The White Sox bullpen, however, could not hold a 1-run lead in the 9th, as lefty Matt Thornton entered the game and gave up a base hit to the first batter he faced, left-handed hitting Carl Crawford. Thornton was then able to get Dustin Pedroia to ground into a fielder’s choice to third baseman Eduardo Escobar which forced Crawford out at second, but he was unable to stop Adrian Gonzalez from singling to right field, putting runners on first and second with only one out in the 9th inning. Fenway Park was ready to explode with excitement, as White Sox manager Robin Ventura again went to his bullpen, bringing in closer Addison Reed.
To the plate stepped outfielder Cody Ross, who was coming off of a two-homerun game the night before. Ross had hit a ball to the warning track earlier in the game off of Quintana, narrowly missing the green monster due to the strong wind blowing in. Since then, the wind had died down and the ball was carrying better. On the 1-1 pitch, Ross did what he does best, crushing an inside fastball into the green monster seats, winning the game for Boston. After he made contact, Ross stopped for a moment to watch the ball leave the yard, flipped his bat in the style that has become familiar to Red Sox fans, and circled the bases en route to being mobbed at home plate by his teammates. With that, the Red Sox took 3 of 4 from the leaders of the AL Central, and are now only one game out of a wild card spot with the struggling Toronto Blue Jays headed to Boston for a 3 game weekend series.
Ross’ achievements over the past two games have come at the perfect time for Boston, as designated hitter David Ortiz was recently placed on the disabled list with an injury to his right Achilles tendon. Ortiz, the longest tenured member of the Red Sox, has been a power hitting force in Boston since 2003. With the man known as Big Papi out of the lineup for 2 weeks, the Red Sox will continue to need big games from players such as Ross to power their offense.
Lost in the mayhem of Ross’ walk-off homerun was the pitching of Clay Buchholz, who appears to have turned his season around after a difficult beginning. Buchholz went 8 innings, and allowed only 1 earned run while striking out 6. It was his second strong start in a row since the All-Star break, after a rough first half. If Buchholz can continue to pitch well for the remainder of the season, he could be a powerful weapon for Boston, as they attempt to make a run at a playoff spot.
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