play, bringing David Ortiz in the back door.
After escaping the sixth inning with the 3-2 lead intact, many thought that Tim Wakefield’s night might be done. He’s struggled past 75 pitches, and with Matt Albers, Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon all being well-rested of late, the path ahead seemed clear. Instead, Terry Francona left Wakefield out, and let the lead get away. Lonnie Chisenhall led off the frame with a double, and then, with two outs on the board, scored when Wakefield couldn’t retire Lou Marson.
Randy Williams and Jonathan Papelbon managed to hold the tie for the next two innings, giving the Red Sox the chance to end things in the ninth. Francona’s decision to pinch hit for Josh Reddick was quickly undone by a pitching change from Tony Acta, leaving Darnell McDonald and Marco Scutaro easy outs. But Jacoby Ellsbury still had some magic left after his walk-off on Tuesday. Joe Smith got ahead 0-1 with a slider that caught the outside edge, but his next pitch caught just enough of the plate. Ellsbury leaned out just a bit, swung hard, and launched the ball well over Ezequiel Carrera’s head and into the stands in dead-away center for the walk-off shot.