On Thursday night, Jonny Gomes was hurling himself into a wall and driving in runners, keying a six-run ninth inning comeback for the Red Sox. On Saturday night, he was throwing on the fly and cutting down the tying run at the plate, once again in the middle of the deciding moment.
It’s all in a day’s work for Gomes — and no one knows that better than the newest member of the Red Sox, who has seen plenty despite being in Boston less than a week.
Saturday’s winning pitcher, Jake Peavy, took a minute in his postgame comments to praise the energy and effort of Gomes, who has not coincidentally been at the center of many huge plays for the Red Sox this year.
“I told them Jonny Gomes might be my favorite player in the big leagues,” Peavy said Saturday night. “… The energy he brings on a nightly basis, I think — I don’t know how much media play it got the other night, but him running into that wall, making that play when we were down six, coming in out of the ninth, I truly think that was the spark that started it, and just making sure that we were playing to the last out.”
Gomes’ wall catch came Thursday night in the top of the ninth, when he made the grab and then barreled into the Green Monster, shaking the standings number plates above him. It was one of two big catches he made during his short time in the game, which he entered as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning.
On Saturday, he came up throwing in the top of the eighth. The Diamondbacks were threatening, with the bases loaded after Peavy gave up a single and reliever Craig Breslow hit a batter and allowed another single.
Arizona’s Aaron Hill hit a single off Junichi Tazawa that scored one run and appeared to be able to score another, but Gomes fired a pinpoint relay that catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia had no trouble slapping on a — perhaps surprised — still-standing Cliff Pennington.
“Tonight was no different, with him just taking it so personal in those bats,” Peavy said. “Obviously you see him coming up again with a huge play keeping that game on our side there. Huge play.”
Gomes also snagged a fly ball to end that inning, and the Red Sox punched through two insurance runs in the bottom of the frame to seal the game.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said Saturday that Peavy’s emotional presence on the mound, where he was demonstrable and passionate Saturday night, was “a breath of fresh air” to the Red Sox.
Maybe the left fielder is where Peavy got his fire.