Sox had Wright man for the job
NEW YORK -- Steven Wright figured he had another 20 or so pitches left in his right arm.
"Luckily, I didn't have to use them all," the Red Sox reliever said early Saturday morning, happy but somewhat amazed that he ended up the winning pitcher in the longest game in Red Sox history, a 6-5 win over the Yankees in 19 innings.
Wright, who at one point this week was poised to be the Red Sox's starting pitcher Saturday afternoon, instead pitched five innings beginning sometime after midnight.
Twice the Red Sox gave him a lead he couldn't hold. But at least Wright kept holding onto the tie, stranding Yankees baserunners in every inning and getting a big pickoff of Brett Gardner in the 17th.
Video: BOS@NYY: Umpires confirm pickoff call in the 17th
It certainly wasn't perfect, but in the end it was just good enough. After Mookie Betts' sacrifice fly put the Red Sox ahead again in the top of the 19th, Wright survived a leadoff single from Jacoby Ellsbury in the bottom of the inning, ending the game by getting Garrett Jones to ground into a very well-turned double play.
"Unbelievable," Wright said of the play started at shortstop by Xander Bogaerts and turned beautifully at second base by Dustin Pedroia. "A heck of a play, and to pull that off at 2:30 in the morning."
It ended a game that many will never forget. Wright will certainly remember it, especially since it's expected that he will be sent to Triple-A Pawtucket before Saturday's game at Yankee Stadium so Joe Kelly can be activated from the disabled list.
Earlier in the week, the Red Sox weren't sure Kelly would be ready to start Saturday. Wright would have been the other option. When Kelly was cleared to start, Wright became available out of the bullpen on Friday night.
"It fell kind of into our lap," manager John Farrell said.
They shouldn't have needed him. The Red Sox handed a 3-0 lead to Wade Miley, who was making his first start for the club. Miley got in trouble in the sixth inning, but left with the lead intact. The Red Sox still led 3-2 with two out in the ninth, but fill-in closer Edward Mujica gave up Chase Headley's game-tying home run.
Robbie Ross Jr., Alexi Ogando and Junichi Tazawa preceded Mujica. Anthony Varvaro, Tommy Layne and Craig Breslow followed him.
By then, the Red Sox and Yankees had made it through 14 innings, but the game was still tied. Wright was the only pitcher Farrell had remaining in his bullpen, but the good news was that he knew Wright was stretched out enough to pitch a long time.
Farrell never even reached the point of considering who might pitch next. When the game ended in the 19th inning, he figured Wright had three or four more innings left in him.
Luckily for him, for the Red Sox and for anyone who just wanted to go to sleep, he didn't need them.