Alex Cora went for the kill by bringing in Chris Sale during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the Boston Red Sox’s American League Division Series against the New York Yankees.
With the Sox holding a 4-1 lead, Cora called on his ace, and probable Game 5 starter, to record three outs and get the ball to closer Craig Kimbrel.
Sale mowed down the Yankees on 13 pitches during the eighth, and Kimbrel nailed down the save, after allowing two runs and giving every Red Sox fan a heart attack, to send Boston to the American League Championship Series.
Cora has been lauded for pulling all the right levers during this season, and the Sale move looked to be the latest example, except it wasn’t the manager’s idea.
After Boston’s Game 4 win at Yankee Stadium, Sale revealed he told Cora he wanted the ball out of the bullpen if the opportunity arose, he just wasn’t sure if the skipper took him seriously.
“I told him and walked away and he started laughing, so I didn’t know if that was a good or a bad thing, but it worked out,” Sale said, via ESPN’s Dave Schoenfield.
The move could have backfired had the Red Sox blown the lead and wasted some of Sale’s valuable bullets before a winner-take-all Game 5. But everything has worked out in Cora’s favor so far this season, and now he’ll turn to his ace in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros.