Alex Verdugo gave the Boston Red Sox a 4-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday courtesy of a walk-off single.
The line drive to right field scored Taylor Motter, who was pinch-running for Rafael Devers after a walk. J.D. Martinez was intentionally walked to bring Verdugo to the plate — and that clearly was a mistake on the part of Indians pitcher Alex Young.
After the game, Verdugo walked reporters through the at-bat, which lasted five pitches and ended on a 1-2 count. Here’s what he said via Zoom:
I think the scariest one was probably the first pitch, just right down first base. I was kind of like, ‘Go foul, go foul, stay foul, stay foul, OK,’ And then after that I swung through a cutter. I felt like it was a good swing. Obviously was looking for it in, and it kind of leaked back over so I didn’t get that.
After that I saw (Alex Cora) just tell me this right here, like “Calm down, relax,” and that was a big thing for me. It helped me settle down, helped me relax, and just kind of realize like “Hey, I can go oppo, I have time.” Those swings right there I was obviously out in front and came off the ball a slight early. I think the third pitch he threw a cutter, I ended up seeing it very well. I saw it, took it, it was outside. That just gave me confidence. It was like, alright, I got more time than I even thought.
That last pitch I wasn’t trying to pull it. I wasn’t trying to do anything. I was just trying to see the ball deep, see it a strike and put a short direct swing on it. I was able to get the barrel to it and walk it off.
Because Verdugo was able to stay alive in an 0-2 count, the Red Sox won their fourth game in a row, won the series against Cleveland with a game still to play and are just half a game behind the New York Yankees for the first American League Wild Card spot.
Of course, he got the proper treatment after: