Inside the Red Sox incredible comeback for their best win of the season
Inside the Sox' comeback
In the homestretch of an improbable season, the Red Sox somehow found a way to win a game with their most improbable comeback of the season.
And the most improbable hit? A two-run home run off the bat of a guy making his Boston debut. Brandon Phillips smacked a no-doubter in the top of the ninth, a 432-foot blast into the left field stands, giving the Sox a 9-8 win over the Braves and completing a sweep of the three-game series in Atlanta.
Let's go inside the numbers on the incredible comeback.
WELCOME BACK TO THE BIGS, BRANDON
Phillips had just been called up to the bigs Tuesday and was making his first major-league start of the season... against his old team... in his hometown.
"I wanted to make it rain today," said the first No. 0 in Red Sox franchise history.
And he did just that, becoming the first player in franchise history to hit a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning or later in his Sox debut. The 37-year-old also became the oldest player in Red Sox history to hit a home run in his debut with Boston.
Overall, Phillips went 1-for-3 Wednesday with a pair of walks, scoring three runs while reaching base four times.
SENSATIONAL SIX IN THE EIGHTH
While Phillips capped the comeback in dramatic fashion, it wouldn't have been possible without a six-run rally in the eighth inning that took 38 minutes.
The Sox sent 12 men to the plate, including five pinch-hitters (Steve Pearce, Ian Kinsler, Eduardo Nunez, Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts), while the Braves used four pitchers.
Blake Swihart, Andrew Benintendi, Pearce and Kinsler erased the 7-1 deficit, and by the time Betts was caught looking by A.J. Minter to end the inning, the Sox had tied things up.
"Honestly, that was the most fun I had the whole season, just watching the last few innings," manager Alex Cora said after the game.
The Red Sox had been just 4-37 this season when trailing after seven innings, but no MLB team in 2018 had accomplished what the Sox did Wednesday.
487 times this season, a team took a lead of six-plus runs into the eighth inning. 487 times that team had won, but the Red Sox didn't let the Braves become No. 488.
THE LAST TIME IT HAPPENED...
How unlikely was this comeback?
The Sox hadn't overcome a six-run deficit to win since June 24, 2016 in Texas.
The last time they rallied from six-plus runs down in the eighth or later? August 1, 2013. Seattle led 7-1 at Fenway before the Sox scored 1 in the eighth and six in the ninth, capped by a walk-off bases-loaded single from Daniel Nava.
And the only other time in the past 100 years that a Boston team rallied from six-plus down in the eighth or later on the road? Bonus points if you remember that June 6, 1937 game at Cleveland.
PILING UP WINS LIKE MAGIC
The win drops Boston's magic number to clinch the A.L. East to 14 - and the magic number to clinch a playoff spot is now 4.
The 2018 Red Sox have now won 97 games, surpassing 2007's total of 96, equaling 2013's total of 97 and just one shy of 2004's total of 98.
Does anyone remember how those seasons ended?
The Sox are now on pace to win 111 games, which would break the franchise record of 105 and put them into the top five of MLB all-time win totals.