By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Thursday night’s Red Sox-Astros game at Fenway Park had a postseason feel to it. Or it at least felt like a game being played in late October on Halloween, because boy was it a weird one.
What wasn’t weird is that the Red Sox mounted a wild comeback. Several wild comebacks, actually. Boston overcame deficits of 1-0, 3-2, 7-4, and 8-7, leaving the field with a 12-8 victory and the team’s 22nd comeback win of the season.
How they got there was anything but conventional. The game featured six lead changes, which came in a variety of different ways throughout its nearly four-hour runtime. There were RBI singles, walked-in runs and a few big swings mixed in for good measure. The biggest swing of the night came from Christian Arroyo, who destroyed a three-run home in the fifth inning to tie things up at 7-7.
OVER the Green Monster 😱
Tie game in Boston! pic.twitter.com/aO30KrwQaa
— MLB (@MLB) June 11, 2021
The Sox second baseman pounded his chest as he rounded the bases, soaking in all the nearly full house at Fenway had to offer.
“That was my first Fenway homer in front of fans, so it was pretty awesome. I’m an emotional player when it comes to that stuff, and I love to win,” he said. “I hit it, I saw it and the point that I knew it was out, I kind of just blacked out a little bit. I was just excited.”
But Jose Altuve somehow flicked at a pitch at his shoelace and put it into the Monster seats in the top of the sixth to put the Astros back on top 8-7. Then things got real strange.
J.D. Martinez tied things quickly with a sac fly in the bottom of the inning — on a ball the right fielder didn’t actually catch. That was just the start of the weirdness. After Xander Bogaerts walked to put two on and one out, Rafael Devers lifted a pop fly into short center field. Carlos Correa was under it, but ended up dropping it — the second can of corn that the Astros let fall in a matter of minutes.
But instead of the Red Sox having the bases loaded, the infield fly was called, and Devers was out. Bogaerts was incredulous at second base, thinking the umpire had called him out, but Alex Cora calmed his shortstop from the dugout. It was an odd call, considering the ball was in the outfield and over 200 feet from home plate, but Cora agreed with the call.
“One hundred percent,” the Sox skipper said after the win. “He was under control. He got to it. He actually did an amazing job sprinting back. I was OK with it.”
A Hunter Renfroe walk loaded the bases for Boston, which is when Christian Vazquez drove in the game-winning run — by getting hit by a pitch. Boston took a 10-8 lead when Arroyo (or Christian 2) drew a bases loaded walk. Throughout the game, the two teams scored four runs off walks or a HBP with the bases loaded.
After scoring a pair of runs without even swinging the bat, the Red Sox got two more when Bobby Dalbec scorched a double that likely left a fresh dent in the Green Monster.
And in the middle of that rather interesting inning, a shirtless fan ran onto the field and was promptly tackled by security. That, of course, sent the crowd into even more delirium.
“That was a weird ballgame,” said Astros manager Dusty Baker. “The whole game was very strange. It’s hard to explain.”
Red Sox players agree that it was a bit strange, but they preferred a different word after it was over: “Fun.”
“Every win is great,” said Vazquez, who was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a pair of runs scored. “We had a loud crowd tonight and they earned this win and it was a fun game.”
“Just two good teams battling,” said Cora. “For how much baseball purists like the 2-1, 1-0 game, fans like 12-8 and going at it, back and forth.
“To manage those games is not fun,” Cora added, “but I understand why people like it.”