Kiké Hernández Ribs Christian Vázquez After Walk-Off Sacrifice Fly

A substitution changed Hernández's ninth-inning approach

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Kiké Hernández knew he didn’t have to do too much when he stepped into the batter’s box in the ninth inning Monday night.

Well, he came to that realization after the Red Sox made a personnel change.

Hernández took to the plate with one out, runners on the corners and Boston only in need of one run to advance to the American League Championship Series. Christian Vázquez stood on third as the potential game- and series-winning run, but he was replaced by a more fleet-of-foot Danny Santana.

All Hernández needed to do to eliminate the Tampa Bay Rays was lift a fly ball relatively deep into the outfield, which is exactly what he did. But Boston’s center fielder wasn’t so sure that would have been true had Vázquez not been pinch-run for.

“First off, that at-bat, runners on the corners, one out, series-winning run at third base. As I was about to walk to the plate, they called Christian back to the dugout, and they brought in Danny,” Hernández told reporters Monday, as transcribed by ASAP Sports. “That took a little bit of pressure off because obviously they’re different types of runners. At the time, I was like a homer scores Christian.”

For what it’s worth, Vázquez showed off some pretty quick feet after Hernández drove a fly ball into left-center field. The veteran catcher was one of the first Red Sox players out of the dugout to celebrate the team’s second walk-off win as many days.

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