David Ortiz turned on a Casey Fein slider and wrapped it around the Pesky Pole to tie the score at 1-1 in the 10th inning. Three pitches later, Mike Napoli took a 94 mph fastball from Fein and drove it out to straight center to give the Boston Red Sox the three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins with a 2-1 extra innings win on Wednesday afternoon.
For a couple minutes, we saw remnants of the 2013 magic that the Red Sox rode all the way to the World Series — a brief reprieve from the offensive struggles that have stifled the club in 2014 to date. A case could be made that it was the break the Red Sox offense — which had scored just 28 runs in the 99 1/3 innings prior to Ortiz’s blast — needed to get back on its feet.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
Before assessing the damage the final two at-bats delivered, look first to the initial 30, then come back and think about jumping to cliches like ‘biggest win of the year’ or ‘the turning point.’
In those first 30 at-bats, there were more players who reached on errors (two) than hits (one).
That’s right, in 30 at-bats, the Red Sox mustered one hit — a batting average of .033. Granted, the matchup with Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson was a perfect storm of sorts. Gibson came in having thrown 15 consecutive scoreless innings, with none of the struggling Red Sox hitters ever having faced him. Under such circumstances, offensive struggles can be expected.
But one hit? By a Red Sox lineup? Playing at Fenway Park? Not only is such an outcome unexpected, it’s unacceptable.
So, while a win is a win, it’s by no stretch a turning point or something to rally around. It is a win against a weak Minnesota team.
The lone silver lining was the plus-one in the ‘W’ column.