Red Sox Notes: Mike Carp Giving Boston Comfort In Late-Game Situations

Mike CarpBOSTON — The Red Sox won three games during their 10-game homestand. All three were walk-off victories.

Mike Carp delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning Thursday as the Red Sox capped their lengthy stretch at Fenway Park with a thrilling win over the Chicago White Sox. Boston certainly expected better than a 3-7 record entering the homestand, but back-to-back wins helped the club save face.

The Red Sox now head to Houston for three games against the Astros before the All-Star break. It’s an important series, as the Red Sox continue to cling to life despite sitting 10 games below .500 (41-51)

Let’s go over some notes from Thursday.

– Jon Lester closed out his first half in impressive fashion despite earning a no-decision.

Lester struck out 12 and didn’t walk anyone over seven innings of one-run ball. The left-hander allowed seven hits but made big pitches when necessary and put the Red Sox into a position to win.

“Probably the best curveball he’s had in a long time,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game. “The number of strikeouts, the number of swing-and-miss (and) his overall strike percentage was outstanding once again.”

One could argue — and one did — that Lester is in the midst of his best season to date.

– The Red Sox didn’t produce a baserunner until the sixth inning, as Jose Quintana completely dominated Boston for the first five frames.

Things unraveled in the sixth inning for Quintana, though. He issued back-to-back walks to Stephen Drew and David Ross before Jackie Bradley Jr. broke up the no-hitter with a game-tying, RBI single into right field.

The Red Sox scored three runs in the sixth inning, as David Ortiz added a two-run double.

– Two-run lead, ninth inning, Koji Uehara. Game over, right?

Well, Conor Gillaspie, who torched the Red Sox all series, ripped a pinch-hit, two-run homer to tie the game.

The White Sox successfully challenged a play at first base two batters before Gillaspie’s blast. Alexei Ramirez initially was ruled out on a play with Uehara covering the bag, but the call was overturned.

– Uehara owns a 4.50 ERA (six earned runs over 12 innings) since June 18. He has surrendered four home runs in that span.

Uehara owns a 2.95 ERA in 17 day games this season, as opposed to a 0.71 ERA in 25 night games.

– Daniel Nava, who scored the game-winning run Wednesday, did so again Thursday.

Nava, pinch-hitting for Jonny Gomes, led off the bottom of the 10th with a walk. Mookie Betts dropped down a sacrifice bunt, after which the White Sox intentionally walked Stephen Drew — a .128 hitter this season — to set up a showdown with Carp, who pinch-hit for David Ross.

Carp singled into left field to give Boston its second consecutive walk-off win.

– Carp only has three at-bats since returning from the disabled list after missing more than a month with a broken foot, yet Farrell insists there’s an added comfort knowing he’s available to serve in that late-game, pinch-hit role.

It’s a role Carp accepts and has thrived in, dating back to last season.

“It’s just great to come through in a pinch-hit situation — a crucial situation,” Carp said. “It’s a tough gig to be expected to get the hit there. It’s nice to even it out.”

– Shane Victorino went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts — one looking, one swinging — in a rehab game with Low-A Lowell. He also played five innings in right field.

– Wednesday marked a special anniversary.

– The Red Sox issued a press release Thursday mourning the passing of Don Lenhardt, a longtime member of the organization.

Lenhardt, who died at age 91, spent time with the Red Sox as a player, a first base coach and a scout, retiring in 2012.

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