Tomase: There's only one word to describe what Red Sox just did and it's magic

John Tomase
August 06, 2018 - 1:17 am
Red Sox celebrate walkoff win

Paul Rutherford/USA Today Sports

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What the Red Sox did to the Yankees this weekend felt paranormal, like the work of a gypsy, genie, or monkey's paw. It felt like fan fiction. It felt like nothing we have ever witnessed in the regular season.

For close to 100 years, this is what New York did to Boston. The Red Sox would enter a pivotal series with hope and the Yankees would extinguish it.

But times have changed and these Red Sox have made it clear that they're out to make history and erase history. On Sunday night, the best team in baseball did it again.

If there's a bigger Red Sox sweep in the long and storied history between these rivals, it's not springing to mind (2004 remains separate and unique). Down 4-1 in the ninth inning against untouchable Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, the Red Sox scored three runs, tying the game on a two-out error.

They then walked it off in the 10th on a seeing-eye single by Yankee killer Andrew Benintendi, unleashing bedlam in a ballpark full of fans who probably would've been satisfied taking three out of four.

Instead the Red Sox made it a clean four-game sweep with the pulsating 5-4 victory, doing unto the Yankees as the Yankees had done unto them countless times over the years, be it the Boston Massacre in 1978 or the devastating five-game Fenway sweep that effectively ended Boston's 2006 season.

"We know who we are," said outfielder Mookie Betts. "We know what we can do. We just went out and showed it. At no point did we think we were going to lose. The whole time coming in, if we can keep it close, we can come back and make something happen. We don't ever give up."

The Red Sox began the series leading the AL East by 5 1/2 games. They end it with a 9 1/2-game bulge that feels insurmountable, since at their current rate, they might not lose 10 games the rest of the season.

Their 79-34 record is the best in franchise history at this point and leaves them on pace for 113 wins. They're 23-5 since losing two of three in New York at the start of July, with each victory seemingly more thrilling and improbable than the last.

That said, even the greatest teams post an L every once in a while, and Sunday looked like the night. An error by Xander Bogaerts and a lack of command from reliever Heath Hembree wasted an outstanding start from David Price, who was in line to take the loss when Chapman stomped to the mound in the ninth with only one blown save in 30 chances.

The Red Sox have overcome a lot this year, but a three-run deficit against the flame-throwing left-hander? A bridge too far.

Except these are the Red Sox and they have forgotten how to lose. Three walks loaded the bases with two outs for J.D. Martinez, who ripped a two-run single to left-center. The game still appeared over when Bogaerts grounded sharply to third baseman Miguel Andujar behind the bag. But Bogaerts hustled up the line and Andujar ever so slightly rushed a flat-footed throw across the diamond that first baseman Greg Bird could not handle on the short hop.

Jackie Bradley raced home from second, Fenway Park exploded, and the Red Sox were very much alive.

A 1-2-3 inning from setup man Matt Barnes set the stage for the bottom of the 10th vs. Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder, who would love to forget this series ever happened. After allowing seven runs without recording an out in Monday's 15-7 loss, Holder retired the first two batters before a Sandy Leon single and a wild pitch put the winning run on second.

Pinch runner Tony Renda replaced Leon and Holder intentionally walked Mookie Betts (who had homered earlier) before Benintendi bounced a single through a gaping hole at second base.

Renda dove headfirst into the plate with the winning run and the Red Sox had pulled off another ludicrous victory, maybe the craziest of all.

Whatever the cause of their magic, this much is certain: it's real, and it's stupefying. We can hardly wait to see what comes next.

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