Facing deficits, Boston hasn’t spearheaded the comebacks. But in Tuesday’s 5-1 victory, the offense still showed a penchant for overcoming obstacles, delivering a scoring five runs total in the seventh and eighth innings to rally for the win.
Unlike last week — when he was mired in a slump — Dustin Pedroia was a key cog in the comeback, uncorking a two-run single to center field with the bases loaded. It was Pedroia’s lone hit, but first one in a while in a clutch situation.
“It’s been so long since he’s been in that opportunity late in the game where he can win the game,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. “It presented itself and he drove the runs in. That really gives us strength.”
It took savvy plays from other teammates to allow that opportunity to unfold. Three batters beforehand, Ryan Kalish battled through an 0-2 count against Toronto reliever Luis Perez and ripped a double.
After Daniel Nava was hit by a pitch, Mike Aviles showcased uncharacteristic plate discipline. Having drawn just nine bases on balls entering Tuesday, the Red Sox shortstop managed to work a six-pitch walk.
“I told myself, ‘Make sure his sinker starts at the belt because anything below the belt, it’s going to fall down,'” Aviles said. “That’s what it looked like his sinker was doing, starting mid-thigh and ending up mid-shin. I got a couple of pitches I could see right out of his hand and I was able to spit on them, thankfully.”
That execution resulted in a bases-loaded opportunity for Pedroia, which the Red Sox second baseman capitalized on by shaking off his slump and continuing his recent hot streak.
“I have a short memory,” said Pedroia , who has seven hits in his last four games. “Obviously, in baseball there’s times you’re not going to come through and there’s times where you’re going to come through. When I don’t, I don’t get too upset. When I do, I don’t get too happy.”
It was the little plays that highlighted Tuesday’s win. Along with Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s solo shot in the seventh inning, the Red Sox relied on clutch plays late in the game to bounce back from a deficit.
They haven’t recently converted in that fashion, but it was enough to rise above the Blue Jays’ late, one-run lead.