The Red Sox captured their first win of the 2012 season on Monday, taking down the Blue Jays in Toronto with a ninth-inning rally spurred on by Dustin Pedroia.
The victory was much more than just the first W in the win column, though. Pedroia's emergence as team leader was evident as the game wore on, as he motivated his team to keep fighting and almost willed them to the win.
Boston manager Bobby Valentine was excited by the win and especially his team's unwavering desire to take home the victory. Valentine was quite direct in expressing his pleasure with the Red Sox' determination after the game.
"Great effort by a team of men that never said die," Valentine said with a slight smirk of the late-inning rally.
Boston's comeback allowed Valentine his first taste of sweet satisfaction with the Red Sox, a moment he relished for only a moment in the clubhouse afterward.
Valentine's words completely encompass the type of effort Pedroia put forth in Monday's 4-2 win.
The All-Star second baseman went 2-for-4 on the night with both hits — a home run in the sixth and a leadoff double in the ninth — coming in his final two at-bats.The ninth-inning double was a blooper to left field that looked like a sure single, but the energetic enigma, Pedroia, rounded first without hesitation and slid in ahead of the tag at second base.
The move proved especially important, as Pedey scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly just one batter later and incited a rally that saw five baserunners and three runs en route to the Red Sox win.
While Valentine spoke of "never saying die" after the game, Pedroia spent the entire nine innings prior living out those words. If the Red Sox were idly waiting for someone to spark the fire over the first three games, then Pedroia's performance on Monday surely should've done the trick.