BOSTON — Red Sox newcomer Masataka Yoshida probably didn’t expect to be in the batter’s box with the game on the line as Boston faced the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday.
However, that’s just how it played out in Boston’s eventual 10-9 loss.
Yoshida stepped to the plate with one out and runners at first and second as Boston tried to overcome a six-run deficit and cut it to two with two outs left. And despite the fact Yoshida was playing his first-ever MLB game and first game at Fenway Park, he was on the receiving end of a roaring ovation as Red Sox fans chanted his name.
Yoshida clearly appreciated of the gesture.
“I was really honored so I wanted to play hard and I wanted to deliver a good result for the fans,” Yoshida said of the ovation through a translator.
Yoshida held up his end of the bargain, too. He reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a throwing error. The Japanese standout represented the game’s tying run at second base with two outs before fellow newcomer Adam Duvall struck out to end it.
Yoshida was pleased to see the fight of his new team, which trailed both 8-2 and 10-4 in the contest before scoring five runs over the eighth and ninth innings.
“We never give up until the game is over,” Yoshida said. “So me and the team would like to keep doing the same throughout the season.”
And while the Red Sox ultimately weren’t able to start their season with a win, Yoshida received his first major league experience, and it lived up to what he hop3e for. He anticipates keeping the ball of his first hit in his locker before bringing it back to Japan to show his family and friends.
“This is a really great experience,” he said. “This is a new step in my career and I was really excited to play where I wanted to go.”
Yoshida and the Red Sox will return to the diamond Saturday for the second game of their three-game series against the Orioles. Chris Sale will take the mound for Boston with first pitch scheduled for 4:10 p.m. ET, and you can watch it live on NESN.