It was Christian Arroyo’s night Wednesday at Truist Park.
With the Boston Red Sox down 7-6 and the bases loaded in the seventh inning against the Atlanta Braves, manager Alex Cora opted to pull Danny Santana and insert Arroyo as the pinch-hitter.
So, how did Arroyo stay so locked in during a big moment?
“It’s that cliché ‘stay ready so you don’t have to get ready,’ Arroyo told NESN’s Jahmai Webster, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “In the fourth inning it looked like Garrett (Richards’) outing was going pretty good. After his second at-bat, we didn’t really know what was gonna happen. Obviously in these NL games when the pitcher hits it gets a little dicey. … I knew it was gonna be either me, Kiké (Hernández) against the lefty or Danny. … The biggest thing was I got into the box and sometimes the heat of the moment kind of gets to you. (I) swung at the first pitch cutter, I never faced Minser before. … He threw me a really, really good first pitch cutter. After I saw it, he threw me another one fouled it off. And then after that I was like, ‘Hey you need to calm down. It’s bases loaded, we’re down one, all you need is a single here.’ Fortunate enough to see the pitch up, fortunate enough to put a really good vswing on it. And fortunate enough for it to leave the ballpark.”
Arroyo then was told his grand slam traveled 467 feet.
“What? What? 467 feet?,” he said in disbelief. “Dang. Didn’t know I had that in me.”
He certainly did have it in him, and it ended up being what helped the Red Sox to victory.
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Braves game:
— The Red Sox also won 10-8 on Tuesday night, and according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, that makes them the first team in Major League Baseball this year to win consecutive games despite giving up at least eight runs.
The last Red Sox team to do so? The 2013 squad.
— Christian Vázquez suddenly left the game with what the team called a stomach illness. Alex Cora provided a lighthearted update afterwards.
“Christian is OK,” he said over Zoom. “He’s OK. He feels a lot lighter now than earlier today.” Cora laughed before saying, “He’s gonna kill me for that one.”
— Garrett Richards had a rough outing, but he did contribute on the offensive side when he roped a double to center field.
Still, he surrendered seven hits and gave up four earned runs. Richards even plunked two batters — something he rarely does. After the game he was blunt about Major League Baseball’s new rules on cracking down on foreign substances and how it impacted his start Wednesday.
“I think tonight spoke for itself,” he said over Zoom. “I’m not going to get caught up in it all, but I’ll definitely say it’s starting to affect people, people and their careers. We’re going to follow the rules, but this is the game you’re going to get. You’re going to see some interesting things. Be prepared for four-hour long games. …”
Richards also noted he mainly threw fastballs Wednesday because the rosin bag is “useless,” so he could not grip the ball properly.
— The Red Sox played 17 games in the last 17 days and went 10-7.
“We grinded through it,” Cora said. For how ugly it looked, I know a lot of teams will take 10-7 in a 17-stretch against teams that made it to the playoffs last year.”
— Boston now enjoys a much-needed off day Thursday before continuing its road trip Friday against the Kansas City Royals. First pitch from Kauffman Stadium is set for for 8:10 p.m. ET.