Adam Duvall has been the final batter for the Boston Red Sox in each of their two games this season.
The ending of Saturday’s matchup with the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park was much more to Duvall’s liking, though.
After striking out against Félix Bautista to conclude Boston’s Opening Day loss, Duvall got his revenge versus the Orioles closer by smacking a 99 mph fastball just over the Green Monster for a two-run home run to cap a wild comeback for the Red Sox with a 9-8 walk-off victory.
“The main thing was stick to my plan,” Duvall told NESN’s Jahmai Wesbter, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I felt like last time I got a little bit out of it. I went for one he wanted me to swing at. And so, I got a good pitch, put a good swing on it and luckily it was a home run.”
Duvall really shouldn’t have received the chance to deliver in the clutch. The game appeared over when Masataka Yoshida lifted a harmless fly ball to left field with two outs. But Orioles outfielder Ryan McKenna dropped the ball on the routine play.
Duval was certainly appreciative of the gift McKenna and the Orioles handed over.
“I wanted an opportunity there, and I got it,” Duvall said.
The game-ending homer from Duvall put the finishing touches on an impressive day at the plate for the veteran outfielder, who is in his first season with the Red Sox.
Duvall went 4-for-5 with five RBIs as he clubbed a triple to right-center in his first at-bat, belted his first home run as a member of the Red Sox in his second at-bat and provided a ground-rule double in the bottom of the seventh with Boston battling back from a six-run deficit.
But the success at Fenway isn’t anything new for the 34-year-old. Coming into this season, he had hit four homers in his career at the venerable ballpark, including blasting three in one game during the 2020 season.
And Red Sox manager Alex Cora sure is glad seeing that translate over with Duvall now in a Red Sox uniform.
“Without the wall, that (last home run) ball is at the Commonwealth (Hotel),” Cora told reporters, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “You’ve seen him the last few years at Fenway, he’s been really good. Pulling the ball against us and now today. He’s feeling better with his swing. Even put the ball in play and almost hit it out to right field. He’s a good player. He’s always been a run producer in his career.”
Here are more notes from Saturday’s Red Sox-Orioles game:
— Chris Sale got roughed up in his first start at Fenway Park since October of 2021. Sale gave up three home runs, two of which came in the opening frame, while lasting only three innings. In total, he allowed seven runs on seven hits while recording two walks and six strikeouts.
“I left them completely out to dry tonight,” Sale said, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “That’s about as embarrassed that I’ve ever been on a baseball field. … I was out there throwing batting practice.”
— The Orioles are running wild on the base paths against the Red Sox. As it did on Opening Day, Baltimore swiped five bags again Saturday. The Orioles are now 10-for-10 on stolen base attempts through the first two games of the season which is an MLB record, according to MLB.com’s Ian Browne.
— Rafael Devers posted his first three-hit game of the season as he recorded a double and two singles.
— Boston’s bullpen was an unsung hero as six relievers (Zack Kelly, Josh Winckowski, John Schreiber, Chris Martin, Kenley Jansen) combined to hold the Orioles to just one run over the final six innings of the game.
— The Red Sox close out their first series of the season Sunday against the Orioles. First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET, and you can watch the game, plus an hour of pregame coverage, on NESN.