Spring training walk-off wins are weird. But the Boston Red Sox will take them.
The Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 in 10 innings Sunday at JetBlue Park after Deven Marrero knocked in the game-winning run by planting a ball off the Monster in left field.
It’s always somewhat strange when a team wins a spring training game via a walk-off hit, as the occasion calls for a celebration that’s a little more excessive than usual, yet it’s important not to go overboard because it’s still an exhibition contest, after all. But hey, what can you do?
Let’s dive into some notes from Sunday.
— Brian Johnson is a treat. He works fast, and who doesn’t love that?
He’s also strengthening his case for an early season call-up if the Red Sox need an additional starter. The left-hander worked through some dinks and dunks for another quality outing Sunday.
Johnson allowed two earned runs on six hits over four innings. He struck out three, walked two and his spring ERA now sits at 2.93.
— Rusney Castillo continues to add even more intrigue to the Red Sox’s outfield situation.
Castillo theoretically could open the season in the minors, but he certainly looks major league ready. The 27-year-old made an impact both offensively and defensively Sunday, which strengthened his case for breaking camp with Boston.
Castillo, playing right field, made an excellent sliding catch in foul territory in the top of the 10th inning. Rays baserunner Cade Gotta tried to tag up and score from third base, but Castillo popped up and fired a perfect throw home to prevent the go-ahead run from crossing the dish.
“It turned out to be a good play,” Castillo told reporters through a translator after the game. “I’m always kind of anticipating that kind of thing to happen. When you have a man on third in a big situation, you hope you can make a play like that and execute it. Fortunately it went our way.”
Shane Victorino figures to be the Red Sox’s starting right fielder to open the season, but Castillo, who previously had been viewed primarily as a center fielder, has shown he can play the position quite well.
“If there was a question of whether he could play right field, he’s answered it,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters.
Castillo singled and scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the frame. He showed nice awareness on the base paths before scoring the run by tagging up and advancing to third base on a fly ball to center field.
— Dalier Hinojosa (two innings), Edward Muijca, Tommy Layne, Junichi Tazawa and Jess Todd combined to throw six scoreless innings in relief of Johnson.
— Jackie Bradley Jr., who collected another hit, keeps flashing encouraging signs. He’s hitting .385 this spring.
— Clay Buchholz was named the Red Sox’s Opening Day starter before the game. Rick Porcello is scheduled to pitch Boston’s second game of the season.
Thumbnail photo via The Associated Press