Jonathan Papelbon is writing bumper stickers.
“Gotta grind to shine,” Papelbon said before the closer added, “Going to go ball in Baltimore.”
A 14-inning, 5-hour, season-saving win will turn anyone into Ricky Bobby.
Fittingly, it was Jacoby Ellsbury [stats], the Red Sox’ do-everything MVP candidate, who lifted the mood, at least for one night. After pinch-hitting Darnell McDonald singled and Marco Scutaro walked, he launched a three-run home run into the right field bullpen against Yankees reliever Scott Proctor to give the Red Sox a 7-4 victory and a one-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League wild card standings.
Ellsbury went deep twice in the matinee, a 6-2 loss, becoming the first Red Sox player ever to notch at least 30 homers and 30 steals in a season.