If you suffered through the frigid temperatures and howling winds today, you were rewarded. It took 4 hours, 5 pitchers, 10 hits, and 12 innings, but the Red Sox finally gave Boston the Opening Day win they desperately wanted.
On a cloudless, nearly below-freezing day, the cult known as Red Sox Nation reunited to pay tribute to Bobby Doerr, welcome home David Ortiz, and ultimately, celebrate their team’s 6th straight win.
It was the Red Sox’s eighth home opener walk-off win, exactly 20 years since the last.
David Price pitched his second straight scoreless outing through the 7th, proving that he’s better as a Red Sock facing the Rays than the other way around. He also displayed a lighter, friendlier side; when he was asked why he didn’t tip his cap to the standing ovation he received at the end of the 7th, he replied that he thought he might be back for the 8th.
The game was tied at zero through the 8th, when Tampa Bay’s Matt Duffy hit a 2-run homer off reliever Carson Smith. Thankfully, the Red Sox were able to rally in the bottom of the ninth, tying the game before entering their second extra-innings situation of the newborn season.
The stalemate lasted until the bottom of the 12th, when, with the bases loaded and one out, Hanley Ramirez ripped a single to deep right, driving in a run to win the game.
As fans heard “Dirty Water” for the first time in months, Hanley’s teammates chased him past first base and swarmed him in the outfield. Hanley later told reporters that in addition to wanting to have some fun and celebrate the win, he really didn’t want the team to shower him with any ice water, as is their custom: “I don’t want that. It was too cold!”
Offensively, the team still struggled, going scoreless through the 9th inning. JD Martinez tripled in his first Fenway at-bat, but his teammates stranded him there. Collectively, they had 10 hits and 3 runs, their fourth win of the season by a 1-run margin. Xander Bogaerts and Hanley Ramirez were the only two batters to drive in runs today.
It was a homecoming comeback perfectly emblematic of the best franchise in MLB, and something tells me it’s going to keep getting better.