By Sean Sylver, 98.5 The Sports Hub
It’s been a decade since the 2007 Red Sox lifted the World Series trophy for the second time since 1918 – their second such opportunity over a span of four seasons. It was the apex of an era when the organization flexed its financial muscles and simultaneously boasted some of the best young players in the game. With this in mind, we’ll occasionally look back on milestones from a dominant season in Red Sox history.
May 13, 2007 was the “Mother’s Day Miracle.”
Under normal circumstances, a win over the Orioles was no miracle; it was actually pretty commonplace. After all, the Birds dropped 93 games in 2007. After riding Steroid Era stars Miguel Tejada, Rafael Palmeiro, Javy Lopez and Sammy Sosa to mediocre results in previous seasons, the organization was once again pondering a rebuild. And taking the mound on Mother’s Day was 28-year old Jeremy Guthrie, making just his fourth major league start.
The 2007 Red Sox, meanwhile, had announced their presence with authority by ripping off a 24-11 streak, good for a seven-game lead in the division. They took five of six from the Yankees in April, including a Sunday night contest where they bashed back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs.
The Idiots had undergone a slick makeover since ’04: Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield and Mike Timlin were the only key cogs remaining from the historic campaign of just three years prior. New stars emerged, Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell came to town via trade, and on the heels of an injury-riddled 2006, Theo Epstein dumped $158 million (plus over $51 million in posting fees) on gyroball practitioner Daisuke Matsuzaka, statheads’ wet dream J.D. Drew and longtime fascination Julio Lugo. The 2007 Red Sox were loaded.
And yet, Guthrie’s mix of Wiffle Balls flummoxed would-be Boston hitters this particular Sunday, as batters spent the afternoon pounding Guthrie’s offerings directly in the dirt or straight up into the air. There were only two strikeouts. But by the ninth, the Sox trailed 5-0 and Guthrie was working on a three-hitter. The dwindling numbers of Fenway revelers were headed for the exits.
Cue the miracle.
With one out, Coco Crisp reached on an error by Baltimore catcher Ramon Hernandez. Manager Sam Perlozzo yanked Guthrie after 91 pitches, handing the ball to Danys Baez, a former All-Star for the Devil Rays who by that point was an absolute tire fire. Ortiz brought in Crisp with a double and the immortal Wily Mo Pena dispatched Baez with a single. Two on, one out. Still 5-1 O’s.
Chris Ray, the Orioles’ closer, entered the game. After posting 33 saves and a 2.73 ERA the previous season, Ray played the role of gas station attendant on Mother’s Day. He walked Drew on four pitches to load the bases, and then did the same with Kevin Youkilis. The second free pass plated Big Papi, cutting the Baltimore lead to 5-2.
With the bases still loaded, Varitek lined a hit to right and two more Red Sox scored to make it a one-run game. Right fielder Nick Markakis misplayed the scoop and Varitek excitedly barreled into second as the remaining Fenway Faithful went bonkers.
Eric Hinske was intentionally walked to set up a force situation, with which Alex Cora swiftly complied. With two outs, Julio Lugo chopped one to Baltimore first baseman Kevin Millar and scampered down the line. Ray (who by now had thrown 30 pitches) raced Lugo to the bag and dropped Millar’s throw in transit. Lugo was safe, Varitek and Hinske came around to score, and the Red Sox had a most unusual comeback win.
Six runs on four hits (if you call Lugo’s offering a hit), three walks (one intentional), two errors and a fielder’s choice. And the victory.
It was May 13. It was the Orioles. A miracle? Well, it was an extremely rare feat. And with the bats reduced to a whimper all afternoon, few fans would have anticipated interrupting time with their moms to follow a six-run comeback in the bottom of the ninth, but they did. With its NESN-ready alliteration, the “Mother’s Day Miracle” was born, 10 years ago this weekend. And it wouldn’t be the only time the 2007 Red Sox would treat their fans to an incredible comeback.
Sean Sylver is a contributor to CBSBostonSports.com who can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub. You can follow him on Twitter @sylverfox25.