Thought it would be appropriate to do a walk-off in which Boston defeated Los Angeles and to do that, we flash back to June 11, 2004, a time when the Red Sox were not yet thought of as dynastic, but were on their way through the most memorable season in franchise history.
They were facing the Dodgers on a Friday night in Boston. Much like Sunday’s Super Bowl, this game was a low-scoring struggle. Neither team scored through the first six-and-a-half-innings. It was a good pitcher’s duel between Red Sox starter Derek Lowe and Dodgers pitcher Odalis Perez.
Boston scored in the seventh on a home run by (surprise) David Ortiz. That was that until the top of the ninth, and this is the part I like a lot.
Keith Foulke got the first two Dodgers out, which left the game up to none other than the No. 9 hitter, Red Sox-manager-to-be Alex Cora.
Cora reached on an infield single, keeping the game alive for … none other than current Dodgers manager and future Red Sox postseason hero Dave Roberts (how great is that?).
Except Jim Tracy pulled Roberts back and sent up a pinch-hitter, Olmedo Saenz. That seems a little odd given that Roberts was 2-for-4 in the game. Nonetheless, Saenz hit a fly ball to left field that should have ended the game. But the ball got caught in a stiff wind and Manny Ramirez muffed it. Cora came all the way around to score to tie the game.
“There goes my Gold Glove,” Ramirez told reporters with a laugh, after the game.
Foulke got the next batter out and the Red Sox went to work to end the game in the home ninth. It only took three batters. Johnny Damon led off with a walk against Dodgers lefty Tom Martin. Mark Bellhorn than had what might have been the at-bat of the game, doubling on Martin’s ninth pitch to advance Damon to third.
Given the choice of pitching to Ortiz with runners on second and third or Ramirez with the bases loaded, the Dodgers went after Ortiz. Note to self: Don’t ever pitch to David Ortiz in a walk-off situation.
Ortiz singled on a hanging 0-2 curveball to win the game.
It wasn’t the only time Ortiz would win a game vs a franchise from that part of California in walk-off fashion that season. Remember that Ortiz hit a walk-off home run to beat the Angels in Game 3 of that year’s ALDS. This was just the warm-up.
(If the Rams had won, I was going to something on Jerry Goff’s only walk-off RBI. We’ll save that for another day).