Hanigan takes advantage of miscue to spur rally

May 15th, 2016

BOSTON -- When Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan swung on an 0-1 pitch from Astros reliever Scott Feldman in the bottom of the seventh inning on Sunday, he expected it to be a routine popup into right-center field.

Instead, a miscommunication between Houston outfielders Carlos Gomez and George Springer allowed the ball to drop, earning Hanigan his fourth RBI of the day and helping propel the Red Sox to a 10-9 win over the Astros at Fenway Park.

"It was just a popup that I thought would be an out," Hanigan said. "But you can never assume that, you have to remember this place when it gets windy. Tough yard, crowd, fan noise ... the whole deal. [That all] plays into it. They just missed it and it was a big run for us and capped that inning."

As Hanigan reached first after the seemingly routine popup into the outfield, Josh Rutledge scored from first to tie the game at 9 apiece. The fortuitous hit capped a 3-for-4 day and two runs scored for the catcher. The four RBIs were the most Hanigan has had with the Red Sox, and it was his first three-hit, four-RBI performance since April 19, 2014, with the Rays.

Hanigan set up the moving parts for center fielder Mookie Betts, who was patiently awaiting his turn in the on-deck circle. On a 2-2 pitch, Betts laced a line-drive triple into the right-center-field gap -- almost the same spot as Hanigan's previous hit -- to knock in the go-ahead run.

"I was just trying to get a pitch to hit, grinding through the at-bats," Betts said.

Hanigan, who's been working on his swing with hitting coach Chili Davis, has 15 multihit games and a .350 average in 54 career games against Houston.

"He's a competitive at-bat," manager John Farrell said of Hanigan. "I don't even look at the batting average with Hanny. There's a competitive at-bat every time he steps in the box. He's a veteran guy that knows the strike zone, knows his strengths and maybe his limitations as a hitter."

"That was a big run," Hanigan said of his long run from first to home. "At that point in the game -- and it was a long game -- I was picking up and putting down as best I could there. But I was just hoping Mookie didn't catch me."