Franchy Cordero was the hero the Red Sox needed Sunday afternoon as the slugger belted a walk-off grand slam into the right field seats to lift Boston to an 8-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.
Cordero, who continues to earn his spot in Boston after being called up from Triple-A Worcester three weeks ago, had both manager Alex Cora and Red Sox teammates thrilled for him following the victory.
“He’s great. And there’s a lot of guys in that clubhouse that they’re very happy,” Cora said of Cordero, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Very quietly, he brings a lot of joy to the team, a lot of energy. … Last year wasn’t great, we designated him for assignment, but were happy that he was back with us. And from the Dominican Republic to spring training, you can see it. He’s doing an outstanding job controlling the zone and we’re very proud of him.”
Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi was happy to see Cordero come through in a big moment, too. Eovadli said how Sunday’s celebration is a reminder of how the Red Sox do a really good job of “celebrating the little things.”
“We all saw the struggles he had last year, and to see him be able to turn it around this year and come in, he’s playing first base, outfield — AC (Cora) always does that with guys. If they’re hitting, he finds a spot for you to be in the lineup,” Eovaldi said, as seen on NESN. “He’s having quality at bats whether he’s getting walks or getting the big hit. So everybody is a fan of him and we’re happy that he’s having the success he is.”
Cordero helped Boston earn its fifth straight win, which included a four-game sweep of Seattle. The utility man entered Sunday batting .273 with a .759 OPS in the previous seven games.
“He’s been swinging the bat well,” Cora said. “He had some opportunities early on and hit the ball hard to first, just staying with his approach. And that was good to see.”
Here are more notes on Sunday’s Red Sox-Mariners game:
— Cordero’s 419-foot grand slam to right field helped Boston score five runs in the bottom of the 10th, but it wasn’t the lone impactful hit. Kiké Hernández ripped an RBI single to score Bobby Dalbec from third base while Rafael Devers cashed in on a single to keep the train moving.
“We kept battling, great at-bats in that last inning,” Cora said. “Going the other way, hitting the ball hard, obviously we got thrown out of the plate, but that’s part of it. But overall a great homestand, a great game. Swinging the bats, we’re really close to who we are.”
— Should the Red Sox not have won in such dramatic fashion, Eovaldi would have emerged from Sunday’s win as the main storyline. The right-handed had a career day while recording a career-best 11 strikeouts, including the 1,000th strikeout of his MLB tenure.
“Really good, really good. That’s a good offensive team. He didn’t make too many mistakes,” Cora said of Eovaldi. “He used all his pitches, kept them off balance, the fastball was a good one. He gave us plenty today because we were very short in the bullpen.”
— Cora lauded reliever Jake Diekman for the left-hander’s ability to get out of the 10th inning while only allowing one run. Diekman stranded runners at first and second with consecutive strikeouts, allowing Boston to go into the home half with a mere one-run deficit and tying run at second base.
“… If they score one, we have a chance. Man at second and no outs,” Cora said. “He did an amazing job avoiding the second one with the two strikeouts and we put good at bats.”
— Hansel Robles coughed up a 3-2 lead as he allowed a game-tying home run with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. Robles now is 2-for-5 in save opportunities.
— J.D. Martinez was a late scratch from Sunday’s game due to back spasms, but Cora didn’t seem overly concerned.
“He’s doing okay, just tight back. So, give him today, give him tomorrow and let’s see where he’s at on Tuesday,” Cora said. “He should be okay.”
— The Red Sox have an off day Monday before returning to action Tuesday as Boston travels to Chicago to face the White Sox in a three-game series. First pitch is set for 8:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday after an hour of pregame coverage, and you can watch it all on NESN.