Red Sox manager Alex Cora felt strongly that outfielder Wilyer Abreu needed to get more at-bats against right-handers. That was about a week ago. Now, with Abreu in the middle of a 10-game on-base streak, including a performance in which he led the offense against Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Martín Pérez, it’s clear Cora’s decision was an informed one.

It’s also clear Abreu no longer needs the right-handed-pitcher qualifier. The 24-year-old needs to be in the lineup consistently, regardless of whether it’s a right-hander or lefty who gets the start against the Red Sox.

“We’ve been talking about him for while,” Cora told reporters after Boston’s 6-1 victory at PNC Park on Sunday afternoon, as seen on NESN. “It was a good one.”

Abreu led the Red Sox with three hits and two RBIs, including RBI singles in both the third and sixth innings. He also scored a run after he stroked a lead-off double in the fifth inning, and put the ball in play in the eighth, a play in which Jarren Duran scored on a Pirates error.

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“Early on, because of the way we’re constructed, it was hard to get him at-bats,” Cora said. “But he will play. He did a good job against a tough lefty, too. He hung in there with him (Pérez), hit the ball hard.”

Abreu reached base three or more times in each of Boston’s wins in Pittsburgh. He went 3-for-5 with two runs and one RBI in the series opener Friday. Abreu added a hit and three walks in the second game of the series Saturday.

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He entered Sunday hitting .292 with a .993 OPS in his last eight games.

“At the beginning things weren’t going my way, but right now I’m feeling good, the timing is there, the at-bats are there,” Abreu told NESN’s Jahmai Webster through translator Carlos Villoria Benitez after Sunday’s win. “So for me to be able to help the team win and to get my timing back, it’s very important.”

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The Red Sox moved Abreu from right field to left field for the series in Pittsburgh because of the dimensions at PNC Park, Cora said. Abreu made the most of the opportunity, which was a way for him to stay in the lineup with the return of outfielder Rob Refsnyder.

He added a highlight-reel defensive play Sunday after he made one on Patriots’ Day.

“I know that in the first few games I made a lot of errors so I’m trying to clean that part of my game,” Abreu told Webster. “I’ve been going out there every day to work, to get better and that’s how I’ve done in the past few games. I’ve been playing all over the field, playing right field, left field. I’m working hard to clean that part of my game and I think I’m doing a good job on that.”

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Cora agreed.

“He’s a good defender,” Cora said. “Very happy for him, gaining confidence.”

Abreu is able to gain that confidence because Cora showed it in him some 10 days ago. And after initially being inserted into the lineup to face right-handers, Abreu is carving out a well-earned everyday role for himself.

Featured image via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images