Jonathan Herrera’s Bat-Handling Key; Other Notes From Red Sox’s Win

Jonathan HerreraBOSTON — The Red Sox pulled out another close one Saturday.

The Red Sox have won three of their last four games, and all three wins have been nail biters. Boston’s victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday required a clutch hit in the seventh inning.

Saturday was a rather eventful game — particularly from the sixth inning on — so perhaps it represents a win the Red Sox can use to carry momentum into the final five games of their current seven-game homestand.

Before shifting gears to Sunday night’s matchup between Jake Peavy and Ubaldo Jimenez, let’s go over some tidbits from Saturday’s action.

– Felix Doubront pitched very well, especially after the first inning.

Doubront allowed two runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked two while throwing a season-high 107 pitches.

Doubront received a no-decision, but he retired 13 in a row at one point and was in control for most of his outing.

“I think today he went out with a little bit more of a mindset of just attacking the strike zone rather than thinking about delivery or arm angle or arm slot,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “It was just more executing pitches.”

– David Ortiz crushed his 434th career home run in the fourth inning, moving him into a tie for 42nd place on the all-time home run list.

– The Orioles tied the game in the sixth inning on an overturned call, adding to interesting first season of expanded replay for the Red Sox.

Nelson Cruz hit a two-out chopper to third base with runners at first and third. Brock Holt fielded it on the back hand and fired a one-hopper across the diamond for what initially was the inning’s final out. Orioles manager Buck Showalter challenged the play, contesting that Cruz beat Holt’s throw. The umpires determined Cruz indeed was safe, and the initial call was overturned, resulting in a run.

– The seventh inning was eventful.

David Ross and Bud Norris exchanged words after the Orioles right-hander threw a couple of pitches up and in as Ross tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt. The benches cleared, although no punches were thrown.

Ross said after the game he probably said some things he shouldn’t have. The Orioles vowed to not back down from the Red Sox.

Ross ended up striking out once order was restored, but Holt delivered a clutch RBI triple to give Boston a 3-2 lead. Jonathan Herrera extended the lead with a perfectly executed safety squeeze.

– Holt really has provided a spark since being recalled before Friday’s game.

– Herrera executed a similar bunt play in Thursday’s win over the Chicago White Sox. That really speaks to Herrera’s offensive ability, which — although not flashy — gives the Red Sox some late-game options.

“We were well-aware of the type of offensive player he was,” Farrell said. “The bat control is there, (he’s a) switch-hitter (who) can do pretty much the same type of offensive approach from both sides of the plate. He’s a very good player that takes advantage of his skills and doesn’t try to overswing the bat in most situations.”

– Junichi Tazawa (who earned the win) and Koji Uehara (who earned the save) again were excellent.

– Of the Red Sox’s 18 games this season, 10 have been decided by two runs or fewer. Boston is 6-4 in those games.

– Shane Victorino played in his first rehab game with Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday. He went 0-for-3 and played six defensive innings in right field.

Photo via Twitter/@BostonGlobe

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