One Toronto Blue Jays fan simply couldn’t stay in his seat Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre. But while he was ejected for running on the field, maybe he can find solace in knowing he made an impact on the game.
The foolish decision came in the sixth inning of the Blue Jays’ matchup with the Boston Red Sox. It was near the end of the line for David Price, who was at 93 pitches at the time the fan decided to sprint across the turf. While it initially seemed as though the Red Sox were going to try to let the left-hander finish the inning, the pause of the game caused by the streaking fan prompted manager Alex Cora to mull over his decision.
Cora ultimately opted to turn to Carson Smith once play resumed, which kickstarted a strong collective performance from the bullpen in Boston’s 5-2 win. After the game, Cora explained his choice to pull Price at the time he did.
“When the fan jumped in, it kind of gave me time for a few minutes to get ready,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “Not that I wasn’t comfortable with David against Russell (Martin), but I thought it was a good outing, and if he gets on base and, I don’t know, somebody hits a homer or something and all of a sudden we go like, ‘He’s struggling.’ But he didn’t.”
Cora, who’s been awfully candid with the media in his first season as Red Sox manager, admitted Price’s outing might have been elongated had the fan not run on the field.
“Yeah, I think … yeah,” Cora said. “Smitty was going to be ready to face the next one. When (Justin) Smoak hit the homer, I was like, ‘Get him ready, if he can, for Russell.’ It wasn’t going to put us in a bad situation the way Smitty’s throwing the ball, but I felt like right there, you know what, I’ll take him out right here and we move on.”
While Price’s outing didn’t last as long as he might have liked, it still was an encouraging performance from the southpaw. Price tossed 5 1/3 innings in which he allowed just two runs on five hits while striking out six.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Blue Jays:
— The top of the order provided half of Boston’s 12 hits. Mookie Betts went 3-for-5 with two doubles, while Andrew Benintendi matched his outfield mate by going 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI singles.
— Smith, Hector Velazquez, Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel combined to throw 3 2/3 scoreless innings in which they only allowed two hits with six strikeouts and zero walks.
— Hanley Ramirez’s sixth home run of the season came by way of a two-run shot in Boston’s three-run third inning. The veteran slugger has recorded at least one hit in seven of his last nine games and has homered in three of his last four.
— In his first start following a three-game absence, Jackie Bradley Jr. went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. After the game, Cora shed light on the center fielder’s struggles.
“Timing off, a little bit late with his front foot,” Cora said. “Work in progress. We need him to make contact, let’s be honest. I think the rhythm was better, but he’s still late with his front foot. Missed some pitches in the strike zone. We’ve got to keep working him, he’ll be out there tomorrow.”
— Price now is 18-3 in his career against the Blue Jays.
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