Troy O'Leary brings home a 9th inning walk-off
game winning run, for the fourth of six come-from-behind
Sox victories in the Sox first ten home games

TROY O'LEARY

ON THIS DATE (April 15, 1998) ... For the fourth time on this homestand, the Red Sox won in their last at-bat, Troy O'Leary singling home John Valentin in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-3 triumph, their sixth in a row as they stayed perfect on Yawkey Way. And for the first time since 1984, Dennis Eckersley rang up a win for the Red Sox.

With two outs, nobody on, and one strike away from extra innings, Valentin lined a ground-rule double into the right-field corner off reliever Mike Mohler. With first base open, Mo Vaughn was intentionally walked, bringing up O'Leary, who already had homered and singled and scored twice. O'Leary grounded a base hit just past first baseman Matt Stairs to score Valentin, whose diving play at third on a smash by A.J. Hinch helped keep the A's from seizing the lead in the eighth.

With his three-hit game, O'Leary lifted his average on the homestand to .500 (10 for 20). All three of his home runs have come at home, including one each of the last two nights, both into the right-field bullpen. He has scored seven runs and knocked in five in the last six games. This was the sixth time in his career he has homered in consecutive games and only the second he has hit three homers in four games. Three years ago, he homered in three consecutive games.

O'Leary, now hitting .349 after batting .217 on the season-opening eight-game trip, has been thrust into a much higher profile by three developments. He signed a four-year, $14.8 million contract this winter; he is playing every day as opposed to sitting against lefthanders; and as of Tuesday, he is hitting behind Vaughn in the Sox order against righthanders.

They did their job last night. The last five hitters in the order combined for eight of Boston's 11 hits and three runs. O'Leary's second-inning homer made it 1-0, and after Oakland took a 2-1 lead in the third against rookie Brian Rose, the Sox tied it on Darren Lewis's two-out triple and Mike Benjamin's single on an 0-2 pitch.

The Sox took a 3-2 lead in the sixth when O'Leary singled, took third on a double by catcher Scott Hatteberg, and scored on a double-play grounder by Lewis. The A's tied it in the seventh on a double by Rafael Bournigal and a single by Jason McDonald, but on Yawkey these days, it's starting to resemble the NBA: Only the last two minutes count.

 

 

F   E   N   W   A   Y     P   A   R   K

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
 

OAKLAND ATHLETICS

0

0

2

0

0

0

1

0

0

 

 

3

7

0

 
 

BOSTON RED SOX

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1

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4

11

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 W-Dennis Eckersley (1-0)
L-T.J. Mathews (0-2)
Attendance - 18,477

 2B-Grieve (Oak), Bournigal (Oak), McDonald (Oak),
Hatteberg (Bost), Valentin (Bost)

 3B-Lewis (Bost)

 HR-O'Leary (Bost)