Jarren Duran, Tanner Houck Performances Have Alex Cora Thinking Big Picture

Houck got the start and Duran came away with an electric play for the offense

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The Boston Red Sox were led by the less-experienced in their 4-1 win against the Toronto Blue Jays, the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.

And it has Red Sox manager Alex Cora thinking about the big picture.

Starting pitcher Tanner Houck went four innings in a seven-inning victory only to be relieved by fellow “rookie” Garrett Whitlock, who pitched the next two innings. Oh yeah, and then there was the electric fourth-inning hit by Jarren Duran — ruled a triple and an error — which gave Boston its eventual 4-1 verdict.

Major contributions from three rookies for a team that holds a lead in the American League East. It’s certainly not a bad recipe, and Cora knows it.

“Yeah, those are always fun because I know a lot of people thought we were thin organizational wise,” Cora told reporters on a postgame video conference. “When you’re successful, like this organization was for three years, of course you’re going to be thin in the upper levels. But all these kids, except obviously Garrett (Whitlock), they were a part of the organization a few years ago. (it’s) just a matter of you have to be patient. They were in the lower levels, they were developing. but they’re really good.

“Look around, Bobby (Dalbec), Jarren (Duran), Tanner (Houck), Darwinzon (Hernandez), they’ve been here for a while. Now they’ve graduated and now they’re performing at the level we expected a few years ago. You just have to be patient.”

Houck struck out seven batters while allowing one earned run on two hits in four innings. Duran was 1-for-2 with a pair of RBIs and one run scored. Both players were called up right after the MLB All-Star break.

Whitlock, a mainstay throughout the 2021 season, continued his dominant ways. He did not give up a run while allowing three hits in two innings of relief work. He threw 22 of his 30 pitches for strikes.

“We’re in a great situation here,” Cora said. “I know there’s a lot of stuff going on around the league but the fact we are where we are, we drafted fourth in the draft, we probably drafted the best athlete of the draft and we still exploring stuff to get better at this level. And in the minor leagues, it’s good. Hopefully it’s the last time we draft that high, but it’s the nature of where we are at, it’s the reality and we’re taking advantage of it.”

The Red Sox, who improved to 63-40 on the season Wednesday, can take the season series against the Blue Jays on Thursday when they return to Fenway Park for the final game of their four-game set.

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