BOSTON - The Red Sox have been on a tear recently, posting an 8-2 record in their last 10 games and closing the gap in the American League East to just two and a half games behind the Tampa Bay Rays and seven games behind the New York Yankees. It's not an ideal situation, but right now the team seems to be playing with the most consistency they've had all season, and as Christian Vazquez said, "We’re playing like a team, you know, together. It’s like last year. We’re playing like a family here.”
While I don't normally write game recaps, Friday night's was definitely the team's best of the season so far, and featured the year's first walk-off home run for the Red Sox. (Rafael Devers, Mookie Betts, and Michael Chavis have recorded walk-off hits and walks, though.)
Going into the game, the Red Sox had a chip on their shoulder. Only Betts and J.D. Martinez advanced to the next stage of All-Star voting, leaving Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and Vazquez as major snubs. But the game didn't get off to a good start, as Chris Sale gave up a couple clutch hits and a home run for the Toronto Blue Jays to jump out to a 4-0 lead by the third inning. Boston got one back when Brock Holt sacrificed himself to plate Andrew Benintendi, but another RBI single in the seventh put Toronto back up by four.
Trailing 5-1 in the seventh, the Red Sox began to turn on the jets as Benintendi blooped a single to score Betts. Then, Bogaerts doubled home Benintendi and Martinez returned the favor with a single to score Bogaerts. Trailing just 5-4 after a series of triples, the Red Sox sent Devers in as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning after he had rested a pinched hamstring. Devers rose to the occasion by singling to right, scoring Jackie Bradley, Jr., and tying the game at 5-5.
Eventually, the game went to extra innings and the Boston bullpen, led by Brandon Workman, kept the Blue Jays in check for Vazquez to step to the plate in the tenth. With Marco Hernandez on the base paths, Vazquez launched a 403 foot home run past the bullpen at Fenway Park to give the Red Sox a 7-5 walk-off victory.
The game was a thrill and it showed that the Red Sox are still capable of acting like their 2018 selves with an epic come from behind win capped off with a stellar walk-off home run from the immensely clutch Vazquez. It was also a perfect encapsulation of why the team deserves better than the way they were treated by fans voting for the All-Star Game. Boston is now 42-35 and they will be finishing their series against Toronto this weekend.
Image via Flickr / Keith Allison