I Love That Dirty Water

A look back at the Red Sox's eight walk-off wins from the first half of the season.

There is nothing better than a walk-off Red Sox win. It doesn’t matter how many we have in a season, they never get old.

Jonny Gomes will pound the ball and then give knuckles to your high-five just because he’s crazy like that.
(Photo: Keith Allison on Flickr)

There is the initial moment of doubt. Does it have enough to get out of here? Is it going to stay fair? Will the ball get through the drawn in infield? Will the runner make it safely to the plate?

There is the exuberant tone in Don Orsillo’s voice that is reserved solely for these occasions.

There is the joyful camaraderie of the team circling around home plate waiting for the conquering hero to return, or  running down the celebrating batter on the base paths.

There is the unmistakably familiar opening guitar riff of “Dirty Water” followed by the tambourine sound that immediately takes me back to the magical run in the Fall of 2004.

And sometimes there is even a helmet punt. Well, that was just one time, but it was awesome.

Let’s take a look back at the eight walk-off wins that we have enjoyed so far this season.

A few notes on the walk-offs:

  • Victorino and Gomes are tied for the team lead with two walk-off hits each. 
  • Gomes has the team lead with two walk-off home runs.
  • Three of the walk-offs have come against the Rays. Eat it Maddon!
  • The Rays Joel Peralta is the only pitcher to appear on the list twice.
  • Seven of the eight game winners have come in the 9th inning, the other one was in the 11th inning.
  • Three of the hits have come with zero outs, three with one out, and two with two outs.

(My apologies, in advance, for the crappy MLB Media Policies that will not actually embed all of these videos necessitating extra clicks.)

8) June 30 – Shane Victorino vs. Blue Jays: 9th inning, 4-4 score, 1 out, runners on 1st & 2nd, 0-1 count, Casey Janssen pitching.

A win is a win, and a walk-off win is great no matter how it comes your way. But a walk-off error that should have been turned into an inning-ending double play by the Blue Jays fill-in 1B, Josh Thole, has to fall into the 8th spot for this season. Sorry, Shane.

7) April 13 – Shane Victorino vs. Rays: 9th inning, 1-1 score, 1 out, runner on 3rd, 2-2 count, Brandon Gomes pitching.

It’s not personal Shane, I promise! Victorino gets a little bump for this one coming against the Rays and being an actual hit, but with only one out and Ellsbury the runner on 3rd, there was no doubt that the winning run was going to score.

6) May 6 – Stephen Drew vs. Twins: 11th inning, 5-5 score, 2 outs, runners on 1st & 2nd, 0-1 count, Jared Burton pitching.

Now we’re getting into some more exciting plays! Drew hits one deep to left field and Ryan Doumit reminds everyone that he is really a catcher, not an outfielder. Drew gets bonus points for it being a two-out hit, and for the walk-off coming in the 11th inning.

5) June 6 – David Ortiz vs. Rangers: 9th inning, 3-3 score, 0 outs, runners on 1st & 2nd, 0-0 count, Michael Kirkman pitching.

Our first walk-off home run to make an appearance! Any time that Big Papi walks it off the nostalgia factor will be very high. With two runners on and no one out this one had the feeling of an Ortiz game-ender from the moment he stepped into the batter’s box. Then again, I always assume that Papi will hit one out with the game on the line.

4) July 3 – Jonny Gomes vs. Padres: 9th inning, 1-1 score, 0 outs, bases empty, 2-2 count, Luke Gregerson pitching.

Gomes makes back-to-back appearances on the list with two walk-off home runs in a 16 day span. This one was a pinch-hit game-winner and Gregerson had looked terrific in striking out two of the previous three batters he had faced. In the end, I’m putting this one fourth because it came against the Padres and I don’t wish amoebic dysentery on Bud Black like I do on Joe Maddon.

3) June 18 – Jonny Gomes vs. Rays: 9th inning, 1-1 score, 0 outs, runner on 1st, 0-0 count, Joel Peralta pitching.

The only drama in this one was if it would stay fair or not. Gomes clubbed this ball and ended a long double-header day with a second win for the Sox. After the incredible pitching performance that Felix Doubront had turned in, only to watch Andrew Bailey cough up the save, this one felt like it meant a little bit extra. It would have been brutal to watch Doubie throw like he did and not walk away with a Red Sox win that night. Also, it’s the helmet punt celebration!

2) May 26 – Jacoby Ellsbury vs. Indians: 9th inning, 5-4 score, 2 outs, based loaded, 2-1 count, Joe Smith pitching.

This is the only super walk-off on the list where Boston went from losing to winning on a single swing. The other seven walk-offs all came with the score tied. Poor Joe Smith, he spent all of that time warming up to throw one pitch. Unfortunately for him, entering the game with the bases loaded and a 2-1 count left Ellsbury guessing correctly that the pitch was going to be a fastball. The :24 second mark of this clip contains one of my favorite fan celebrations of the year. No, not Mr. Biceps in the green shirt, the guy sitting to his left.

1) April 15 – Mike Napoli vs. Rays, 9th inning, 2-2 score, 1 out, runner on 1st, 2-2 count, Joel Peralta pitching.

The recipient of the number one spot for a variety of reasons. First, it was Patriots Day. It always feels like the Patriots Day game means a little more, even though it’s still only one win in the standings. This year that takes on even more meaning in hindsight, knowing that the joy seen in the city would be very short-lived. Second, it involved one of my favorite walk-off subplots: a runner scrambling all the way around from first to home to score the decisive run. Finally, it was the first walk-off win of the year and the first time that we saw a game that the 2012 version of the Sox would have found a way to lose while 2013 team found a way to win it.

Here’s to many more walk-off wins in Boston from now through October!

Categories: Andrew Bailey Boston Red Sox Brandon Gomes Cleveland Indians David Ortiz Felix Doubront Fenway Park Jacoby Ellsbury Jonny Gomes Mike Napoli Minnesota Twins San Diego Padres Shane Victorino Stephen Drew Tampa Bay Rays Texas Rangers Toronto Blue Jays

I'm a native Mainer and life-long Red Sox fan living among way too many Yankees fans in New York. I spent most of my childhood convinced that Spike Owen was going to be awesome, sooner or later. The last time I punched a wall was October 16, 2003. My bucket list included personally thanking a Red Sox player for 2004, something I was finally able to check off when I met Trot Nixon. Follow @JK7_

2 Responses to “I Love That Dirty Water” Subscribe

  1. Gerry July 13, 2013 at 4:40 AM #

    Wonderful stuff! Didn’t Gomes also have a walk off hit recently?? Seems I remember him running for his life from teammates. Might be worth documenting the ‘top of 9th’ and ‘bottom of 8th’ game winning hits. Might actually establish patterns of not so random clutchness which, of course, we all know doesn’t really exist … Does it? Might also demonstrate just how well the concept of team plays out with this unique group. I’m thinking Iggy, Holt, Snyder, Salty, Nava, Pedroia, WMB, Bradley, Carp, nine more players whose bats have all won heart-stopping games in late innings. Exciting team. Excellent roster construction.

    • JK7_ July 15, 2013 at 7:32 PM #

      @Gerry Thanks Gerry. Gomes most recent was the 3rd of July one (#4). The other thing you mention would definitely be an interesting column. I agree that it would show a huge variety of guys coming through, but one guy who doesn’t appear on this list (Nava) would quickly go to the top of that list. I just saw a stat that had him leading the team in some sort of “stat like that (RBI in the 7th-9th or avg. in late innings with RISP, something of that nature). 
      Definitely an exciting team, and one that I think we all appreciate even more after going through a season like last year! 
      Thanks for reading, sorry for the slow reply.