August has been quite the roller-coaster ride for Brock Holt.
Earlier this month, the Boston Red Sox utility man lost his junior baseball college coach Derwood “Pops” Penney at the age of 78. Holt left the Sox to attend services and homered in his first game back with the club.
Since then, Holt has been playing some of his best baseball and he added the latest chapter to his hot streak Saturday night. Holt’s solo shot to lead off the ninth inning served as the difference-maker in Boston’s 5-4 win over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Holt turned on a first-pitch fastball, nudging it over the right-field wall.
“Just try and get a good pitch to hit, they have been pitching me tough the last two nights.” Holt told NESN’s Jahmai Webster, as seen on “Red Sox Extra Innings.” “So, just looking for a good pitch. Got a good fastball and was just barely able to squeak it out.”
It was Holt’s second home run in his last four games, and it was his second game-winning hit in a week after walking things off in the Sox’s continued game against the Kansas City Royals (although, technically, that counts as Aug. 7). Over his last 10 games, he is batting .333 with four extra-base hits.
Holt credits work in the cage for his recent success at the plate.
“I don’t know, man, I’m feeling good. Offensively, doing work in the cage and my swing feels good right now,” Holt said. “I kinda got on a little roll toward the end of the year last year. So, hopefully I can continue to put together good at-bats and help us out.”
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Red Sox-Padres game:
— Boston did not get what it was looking for from Nathan Eovaldi.
In his second start since returning to the rotation, the right-hander went three-plus innings, allowing two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and a walk. He was lifted after 64 pitches, the last being sent into the right stands by Eric Hosmer.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he like Eovaldi’s stuff earlier, but is asking for more from the righty as a starter.
“He grinded, the stuff was good, the command was good. I think, I don’t know, we’ll check with him, seems like the stuff was a tick down in that (fourth) inning. But we’re trying to stretch him out. He’s gonna be needed to go deeper into the game.”
— The bullpen was by no means bad, tossing six innings and allowing just two runs, but it did rack up its 24th blown save of the season, tied for the most in the majors.
— Brandon Workman continued to anchor down the ninth inning, a role he has embraced rather well.
It was a bit of an adventure, which featured two walks. But he came back to cap it off with a strikeout of Hosmer on a nasty breaking pitch.
— Andrew Benintendi was removed from the game in the sixth after feeling some tightness in his left side, according to Cora.
Cora reported that he is “day-to-day,” and will not play in the series finale Sunday.