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The ball hung in the air for four excruciatingly long seconds, practically taunting Andrew Bailey on its way to the bleachers in center field.
It had barely been a week since he lost his job as the Red Sox’ closer. He was taking the mound for just the second time since the demotion, but the situation was crucial.
The Sox had watched the five-run gulf between themselves and the Toronto Blue Jays in the first five innings shrink to the kind of thin lead that could disappear with one swing by the seventh, and Sox manager John Farrell called on Bailey.
“John’s showed faith in me, putting me in these situations,” Bailey said. “I’ve had success in these situations in my career.”