What we did not need for Game Two was a repeat performance of Game One. What it looked like we were going to get was a Game Two performance even worse than our performance in Game One. But what we got was something completely unexpected in all of its familiar glory.
We were no-hit through six innings. And if Victorino hadn’t gotten hit, and if Ellsbury and Papi hadn’t walked, we would have had no baserunners at all.
The same can not be said of the Tigers, who were busy capitalizing on Buchholz’s mistakes. Admittedly, there weren’t that many. But when your offense is completely turned off, one run against you can feel like ten.
Buchholz went one-two-three in the first. After striking out his first batter of the second, he gave up a single, a double, and an RBI single. He went one-two-three in the third and contended with two baserunners in the fourth after he recorded the first two outs and then hit a batter, issued a wild pitch, and dealt with Drew’s fielding error. Then he went one-two-three in the fifth and gave up more runs in the sixth. He gave up a solo shot with one out, and then he gave up another run thanks to two consecutive doubles, and then after securing the inning’s second out he gave up a two-run home run. Plenty of mistakes.
He gave up a single after that and was replaced by Workman, who issued a walk and induced a groundout. Two outs into the seventh, Doubront came in and ended it and pitched a fine eighth.
Fortunately, we finally got on the board in the seventh when Victorino singled and scored on a double by Pedroia with two out. So we broke both the no-hitter and the shutout bid. But we didn’t follow that with a rally. Instead, we went down in order in the seventh. Drew opened the eighth with a groundout, and then Middlebrooks doubled, Ellsbury walked, Victorino struck out, and we were all bracing ourselves for some very unpleasant flashbacks.
Then Pedroia singled to load the bases, and then I don’t know. I really don’t know. I don’t know what it is. It could be everything aligning perfectly at exactly the right moment. It could be the ideal combination of a number of factors. Or it could simply just be something in the air. It’s just really hard to figure out. But somehow we just have this thing. I can’t explain it. It’s just a thing that we do that happens at a certain time of year. And I guess there are just some people who can tap into that, and then things just happen and it’s perfect.
So when David Ortiz stepped up to the plate, I started bracing myself for flashbacks of a different sort. I didn’t even have time to feel it in the air. It just happened. It happened faster than any of us could recall the same kind of thing having happened in the past. It was just David Ortiz at home, standing at the plate, connecting with the ball. Simple. Just like that.
And he worked the magic. It was an eighty-six mile-per-hour changeup. It was the first pitch thrown by Detroit’s latest reliever. And it ended up beyond the right field fence into the bullpen.
With one swing of the bat all the way in the eighth inning, David Ortiz tied the game and paved the way for us to tie the series. David Ortiz hit a grand slam.
And then Uehara pitched the ninth. And then Gomes singled, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Salty. It was a walkoff. Just like old times. We won, 6-5.
In other news, the Pats eked out a win against the Saints, 30-27.