Red Sox Notes: What Alex Cora Told Boston Amid Rocky First Inning

The manager gave his team a much-needed wake-up call

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The Red Sox nearly let Saturday’s 6-4 win slip away more than once.

Boston watched it’s 3-2 lead evaporate in the eighth inning after the Baltimore Orioles’ offense found a small spark. The O’s wound up taking a 4-3 lead, but Boston knotted the game at four in the ninth before collecting two unanswered runs in the 10th.

The first instance, though, came in the very first inning after the Sox opened up a 2-0 lead at the top of the frame. Garrett Richards gave up back-to-back solo home runs to Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander, and Rafael Devers failed to put the inning away after catching and appearing to react as though it was the third out.

It was not Devers’ only mistake of the first either. He was caught in a run down with two-out in top half of the inning, though Xander Bogaerts did manage to score beforehand.

It was Devers’ confusing defensive move, though, that led Alex Cora to speak up early. The manager held a quick meeting in the infield following the play, but Devers’ apparent brain fart was not the topic of conversation.

Instead, Cora focused on the team’s mentality as a whole.

“It felt like that first inning was going fast, right?” Cora said during his postgame press conference. “The fake steal, scoring from second, the run down — it was great for us but I was like, ‘What’s going on here?’ And for some reason, Raffy didn’t tag the runner and it was just one of those (things) where I wanted to slow the game down. It felt like everything was going fast. … Even myself, I had to slow down a little bit early on. It was a message of, ‘We’ve got nine innings. If we play it this way, it’s going to be too fast for us. So we did a good job out there tonight.”

Of course, Boston was not perfect the rest of the night. But Cora is happy with his team’s resilience.

“It?s a good vibe,” Cora said. “We?ve got a bunch of good baseball players. That?s the way I see it. I know a lot of people don?t feel like we?ve got superstars, but I like my bunch. It?s a good baseball team.”

Here are some more notes from Saturday’s Red Sox-Orioles game

— Despite his key ninth-inning RBI, Bobby Dalbec still has had a slow start to the season.

The first baseman is hitting just .095 through Boston’s first eight games. He has just two RBIs and no home runs this season.

But Dalbec was encouraged by his performance Saturday and hopes it will help him continue to build up his confidence.

“I think in my last two at-bats, I felt good with my body and the feel of it,” Dalbec said during his postgame presser. “I felt like I was starting to get back to normal.

“… The hits will come,” he later added. “I’m happy to get an RBI there (in the ninth inning) and put the team in a position to win the game, so I’m not worried about if I got a hit on it … or not. I’m just trying to help the team win games, whether its defensively, hustling or anything like that.”

But Cora was proud of what Dalbec accomplished Saturday.

“He’s a little bit down, obviously,” Cora said. “He’s not swinging the bat the way he’s capable of, but he took some tough change ups and put one in play, and good things happen.”

— The Red Sox now are in first place for the first time since 2018.

— Boston has scored six-plus runs on 10-plus hits in each of their last five games, according to Red Sox Notes.

— Saturday’s victory marked the Red Sox’s fourth come-from-behind win of the 2021 Major League Baseball season.

— The Sox will attempt to sweep the series Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards. First pitch is slated for 1:05 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images

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