Tonight, the Sox got back up off the mat. They were down a run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, having been unable to solve Cliff Lee for most of the game, when Kevin Youkilis and his lumberjack's ruddy beard, stepped to the plate and fired a single into left to bring what Don Orsillo called "Bonus Baseball" to Fenway.
Mike Cameron put a charge into the first pitch he saw in the 10th inning from Rangers reliever Alexi Ogando. NESN hadn't even finished going over Ogando's stats when they had to kill the graphic and call what looked to be the walkoff home run for Boston.
Instead, as the camera homed in on deep left center, Nelson Cruz reached into the Boston bullpen and plucked the homer back.
Cameron's face, as he stopped dead in his tracks just past first base, was deadpan. Numb. Shocked. On the dugout steps, Papelbon swore. Manny Delcarmen was warming, about to make his first appearance coming off the DL. No pressure, kid.
But Delcarmen was solid, and backed by stellar defense from Adrian Beltre and Do-it-all-Bill-Hall, who pulled a Dustin Pedroia impression, diving onto his face to snag a grounder and end the top of the 11th, giving the Sox another turn at bat with the score still tied.
A sacrifice and an error later, and the Sox had men at second and third with no outs in the 11th. The Rangers intentionally walked Ortiz, loading the bases.
Inexplicably, the Rangers elected to walk Papi and have submariner Darren O'Day face the man who'd tied the game two innings earlier. Once again, Youkilis delivered, in the form of a walk-off sacrifice fly to deep center, scoring Marco Scutaro for the first Red Sox win of the second half.
Just call this the MacGyver team, because right now they're engineering wins with a paper clip, ballpoint pen, rubber band, tweezers, nasal spray, and a turkey baster.