BOSTON -- Red Sox catchers Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez are used to splitting time behind the plate, so they also were fine with sharing praise for helping their team earn a 9-8 walk-off win in 10 innings over the Royals on Saturday night.Leon, who replaced Vazquez behind the plate
BOSTON -- Red Sox catchers Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez are used to splitting time behind the plate, so they also were fine with sharing praise for helping their team earn a 9-8 walk-off win in 10 innings over the Royals on Saturday night.
Leon, who replaced Vazquez behind the plate in the ninth inning, sent a double off the Green Monster to open up the 10th. Three batters and a wild series of plays later, Leon found himself breaking to home plate from third on Eduardo Nunez's groundout. Leon evaded the tag with his slide at home plate to score the decisive run.
The previous inning, Leon made a defensive gem that potentially kept the Royals from taking the lead in the ninth. With pinch-runner Terrance Gore attempting to steal second base with none out and the score tied at 8, Leon made a perfectly placed throw to nab the speedy Gore.
"You know, you come off the bench after sitting for eight innings and you're getting a world-class sprinter in Gore at first base," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "And that pitch has got to be turned around with accuracy, with quickness, that was one heck of a throw given that he's been sitting for eight innings."
Vazquez singled and was lifted from the game in the eighth for pinch-runner Brock Holt. Vazquez, who drove in two runs and was a home run shy of the cycle, didn't make the decision to replace him an easy one.
His highlight play on defense came the half-inning before he was lifted, as Vazquez caught Lorenzo Cain trying to steal second base. Cain had previously gone 16-for-16 on stolen base attempts this season.
"It was fun," Vazquez said. "That's my game -- throwing people out. Try to help the team in that aspect. I'm trying to do the best to help the team."
Leon was prepared to finish off what his catching partner had started.
"I was ready to do what I have to," Leon said. "I was getting ready before Vazquez came on in the last inning and he got the hit, and then we pinch-hit for him. I was ready for anything. Whatever I can do to help the team, I'm going to do it."
Evan Chronis is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston.