Red Sox React To ‘Play Of Game’ After Momentum-Shifting Defensive Highlight

'Those plays make us win ball games'

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One theme seemed to be more prevalent than others as player after player sat down for their postgame press conference after the Boston Red Sox advanced past the New York Yankees following a 6-2 win in the American League Wild Card game.

It wasn’t one of the two home runs — one by Xander Bogaerts and one by Kyle Schwarber — and it wasn’t even during one of the five scoreless innings pitched by starter Nathan Eovaldi. It came in the sixth inning, after Eovaldi allowed a solo home run as the Yankees cut their deficit to 3-1, with the Red Sox defense recording the “play of the game” in the eyes of many.

“That was better than the homer for me personally,” Bogaerts said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “That changed the game. I really feel like that was one of the biggest moments of that game regardless of all the homers we hit and all the walks (seven) that we took and what not. The momentum changed right there big time.”

The momentum-changing play came as Yankees star Aaron Judge was waved around from first base on a hit off the Green Monster by Giancarlo Stanton. Red Sox center fielder Kiké Hernández played it perfectly, backing up left fielder Alex Verdugo who went for the ball off the wall. Hernández then quickly gathered it and hit Bogaerts, the cut-off man. The Red Sox shortstop then turned and fired it home as his throw beat Judge with catcher Kevin Plawecki placing the tag.

“It looked amazing,” Verdugo said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “(Kiké) was right there on it, fired it in, perfect throw to the cutoff and I mean (Bogaerts) knowing what to do with it and making a solid throw. It was unbelievable. Those plays make us win ballgames. That was huge.”

Schwarber said much of the same.

“If I could label the play of the game, that would be the play of the game for me,” the designated hitter said. “Xander cuts him down at home plate, keeps it a 3-1 game versus a 3-2 game and were able to go out there and tack on more.”

Red Sox manager Alex Cora added: “We played defense. When we play defense we’re good. … That was a great play.”

And while it was a great defensive play, it was also a questionable decision to send Judge from first base with one out — especially considering the Red Sox recorded more outfield assists than any team in Major League Baseball this season. New York could have had runners on second and third with one out if not for sending Judge, who made the second out of the inning.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone was asked about the decision and said third base coach Phil Nevin did not think Bogaerts would handle it cleanly since it looked to be an in-between hop, as seen on NESN. Boone did note the importance, though, adding how it “squashed” a potential Yankees rally.

It may have also went a long way in ending New York’s season.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, advance to the American League Division Series to play the Tampa Bay Rays. Game 1 of the ALDS is scheduled for Thursday in Tampa Bay.

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