Tomase: Are the rallying Red Sox really this good? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
There come points in every season when you just have to admit that maybe something special is happening and there's no use questioning it.
The Boston Red Sox have already hinted at multiple such nights this year, whether it's beating New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom, pummeling the Chicago White Sox on Marathon Monday, or walking off the Tampa Bay Rays just five games into the season.
But of all the standout moments early in this improbable never-say-die season, none tops Thursday night.
Down to their final out after blowing a 5-2 lead, they watched J.D. Martinez launch a two-run homer to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7, keeping the Sox alone in first place for a 43rd straight day instead of dropping into a tie with the Rays.
The comeback prompted franchise icon David Ortiz, who's not exactly a prolific Tweeter, to register his approval on social media. "That's how we do it, Red Sox," he exclaimed.
With yet another series victory, the Red Sox once again illustrated that they're harder to put away than a rat's nest. They just keep coming, and it's never obvious from which direction a new hero will scurry.
Martinez delivered the big blow Thursday, but it wouldn't have been possible without singles from Bobby Dalbec and Michael Chavis and the much-maligned bottom of the order to set the table in the ninth. Even though the Red Sox made three errors, they also saw shortstop Xander Bogaerts range deep into the hole to end one threat and start a pretty double play to end another.
And when they needed to slam the door, they handed the ball to closer Matt Barnes for the first time since he allowed a game-losing homer to the otherworldly Shohei Ohtani, and he responded by striking out the side with 98 mph heat.
More than a quarter of the way through the season, the Red Sox refuse to relinquish their grip on first place despite playing in one of baseball's toughest divisions, with the punishing Jays, the surging Rays, and the sleeping giants in New York.
"We're not supposed to be here," said manager Alex Cora. "Not too many people thought we were going to be in first place probably at all this season. We just keep playing hard, keep playing good baseball, and keep moving on."
Cora noted that even after Ohtani shocked them on Sunday to deny a Red Sox sweep, the club didn't act like it had taken "a punch to the stomach." Nor did anyone fret after getting blown out of the opener vs. the Jays in Dunedin, Fla. a day later.
The Red Sox responded by winning the next two to take the series in dramatic fashion on Thursday.
"What an amazing win," Cora said. "What a great game. What a big-league W."
If you're still on the fence, it's understandable. The Red Sox were terrible last year and they don't seem to field the most dominant team, not with a top-heavy offense, a struggling bullpen, and multiple no-name starters.
But there's just something about this group. They discover a new hero every night. They fear no one. They grind like the Ice Bowl Packers.
And they never, ever think they're out of a game, which they proved once again on Thursday night. Maybe we should stop questioning it and just see where the ride takes us.
"It's incredible what these guys can do, but it's what we've been doing," said starter Nick Pivetta. "It's what we're capable of. It's what's going to keep happening."