Garrett Whitlock typically is a smooth operator on the baseball field, but the Red Sox right-hander briefly strayed from the norm Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
Boston called on Whitlock to record the final three outs in its series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays. After inducing an Alejandro Kirk groundout to start the ninth inning, Whitlock got Raimel Tapia to put one on the ground to the right side. Bobby Dalbec dove to smother the hard-hit grounder and threw over to first virtually from his backside.
Dalbec’s throw was a little off-line, which caused Whitlock to go down and grab it. The second-year reliever managed to catch the baseball, awkwardly slid toward the bag and ultimately recorded the out. Whitlock, with a hole in his left pant leg, stayed in the game and only needed two more pitches to lock down a 2-1 Red Sox win.
After the game, Whitlock was asked when he last did that kind of damage to his pants on the diamond.
“Probably high school, that’s for sure,” Whitlock told reporters. “Yeah, I mean, Bobby made an amazing play, trying to get over there and cover bases and everything. Just glad we got the out. That was about as unathletic as I could ever look.”
Not every win is going to be pretty. And when it comes to taking down a divisional opponent — especially the American League East favorite Blue Jays — the Red Sox surely will take victories any way they can get them.