Alex Cora elected not to play it safe Wednesday night, and his decision paid off.
With the Red Sox and Colorado Rockies deadlocked at 5-5 in the 10th inning at Fenway Park, Boston found itself in a favorable situation to secure an extra-innings win with runners on first and second with no outs. Teams often choose to bunt in this situation in hopes of moving the runners over, but Cora showed faith in a rookie by letting him take his hacks.
Michael Chavis answered the bell with a single up the middle on the first pitch he saw in the 10th. It marked the first career walk-off hit for the young slugger, who was pretty darn happy he was granted an opportunity to swing the stick.
“Standing in the box right there, I’m looking at (Red Sox third base coach Carlos) Febles and all I’m thinking is, ‘Don’t let me bunt.’ I wanted to hit,” Chavis said, per MLB.com’s Ian Browne. “So he didn’t tell me to bunt, thankfully. Got a good pitch to hit, a first-pitch cutter and didn’t try to do too much. One of the other things I was thinking was a single scores him. Don’t try and be a superhero and hit a home run or anything like that. Just need one.”
Despite making quite an impression at the plate to start his big league career, Chavis wasn’t sure he’d have the chance to swing the bat with the game on the line.
“It’s just that I don’t know who I am, dude,” Chavis said, per MassLive’s Chris Cotillo. “I’m new here. I know I can hit. I know I have power. I don’t know if I’m hitting like Michael or if I’m your seven-hole hitter. I’m just trying to do my part.”
Chavis certainly has done his part since his mid-April call-up, so much so that he’s become a fixture in the Red Sox’s lineup of late. The 23-year-old’s role still is in the making, but it’s safe to say he’s on a fast track to becoming a middle-of-the-order hitter.