Game 108 // Ninth Inning, Boston // Christian the Redeemer

TOP OF THE NINTH: RED SOX 9 – (8) 10 INDIANS

 

 This last inning at Fenway, grand finale to the Austin Jackson Catch Game.

Which, if you hadn’t seen it…

 

 

It’s August 1st. If the Red Sox win, they’re in first place. If the Indians win, they stay up in first.

The Jackson Catch saved Cleveland one run. They’re down one run in the ninth.

Francisco Lindor steps in. Craig Kimbrel on the mound. Third pitch. Fastball out over the plate, outside edge.

 

Five seconds later:

Lindor fist-pumping stoked as he rounds second base. Clapping as he looks up at the score. Deep home run on top of the Monster.

They got their one run. Nine to Nine. Ninth inning.

 

 

And then, five batters later:

Two outs. Bases loaded. Still 9-9.

Austin Jackson up. Looking to be Double Hero.

Christian Vasquez gives the sign. Kimbrel does his hunch-back elbow-lock pitch prep. Winds up, delivers.

 

 

A slider whipped down into the dirt, Vasquez shifts over to stop it—it’s up off his chest protector and shooting away twenty yards to his left and against the backstop.

Jose Ramirez dashes home to score. 

Austin Jackson, well, he nailed it. The Catch. The Wild Pitch Standby. Lead gone. 10-9.

On a night when Chris Sale gave up seven runs, Kimbrel blew a sure save… an uncommon loss this first night in August, to sink them right out of first place.

They would need something.

Someone. Redemption. Redeemer.

 

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: RED SOX 12 (9) – 10 INDIANS

 

One out, and Rafael Devers steps up. The twenty-year-old. Lefty. Dominican. Sensation. Hits a high high chopper to third. Giovanny Urshela waits for it, waits, waits, waits. Catches it and whips to first but Devers is in there sliding, safe.

“Thought for a moment he was gonna stick it in his back pocket,” they say on the Sox NESN broadcast, “but he went for it anyway!”

 

 

Mitch Moreland comes up. Two outs. 0-2 count. Calls time. Just before the pitch. Cody Allen goes through his motion. Holds back the throw.

Red Sox down to their last strike. Glum faces. A few fans clapping. Whooping.

Moreland steps back in.

Eight-pitch at bat. Works a 2-2 count. And then—a ball, a check-swing, a wild pitch. Moreland unsure if he swung. The catcher dashing to the backstop for the ball, Moreland running on to first. Gets in without a throw.

Infield single, drop-third strike.

Two men on, no outs.

Redemption?

 

 

Christian Vasquez steps up. Just one home run all year. Hoping for a base hit. A tie game. Something. Get on base, don’t make out. Something. Something. Something.

“Let’s. Go. Red. Sox!” Clap-clap-clap-clap-clap.

Allen taking just enough time between pitches to let the chant start again and get back up to speed. A lull, during the pitch. Than back reforming after the next one. Loud, around all of Fenway Park.

Gets a hard fastball from  Allen down the middle.

And then, the very best kind of winner. The kind when everyone’s standing, watching hoping. Not one of those sudden shots, with half the crowd glancing up from their phone—no, this was one of those sold-out home runs, with everyone watching.

Deep to center-field. Almost off the flag pole above the high green wall.

Three runs. 12-10. Red Sox win.

 

 

Allen slinks off the field.

Vasquez launches his helmet in the air.

Wally waves the giant red flag behind home plate, the Red Sox dugout pours out into a scrum.

Christian Vasquez.

The Redeemer.

 

 

 

 

Previously:

Inning 64: Vintage Fenway in July

Inning 24: Rivalry, Renewed

 

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