BOSTON (AP) – Nick Green surprised the Boston Red Sox by
overcoming long odds to make the team. On Sunday, he was surprised that his
homer won the game.

The shortstop who went to spring training as a
non-roster player but is now the starter hit the first pitch in the bottom of
the ninth just inside the right-field foul pole 302 feet from home

“I didn’t even comprehend the fact that I swung at the first pitch
and it was a walk-off” homer, he said after a 6-5 win over the Atlanta Braves on
a windy, misty afternoon. “I hit second base and everybody is standing at home
plate and then I realized what was going on.”

His jubilant teammates had
poured out of the dugout when he hit Jeff Bennett’s first pitch of the game for
his fourth homer. They mobbed him when he reached the plate.

“He’s really
done a good job,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “It’s gotten to the point
where he’s just been a really good player, not a really good non-roster player,
a really good major-league player.”

Green, who took advantage of his
opportunity when shortstops Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie were hurt, is hitting .293
in 52 of the team’s 69 games.


Not bad for a 30-year-old who had just one
full season in the majors in his 10-year pro career before this

“I thought I hit it decent to right field but I thought it was
going to be an out because the wind was so bad,” Green said. “Fortunately, it
was blowing to right and the wind blew it right where it needed to

Jonathan Papelbon (1-1) loaded the bases in the ninth but ended the
threat by striking out Matt Diaz. Bennett (2-4) was Atlanta’s fourth

The Braves rallied twice to tie the game.

“We did
everything but win,” Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. “We had more line shots
than we did all year long, at people, with men on, too.”

In the eighth, Kelly Johnson led off with a double and
scored on Garret Anderson’s single, making it 5-5.


In the seventh,
Atlanta scored twice to tie the game at 4. Singles by Anderson, Martin Prado and
Gregor Blanco produced one run. Ramon Ramirez replaced starter Tim Wakefield and
allowed a tying single to Nate McLouth.

J.D. Drew gave Boston a
short-lived 5-4 lead with an RBI single in the seventh one pitch after he took a
pitch that appeared to be over the plate for a third strike. Cox came out of the
dugout, argued and was thrown out by plate umpire Bill Hohn. So were pitcher
Eric O’Flaherty and third baseman Chipper Jones.

It was the major-league
leading 145th ejection for Cox and his second of the year. Hall of Famer John
McGraw is second with 131.

“It was a ball that was right down the middle
for strike three. It was obvious,” Cox said. “He blew the call and it upsets
guys when it costs you games. And it cost us the ballgame.”

allowed Brian McCann’s two-run double in the first. The Red Sox went ahead with
three runs in the first off Jair Jurrjens.

Dustin Pedroia doubled and
took third on an error when Jurrjens bobbled Kevin Youkilis’ grounder. Jason Bay
hit a sacrifice fly and David Ortiz gave the Red Sox a 3-2 lead with his sixth
homer of the season, a two-run shot.


A misplay that fell for a hit in the
fourth led to Boston’s fourth run.

Ortiz led off with a pop fly.
Shortstop Yunel Escobar and Jones looked at each other and the ball dropped
between them with neither touching it.

“It was a strong wind blowing. I
just assumed that he was going to take it,” Jones said. “It ended up costing us
a run.”

Ortiz took second when Mark Kotsay was out on a tapper to catcher
McCann and third on Jacoby Ellsbury’s single. George Kottaras followed with a
sacrifice fly.

NOTES: Wakefield missed a chance to join Toronto’s Roy
Halladay and Minnesota’s Kevin Slowey as the only two 10-game winners in the
majors. … Jurrjens allowed two earned runs in 6 1-3 innings. He is 0-3 in his
last four starts since his most recent win, May 29 at Arizona. … Boston 3B
Mike Lowell got his second straight day off before the Red Sox are off Monday.
Lowell, who had offseason hip surgery, has played in 65 of the team’s 69 games.
… Ortiz has 295 homers and 999 RBIs in his career. … Anderson was 6 for 10
with a double and five RBIs in the three-game series.

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