Plenty of goosebumps to go around at Fenway Park on Saturday afternoon, and not just because of the chilly Ocean breeze.
Mere hours after police shut down and sealed off Boston from the rest of the world to conduct the largest manhunt in the city’s history, the Red Sox took the field to host the Kansas City Royals and take one of the first steps to get some normalcy back into a rejuvenated Hub….
…but first, a ceremony that set the tone and should have told the Royals how this game was going to play out, because the Red Sox were not going to lose this game. No way, not today.
“It was electric, man,” Royals’ Lorenzo Cain said of the ceremony. “To go through that and see everybody getting into it and what this city went through, just to be a part of it was amazing.”
It took until the bottom of the eighth inning and Daniel Nava’s three run park job into the Sox bullpen before it became obvious and Andrew Bailey’s third consecutive save before the 4-3 score was official, but with David Ortiz firing up the capacity crowd in a pregame ceremony honoring those impacted by the terror and human drama of the week’s events with a colorful metaphor laced speech, the game’s outcome was decided long before the first pitch.
Which was a strike from Clay Buchholz, the first of 70 out of 104 pitches for the big right hander who went eight innings while yielding an equal number of hits and two earned runs to raise his record to 4-0. Bailey gave everyone in the park a few anxious moments, but managed to make it through the 9th inning to record his third consecutive save as the interim closer.
Royals’ starter James Shields pitched six strong innings, limiting the Red Sox to just four hits while striking out eight, but was chased from the game by Ortiz’ RBI single in the bottom of the 6th that tied the game at 1-1. The Royals got that run back the next at bat when Salvador Perez nailed a two-out RBI triple to score Lorenzo Cain to set up Nava’s heroics an inning later…
…but it was the heroics of the first responders, of the various police agencies and the toughness of the citizens of Boston that have been on display all week that was honored before the game – and this Red Sox victory, the club’s seventh in a row, was merely an encapsulation of the city that they represent.
The win raises the Red Sox’ record to 12-4, a win total that no one outside of Boston could have imagined before the season began, a win that has them two games ahead of the New York Yankees for first place in the American League East, a win which taught the Kansas City Royals something that this city has taught everyone else in the world this past week:
There is a heavy price to pay to underestimate the spirit of the city of Boston and it’s teams. After all, it’s the only city in the world that will shut itself down to find one person that tries to mess with it.