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Mitch's Sports Report: Hanley & Papi Deliver In Red Sox Insane Walk-Off Comeback Win Over Yankees

If you watched the Boston Red Sox loss to the Baltimore Orioles two nights ago, you saw Hanley Ramirez end that game by swinging and missing at three consecutive pitches, all of them down around his ankles, way out of the strike zone. Frankly put, he looked terrible in ending that game. Well, Hanley Ramirez also ended the Red Sox game against the NY Yankees at Fenway Park last night, except this time, he swung at and connected with a 99-mile an hour Dellin Betances fastball, driving it to dead center field and into the bleachers, for a two-on, two-out, walk-off three-run homer that put an exclamation point on a Red Sox come from behind 7-5 victory, their biggest and best of the year.

Ain't baseball some kinda game?

The Yankees and Red Sox more often than not come up with epic contests, and this one gets automatic entrance to the pantheon. Down 5-1 early, starter Eddie Rodriguez gone by the third inning and the Sox looking listless for most of the night, they clawed back with a big push from David Ortiz, who passed legendary Yankee Mickey Mantle on the all-time home run list by belting career dinger number 537 in the eighth inning to cut the Yankee lead to 5-2. But that's still a pretty big hole to dig out from going into the bottom of the ninth. But Big Papi kept delivering, plating Dustin Pedroia with a single in the bottom of the frame to make it 5-3. The Sox still had two on, but there were two outs when Ramirez stepped to the plate and delivered redemption from the night before, and sending the Fenway faithful into a swell of delirium as his teammates mobbed him at home plate. The three-run blast capped off a five-run inning for the Red Sox, and the win could hardly come at a more critical time. Had the Yankees won they would have closed the gap between them and the Red Sox for first place in the division to just three games with three still left to play in this series. Instead, the Yanks are now five games back and they've lost ground in the wild card race as well, now three games out and chasing the Mariners, Tigers, Orioles and Blue Jays for one of two available wild card berths.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, gain ground on their closest peruser in the division, because Baltimore lost to Tampa By 7-6, and so the Sox now have a two game lead over the Orioles for the division crown, and a two-game lead over Toronto, who snapped a losing skid by beating the Angels last night. There is still plenty of work to do for the Red Sox if they're to win the division and avoid the nail-biting one-game playoff that comes with a wild card berth, and all their remaining games are against opponents in their division that can still catch and pass them, but that walk-off win last night is absolutely enormous in getting some separation, however small, and especially by getting the win in such dramatic fashion. That walk-off by Hanley, by the way, was just his second career game-ending home run, and my guess is, it's his favorite of the two.

Game two of the series will be hard t top last night's. It features rookie Luis Cessa going for New York against Clay Buchholz for the Red Sox, with Buchholz coming off one of his worst outings of the year in his last start, so he'd do well to take a page out of Hanley's book and deliver a stellar outing tonight to make up for it.

The NY Mets were idle last night but they got good news with the Cardinals losing to the San Francisco Giants, meaning the Mets now have a one game lead over St. Louis for the second wild card berth in the National League instead of just a half game.

And the Chicago Cubs won last night to clinch the National League central division. Cubs fans are probably wishing the post-season could get started right now, but then again, they've been waiting 108 years for their team to win another World Series, so what's another few weeks in the overall scheme?

In Thursday NFL action the NY Jets beat their former coach Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills 37-31 and that had to feel good, especially for former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw for 374 yards including a 5-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker. Matt Forte was a beast on the ground for the Jets, rushing for three touchdowns. The Jets even their record to 1-1 while the Bills start the year 0-2.

At the Paralympics in Rio, Putney's Alicia Dana came within seconds of winning her second career medal, finishing fourth in the hand-cycling road race event yesterday. Dana picked up a silver medal in the time trials on Wednesday but finished just three seconds behind the two bronze medal winners from South Korea and Italy, who crossed the finish line with identical times. Christiane Reppe of Germany won the Gold with a time of one hour, fifteen minutes, and fifty-six seconds, and Dana was only five seconds off that pace in finishing fourth.

In high school boys' soccer South Burlington won the Harry Lozelle tournament beating Rutland 5-Nil, with five players, Amerlin Nemeye, David Larrabee, Ben Lambert, Patrick O’Hara and Mike Flaherty all tallying for the Rebels.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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