The Boston Red Sox completed a comeback against the New York Yankees on Friday night at Fenway Park thanks to Tommy Pham’s walk-off single in the tenth inning.
However Red Sox manager Alex Cora didn’t see that as the biggest at-bat of the game. He had a different moment pinned as the most important at-bat of the night, and it wasn’t J.D. Martinez’s game-tying hit in the ninth, either.
No, Cora believed Jaylin Davis had the biggest at-bat with the reserve outfielder moving the automatic runner — Christian Arroyo — over from first to second on a weak ground ball hit to the pitcher in the tenth inning.
“The at-bat of the night was Jaylin to be honest with you,” Cora told reporters, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Puts the ball in play with two strikes and good things happened. That’s what we’re trying to do, keep talking to these guys that contact matters. Strikeouts, they’re not just an out. That’s a lie. You have to put the ball in play and we did today when it mattered and we ended up winning the game.”
Given the placement of Pham’s single to win it, there is a strong argument to be made that Arroyo would have scored easily from second had Davis failed to put the ball in play, but Cora believes the ability to make contact in a tough at-bat made the difference.
In fairness, Davis fought off many tough pitches and had a productive at-bat. It’s bold to put his at-bat over Pham’s or Martinez’s, but without hindsight, Davis being able to move the runner over greatly improved the odds of the Red Sox winning the game.
The Red Sox and Yankees will play the second game of their three-game set at 7:10 p.m. ET at Fenway Park on Saturday with a chance for Boston to claim the series.