Brennan Bernardino unexpectedly was in the limelight for the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles.

The left-handed reliever showcased his poise to get out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs while protecting a one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Bernardino walked the first batter he faced after coming on for Brayan Bello, but then sandwiched a pair of strikeouts around a groundout to get out of the frame unscathed.

Bernardino pitched one more scoreless inning and totaled four strikeouts while allowing no hits and one walk in his two innings of work. It was a stellar showing from the 32-year-old journeyman who was instrumental in Boston’s 8-3 win — its first over the Orioles on the season.

The performance from Bernardino emphasized his importance to Boston’s bullpen and rehashed how he began the season far from the spotlight.

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Bernardino surprisingly didn’t make the Red Sox Opening Day roster with Joely Rodríguez getting the spot in over him. That led Bernardino to have a conversation with manager Alex Cora in Texas as the Red Sox concluded their spring training slate.

Bernardino made sure to get his message across to his manager.

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“We had a tough conversation in Texas and he mentioned two things: heart and a pair of something else,” Cora told reporters with a smile, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage.

Bernardino confirmed that’s basically how the chat went with Cora.

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“I guess. It’s not like I just said, ‘I’ve got balls,'” Bernardino said. “It was a meeting that happened in there. I was free to speak.”

Bernardino didn’t stay with Triple-A Worcester for long. He only made two appearances there before getting called up on April 9.

He has been lights out ever since. He owns a minuscule 0.78 ERA and 0.83 WHIP while recording 23 strikeouts in 23 innings pitched.

“He came up here, tried to probably prove people wrong,” Cora said. “It’s not that we didn’t believe in him. It’s just at that moment we felt like giving a shot Joely was the right move and he was going to be a part of this regardless later on. And he is a big part of what we’re trying to accomplish. Not only between the lines, but in the clubhouse. He’s well-respected, he understands the things we like to do and it was awesome to see.”

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It’s been quite the journey to this point from Bernardino, who toiled away in the minors for years and didn’t pitch for two seasons from 2020-21.

Bernardino carries that with him every time he’s on the mound, giving him an edge that continues to serve him well.

“It was tough not making the Opening Day roster,” Bernardino said. “I get the point of it and everything. Even if I didn’t make the Opening Day roster, I’m always kind of playing with a little bit of a chip on my shoulder just being a late-round draft pick guy and kind of the journey I’ve taken. Just happy to be here right now.”

Featured image via Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports Images