10 in '10: Top Sox stories in 2010

December, 29, 2010
12/29/10
11:02
AM ET
There were plenty of big Red Sox stories in 2010 and we've picked 10 of the most memorable:

10. April 20 -- Darnell McDonald homers in his first Sox AB, then adds a walk-off hit.

The Red Sox summoned McDonald from Pawtucket, then stashed him in a nearby hotel because they weren't sure if they would need him to play. But with both Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron hurt and unable to go, McDonald was told to show up in the Sox clubhouse.

The former No. 1 draft pick had toiled for 13 seasons but had played just 68 games in the big leagues. None would be sweeter than this one. The 31-year-old hit a pinch-hit home run to tie the game in the eighth inning in his first Sox at-bat, then singled off the Monster in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Texas Rangers.

"I couldn't write a script any better than this,'' McDonald said. "A lot happened real quick tonight. A dream come true.''

9. Aug. 9 -- Daniel Bard: Bases loaded, six pitches, two whiffs in Yankee Stadium.

The Red Sox were hanging by a thread in the AL East. Having lost the previous two games, the Sox had fallen seven games behind the Bombers, and now the Yankees had loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh inning against left-hander Jon Lester. Lester struck out Curtis Granderson for the inning's first out, then manager Terry Francona called for Bard.

Bard threw six pitches, none slower than 98 miles an hour, to strike out Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher.

"I can't imagine it getting any more intense," Bard said. "The season's on the line for us a little bit."

b>8. June 12 -- Daniel Nava hits a grand slam on the first pitch he sees in the big leagues

"I guess it's pretty ridiculous,'' Nava said, perfectly summing up the improbability of this delicious moment at Fenway Park. A kid who was cut from his college team and washed uniforms as the team manager, an undrafted signee from an independent league team, a guy who didn't make anybody's top prospect list, became just the third player in modern major league history to hit a grand slam in his first big league plate appearance. On national TV, no less.

"I'm about to start crying,'' Francona said afterward. "I guess I'm getting old.''

Click HERE to read the rest of this story. Also, check out our photo galleries of the best and worst moments of 2010 in Boston sports.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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