Red Sox Notes: Boston’s Role Players Come Through In Clutch

Jeter Downs earned his first base hit in extras and scored the winning run

by

July 10

Fenway Park was witness to the classic feeling of a Red Sox versus Yankees game.

New York was in control through Saturday night’s game, but Boston showed no quit. Alex Verdugo came through in the clutch in the 10th inning to score the two game-winning runs to give the Red Sox a 6-5 win. It was Boston’s second walk-off win of the year.

“We battled,” manager Alex Cora told reporters, per team-provided audio. “We took some chances late in the game. I don’t like chasing wins with the bullpen. We were putting good at-bats. A one-run game when Rob (Refsnyder) hits the homer. It’s like, okay, we’re one swing away from tying. So we went aggressive with (John) Schreiber and Tanner (Houck). Then we tied the game in the eighth, and we sent Tanner out. A good overall win.”

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for Boston. The Red Sox have now won their last five extra-inning games after beginning the season 0-6, per Devin Benson of Red Sox communications and media relations. It was also the first win this season when trailing after seven innings (entered 0-29), and it was their 16th come-from-behind win.

Verdugo was clutch not just in the 10th inning but also in the 8th inning, hitting a RBI single to tie the game, 3-3. The left fielder isn’t shy from heroics, and the Red Sox needed it with the absence of Rafael Devers from the lineup.

“He missed a pitch before that one,” Cora said. “He got a pitch up in the zone and put a good swing on it. Dugie’s swinging the bat well. He’s staying on pitches. He’s been clutch for us, lately, and got a good pitch to hit, goes the other way, then he worked the count to his advantage at the end and put another great swing. It was a good day for him.”

Here are more notes from Saturday’s Red Sox-Yankees

— Verdugo went 3-for-5 on the night with three RBIs. His walk-off single in the 10th inning was the fourth of his career and the first since Sep. 4, 2021 against the Cleveland Guardians.

“He likes it, he likes it,” Cora said about Verdugo’s love of clutch moments. “Obviously, he works hard in his craft and all that, and we saw him last year toward the end of the season, he was really good for us. He was good for us in the playoffs, and in the last few weeks, when the offense has struggled a little bit, he’s been the guy with the big swings and the big hits.”

— Jeter Downs was called up Saturday to fill in for injuries. The 23-year-old has impressed in Triple-A Worcester, but, he was 0-for-4 as a major leaguer heading into the night, and he was called upon as a pinch-runner for J.D. Martinez in the eight inning. The No. 5 prospect for the Red Sox earned the first hit of his Major League career and his first career RBI in the 10th inning.

“Before going up to the plate, I kind of said a little prayer, and tried to forget about everything else and tried to worry about the ballgame. And it worked out for me, so thank God for that.”

— Refsnyder hit his third home run of the year in the sixth inning. The dinger against his former team traveled over the Green Monster, 436 feet.

— The Red Sox started a rookie pitcher for the fourth consecutive game (Brayan Bello, Josh Winckowski, Connor Seabold, Kutter Crawford), the first time they have done so since the 1945 season, per Red Sox manager of media relations and baseball information J.P. Long.

Crawford went five innings Saturday night, only giving up one earned run and striking out six. In his last two games, he has pitched 10 innings, allowed six hits, one earned run and only walked three batters while striking out 16, per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham.

— Also per Abraham, Schreiber has faced 106 hitters this season, only 20 have reached base. The right-hander went one inning and struck out one batter Saturday night.

— The Red Sox will get a chance to split the series against the Yankees on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN at Fenway Park.

Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images
Red Sox infielder Jeter Downs
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