Gomes delivers in pinch with blast to best KC
Bogaerts' two-run jack helps set stage for comeback in decisive sixth
BOSTON -- Jonny Gomes was ready and waiting with two outs in the sixth inning, and manager John Farrell saw no need to save his pinch-hit specialist for later in the game.
And as he's done numerous times over his two seasons in Boston, Gomes came through.
His two-run homer to center put the Red Sox in front, and fueled them to a 5-4 victory over the Royals on Friday night at Fenway Park.
It was the second pinch-hit homer of the season for Gomes, and his sixth since joining Boston for the start of the 2013 season.
For Gomes, the opportunity came about when Royals manager Ned Yost pulled righty starter James Shields and brought in lefty Scott Downs to face Jackie Bradley Jr.
"For me, that's the opportunity I have to feast on," said Gomes, who batted for Bradley. "Knowing they've got two lefties in the bullpen, that at-bat technically started at about 2 o'clock for me today. That's the opportunity and when my number's called on, I have to feast on the opportunity."
And yes, Yost admitted it was a move he'd like to have back.
"I gambled and lost right there," Yost said. "We get all this information. They pinch-hit one time in the last few days in the seventh inning, a bunch in the eighth and the ninth. I wasn't sure they were going to do it in the sixth. I gambled right there -- a bad decision."
The only player in Red Sox history with more pinch-hit homers is the late, great Ted Williams, who clubbed seven over his 19-year career.
"Go ahead and get it out there, I'm not chasing any of Ted Williams' records," Gomes said. "I'm just extremely fortunate and lucky, and grateful for the opportunity to wear the same uniform that guy wore. Individual records don't matter. I'm here trying to collect championships."
Boston trailed, 4-1, heading into its half of the sixth. Xander Bogaerts cut the deficit to one with a two-run blast to center against Shields earlier in the inning.
It was a significant moment for Bogaerts, who had been in a prolonged slump before the All-Star break. The homer was his first extra-base hit since June 13.
"Hopefully this gives him a chance to breathe a little bit," Farrell said. "It's the first extra-basehit in a while and hopefully it allows him to see some of the work he's been doing pregame, and the video work and the countless conversations with [hitting coaches Greg Colbrunn and Victor Rodriguez]. To see it play out with a timely home run should be a boost for him."
Stephen Drew kept the momentum going by hammering a ground-rule double to right-center. After David Ross struck out for the second out, Yost made the move he'd regret just moments later, bringing on Downs.
Gomes worked the count to 2-2, before scorching one over the wall in center.
"When you sit back and analyze it after the fact, which is a lot easier to do than before the fact, it was the wrong move," Yost said. "Gomes makes a living off of left-handed pitchers coming in like that and it was just a bad decision on my part on three or four different levels. I should have stuck with Shields to get us through that inning. He was at 111 pitches [actually, 112], Bradley was 0-for-2 off him, and I just outsmarted myself."
For the Red Sox, it was an uplifting win coming out of the All-Star break, and the fifth win in the last six games.
"I mean, before the break and first day after the break, our goal hasn't changed," Gomes said. "Our goal is still win the [American League East] division and win that last game of the year. Our goal hasn't changed one bit here. Obviously, we understand the date and obviously, we understand that we dug ourselves a hole a little bit, but we're not trying to turn the corner by any means. We're trying to win as many games as we can."
Clay Buchholz, coming off a shutout against the Astros just five days ago, didn't have his best stuff in this one.
The righty went six innings while allowing 10 hits and four runs. He walked none and struck out three, and wound up getting the win.
With Buchholz winning the last two games the Red Sox have played, the righty became the first Boston starting pitcher since Don Schwall in 1961 to pull off that feat.
"I gave up some loud outs and some loud hits for the first couple of innings, but that's another team that swings the bat, and they put some balls in play that found some holes and led to a couple of runs," Buchholz said. "The way the guys fought back tonight … that was reminiscent of last year."
Since coming off the disabled list, Buchholz is 3-1 with a 3.28 ERA.
Much like Buchholz has looked better of late, the Red Sox hope they are ready to turn it around as a team.
"Well, we felt as we talked about before the game, we had some momentum going into the break," Farrell said. "The energy has been outstanding. That was the case again tonight and Jonny is seemingly in the middle of it on a number of occasions. But to start off, I can't say the second half, because we're far behind the halfway point, but coming out of the break, to get a win under our belt in this fashion continues to give us a boost."