Red Sox Notes: Alex Cora Praises ‘Elite’ Defense After Extra-Innings Win

'It's teamwork'


July 3, 2021

The Boston Red Sox outfield has been nothing short of amazing this season, and that trend continued Friday night in Oakland against the Athletics.

We’re sure you know by now that Hunter Renfroe leads Major League Baseball in outfield assists, but it was Kiké Hernández’s time to shine at Oakland Coliseum.

With the Red Sox up 3-2 and the tying run at third for the A’s, Sean Murphy flied out to Hernández. Seth Brown was sent from third, but Hernández’s game-saving throw could not have been more perfect as he turned the double play.

The Red Sox earned their eighth straight victory by way of a 3-2 win.

After the game, manager Alex Cora had nothing but high praise for the defense.

“The way we play defense in the outfield is elite,” Cora said over Zoom. “Let’s put it that way. I know a lot of people, they had their doubts coming into the season because we didn’t have Mookie (Betts), (Andrew Benintendi) and Jackie (Bradley Jr.). These three guys, they’re playing up there. They’re playing elite defense. They throw to the right bases, their routes are great, the communication is outstanding. Defensively, we’re one of the best outfields in the big leagues, if not the best. It was a great win.”

Cora had a feeling once the ball left Murphy’s bat that Hernández was going to make the play.

“I think he’s out. I told (third base coach) Carlos (Febles) in Spanish, ‘he’s out, he’s out, he’s out’ like five times,” Cora said. “It wasn’t deep enough, and him getting behind the ball was the key. And I was like, ‘this guys’ gonna be out.'”

Without Betts, Benintendi and Bradley, many began to wonder if the outfield would be able to fill the void left behind. They have, to say the least, and Cora credits one simple thing.

“It’s teamwork.”

As for Hernández? He’s just glad it all played out the way it did.

“I’m glad he went, and I’m glad Christian (Vázquez) caught it and he tagged him and I’m glad we won,” Hernández told NESN’s Mike Monaco right after the game, as seen on NESN.

Here are some other notes from Friday’s Red Sox-A’s game:

— Eduardo Rodriguez looked like he was back to what he was at the beginning of the season, tossing six scoreless innings while striking out six and giving up just one hit.

“I’ve been saying all along, his stuff is there,” Cora said. “It’s just about making adjustments. The pitch mix has been outstanding, and you can see it with him on the mound. There’s a lot of conviction. … He’s doing an amazing job.”

— This is Rodriguez’s first win since May 7. The southpaw suffered four straight no-decisions after as many losses.

— Rafael Devers continued to shine for Boston and was the only member of the team to amass two hits. He drove in another run to bring his league-leading total to 70.

— The Red Sox are 13-4 in their last 17 games.

— Boston can win the series Saturday afternoon with a victory. Garrett Richards, who hasn’t won since May 19, is expected to get the ball with first pitch slated for 7:15 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Neville E. Guard/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston Red Sox outfielders Kiké Hernandez, Alex Verdugo, Hunter Renfroe
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