Boston Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon had been mired in a season-long slump.
Coming into Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, Leon had six hits in his last 49 at-bats and had begun to lose playing time to Christian Vazquez.
But Leon responded with a 3-for-5 performance Saturday, including a home run, and he continued swinging a hot bat Sunday.
Leon had a similar outing in his second game with Boston in 2016, also against the Twins. The 28-year-old catcher went 4-for-5 with two RBI at Target Field on June 11, 2016, his second game after being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.
And just when it looked like Leon’s playing time could be diminishing, he lit up Target Field once again.
“You know it was in this ballpark last year, I think he was 5-for-5,” manager John Farrell said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage.”And he kind of took off and gained a tremendous amount of confidence. He’s swinging the bat with a lot of confidence now. The two-run homer as we responded to their four-run inning, that might be the swing of the game.”
Farrell also noted that playing time at catcher will be determined by which player is hitting his stride offensively.
“We’re fortunate enough to not drop off in any way defensively, maybe you can afford the ability to ride the hot bat, and Sandy is swinging it, much like Vazqy was 10 days ago.”
Here are more notes from Sunday’s Red Sox vs. Twins game.
— Sunday’s game marked just the third time since 1982 that both starters entered the game with an ERA under 1.40 in a minimum of six starts. Ervin Santana’s was 0.66 coming into Sunday and Chris Sale’s was 1.38 prior to game time.
— The Red Sox have scored six or more runs in back-to-back games for the first time all season.
— Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts extended his hit streak to 11 games Sunday.
— The Red Sox have hit 20 home runs in their last 14 games after hitting seven in their first 17 games.
— Sox closer Craig Kimbrel got out of an eighth-inning jam when he struck out Joe Mauer on a called third strike.
At that point, it was a one-run game, and Mauer wasn’t happy with the called third strike.
Kimbrel called the strike call “a little generous” on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage.
— The 10 runs the Red Sox scored in the ninth inning Sunday were the most runs scored in a single inning in franchise history.
Thumbnail photo via Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY Sports Images