BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox pulled off one of their most improbable and dramatic wins of the season Wednesday afternoon in Atlanta.
Boston needed a pair of comebacks to complete their sweep of the Atlanta Braves, erasing a 7-1 Atlanta lead in the eighth inning and an 8-7 lead in the ninth for the 9-8 victory.
Boston entered the top of the eighth inning trailing 7-1, but that deficit didn’t last. Christian Vazquez, Tzu-Wei Lin and Jackie Bradley Jr. led things off with three straight singles to load the bases, and Blake Swihart plated two runs with a double to deep right field. Andrew Benintendi followed with an RBI single, cutting Atlanta’s lead to 7-4.
That was the end of the day for Braves reliever Dan Winkler, but Boston’s rally was far from over. Pinch-hitter Steve Pearce drove in another run with a sac fly, making it 7-5. It looked like Atlanta had the second out of the inning when Brandon Phillips hit a grounder to third, but Johan Camargo’s wild throw took Lucas Duda off the bag, giving Boston runners at first and second with one out.
Ian Kinsler made them pay, completing the comeback with a two-run single to left. The Braves’ 7-1 lead was gone, and the game was knotted up at 7-7. The half inning took roughly 40 minutes, as Boston sent 11 batters to the plate. Atlanta used four different relievers in the frame as they watched their six-run lead evaporate.
The six-run comeback was the biggest by Boston all season. The tie was short-lived though, as Brandon Workman surrendered a solo homer to Freddy Freeman in the bottom of the eighth, putting Atlanta back on top 8-7.
But that just made the top of the ninth more dramatic for the Red Sox. Down to their final out with Phillips at the plate and Benintendi on base, the veteran second baseman absolutely crushed a fastball from A.J. Minter to put Boston on top for the first time, 9-8. It was Phillips’ only hit of his Red Sox debut, but he scored three times and drove in two of the biggest runs.
According to Elias, Phillips is the first player in Red Sox history to hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning or later in his debut with the team. At 37, he’s also the oldest player to homer in their Red Sox debut.
Craig Kimbrel slammed the door in the bottom of the ninth for his 38th save of the season, as Boston picked up win No. 97 in truly incredible fashion. You really can never count out these Red Sox.
Boston will enjoy an off-day on Thursday before opening a three-game series with the Houston Astros on Friday at Fenway Park, the start of a nine-game homestand for the Red Sox.