The swirl of emotions that so often enveloped Fenway Park last season were present again on Sunday night, right down to the last pitch.
Dustin Pedroia scored the winning run on a two-out error in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Red Sox stunned the Baltimore Orioles, 6-5, before a crowd of 33,947.
On a night that started with a poignant remembrance of the events surrounding the Boston Marathon a year ago, the Red Sox came back from a five-run deficit and won the game on a wild play.
“You certainly saw that 2013 spirit still exists in the boys with the way we scratched and clawed,” Red Sox starter Jake Peavy said.
Pedroia doubled high off the wall in left-center with one out, just missing his first home run of the season. The Red Sox challenged the call, but it stood after a replay. After Pedroia took third on a wild pitch, the Orioles had Brian Matusz intentionally walk David Ortiz. Righthander Darren O’Day then hit Mike Napoli on the left knee, loading the bases.
Mike Carp pinch hit and drilled the second pitch to left field, but directly at a well-positioned David Lough.
“They were in close,” Pedroia said. “I broke real quick in case it fell, he had a chance to throw me out at home.”
As Pedroia scampered back to third, Lough’s throw sailed behind the plate. Pedroia turned around and raced home. It was the first walkoff victory of the season for the Red Sox, who had 11 last season.
“Kind of a crazy deal . . . There was a lot going on,” said Pedroia, who tossed his helmet in the air after he scored and was mobbed by teammates.
Carp had turned his head away, furious that he had hit the ball hard with nothing to show for it.
“My view went from high to low to high again real quick,” he said. “Look down for one second, turn around, and everybody is going nuts.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter stopped the umpires as they left the field, but he was told the play could not be challenged.
Four Red Sox relievers — Chris Capuano, Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Miller, and Edward Mujica — combined to throw 3⅓ scoreless innings after Peavy allowed five runs.
Mujica (1-1) was the winner, striking out Lough to end the top of the ninth and leave Adam Jones stranded at third base.
Manager John Farrell called in the righthanded Mujica, believing the Orioles were going to pinch hit righthanded-hitting Delmon Young. But Mujica instead faced the lefthanded-hitting Lough.
But even mistakes worked out on this night.
The 9-10 Red Sox have won four of their last five games, finally playing well after a slow start.
“It goes back to our approach at the plate. Seeing a lot of pitches, driving up pitch counts, getting into a bullpen, trying to get some favorable matchups on our part,” Farrell said. “It’s been a much more consistent approach.”
Said Pedroia: “We’re starting to settle in. It was kind of hectic that first week. Took us a little bit to get in our routine, get in our rhythm, our approach, everything.”
Peavy, who pitched well in his first three starts, allowed five runs on 10 hits over 5⅔ innings.
The Sox got back in the game in the bottom of the sixth. Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez to that point was working on a two-hit shutout.
He got the first out of the inning before Ortiz singled to center field. Napoli then drew a walk.
The Red Sox were hitless in five at-bats with runners in scoring position. But Jonny Gomes drove a hanging slider over the wall in left field for his second home run of the season and the Sox were down by only two runs as the crowd came to life on another cold night at Fenway.
“I was just going coattails on the celebration before the game,” Gomes said. “Got an off-speed pitch that he might have left up. Nice little kick-start for us.”
Lefthander Zach Britton finished off the inning and got the first out of the seventh before the Red Sox struck again.
Brock Holt, who has given the team a lift since being recalled from Triple A Pawtucket on Friday, singled to center.
Grady Sizemore, who has one hit in his last 12 at-bats, grounded back to the mound for what should have been a double play. But Ryan Flaherty, who switched from third base to shortstop that inning when J.J. Hardy left the game with a strained right hamstring, dropped the ball on the transfer and Holt was ruled safe at second by umpire Paul Schrieber.
Singles by Pedroia and Ortiz scored Holt to make it 5-4.
Showalter went to righthander Evan Meek. Napoli grounded to third base and Steve Lombardozzi, just into the game, threw wide to the plate and Sizemore slid in safely when Matt Wieters couldn’t grab the ball.
The Sox initially scheduled an afternoon game for Sunday but it was switched to a 7:05 p.m. start to accommodate ESPN. Now the teams have a quick turnaround before the traditional 11:05 a.m. start on Patriots Day.
“This is the first time we’re coming off a night game,” Farrell said. “We’re thankful for ESPN on most occasions, but we have to deal with the schedule given to us.”
After winning the way they did, the Sox didn’t seem to care.
“The next game starts in 11 hours,” Gomes said as he left the clubhouse. “Sleep fast.”Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe. Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.