Jerry Remy had to fight his way through a crowd to touch home with the winning run in today's 7-6 Boston Red Sox victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Orioles catcher Rich Dempsey, pitcher Tippy Martinez and Manager Joe Altobelli were crowding the plate, arguing with umpire Greg Kosc, who had called ball four on a two-out, bases-loaded 3-0 pitch in the ninth. The walk to Wade Boggs snapped a seven-game Red Sox losing streak, a six-game Baltimore winning streak and a few Orioles' tempers.
"Boggs didn't know it was ball four," said Dempsey. "He was standing there at the plate for a couple of seconds. I've been in the league 11 years and I've never had that pitch called a ball on me. He said it was inside, but it was closer to being a strike than it was to being a ball."
Martinez said, "Boggs waited. That's why I thought it was a strike."
Boggs just smiled and said, "It was inside more than it was down."
Ever the macho man, Dempsey was upset that Boggs took the easy way out. "The guy's hittin" 380 and he's up there taking," grumbled Dempsey. "Tell him to go home and eat some more chicken (Boggs' diet consists of 14 recipes for chicken)."
There was nothing routine about the events that led to the 6-6 tie in the bottom of the ninth. This was a game in which the Red Sox had 11 hits, nine for extra bases, four of them homers, yet won on a bunt and a bases-loaded walk. The Orioles had 13 hits, one a three-run homer by rookie John Shelby, but killed several rallies with bad base running.
Dennis Martinez was the first of Baltimore's four pitchers. In 4 2/3 innings he gave up seven hits, five runs and four monstrous home runs. His ERA swelled to 4.90 and Ray Miller, the Orioles pitching coach, admitted, "Dennis appeared to be throwing right to their power area."
Boston's outfield hit four bases-empty homers off Martinez. In the second inning, Tony Armas hit the first, into the center field bleachers. An inning later, Dwight Evans hit the first of his two, into the left field net.
The Orioles tied it in the fourth. With runners on second and third and two out, Ken Singleton hit John Tudor's 2-2 pitch up the middle for a two-run single. Singleton has six right-handed RBI this year, four coming at Fenway this weekend.
The Red Sox went back ahead in the fourth when Boggs and Carl Yastrzemski hit back to back doubles.
Yastrzemski, 43, had quite a day. He hit two 420-foot drives to center -- one was caught -- and singled to left in his only other at bat. "I feel better than I have all year," he said.
Boston finished Dennis Martinez and increased its lead to 5-2 with two home runs in the fifth. This time it was Evans' shot just inside the left field foul pole, and Jim Rice with a drive, for his 250th major league homer, into the center field bleachers. Dan Morogiello relieved.
Shelby's first-pitch, three-run homer to center tied it at 5 with one out in the eighth. After Cal Ripken doubled, Bob Stanley relieved Tudor and Eddie Murray was walked intentionally. With Gary Roenicke batting, Murray was picked off by catcher Rich Gedman.
Gedman's throw to first baseman Dave Stapleton was way ahead of Murray, but Stapleton appeared to miss the tag.Still, umpire Ted Hendry signaled an out.
"The ball beat me, and with this crew, that's enough," said Murray. "A tag is not required."
Each team scored a run in the eighth.
With one out, Singleton singled up the middle and was replaced by pinch runner Al Bumbry. Bumbry took third on a loop single to left-center by Leo Hernandez and scored when Lenn Sakata grounded to short and beat out Boston's double play attempt.
The Red Sox came back to tie it again in its half. Reliever Tim Stoddard walked Boggs. Reid Nichols batted for Yastrzemski and tried to move Boggs to second. His bunt to Murray was too hard and Murray erased Boggs with a throw to second. After Stapleton flied to shallow left, Tippy Martinez replaced Stoddard and Ed Jurak pinch hit for Gedman. Jurak hit the next pitch down the right field line, Nichols scoring easily but Jurak was cut down going for three.
Hoffman led off the bottom of the ninth with a weak pop to short. On a 1-0 pitch, Remy dragged a perfect bunt to the right side. Second baseman Sakata was the only fielder who could get to the ball, but had no chance. Remy took third when Evans, who had 11 total bases for the day, doubled down the left field line. Rice was walked intentionally and Armas hit an 0-2 pitch right into the glove of third baseman Hernandez, who had no chance to double off any of the runners.
Boggs stepped to the plate and Martinez missed three straight: in the dirt, inside, then high. Then came ball four.
"I can't be bitter about the last call," reasoned Miller."When you go 3-0 and miss badly with three pitches, you can't complain about the last pitch."