Facing former club, Leon notches three hits
BOSTON -- The Red Sox's home opener on Monday at Fenway Park marked a day of firsts for Sandy Leon.
Not only did the Red Sox catcher play his first game at Fenway Park, but he tallied a career-high three hits in a 9-4 win over the Nationals, his former club.
"It was amazing to be here at Fenway," Leon said. "They gave me the opportunity to play today and have treated me so well. I wanted to do whatever I could to make sure we won."
Leon played in 34 games with the Nationals over three seasons before being traded to the Red Sox at the end of Spring Training. Before his offensive outburst on Monday, Leon played in two other games for Boston, going 0-for-4 with a walk.
"It felt pretty good to get those hits," Leon said. "I came here to do everything I could to win games."
Two of the three hits Leon collected in Monday's win were against his former teammate Jordan Zimmermann, whose tendencies he knows quite well.
"He throws a lot of fastballs whether he is ahead or behind in the count," Leon said. "I was just looking for that pitch every time I came up."
Leon was just as important in his role behind the plate, helping guide Rick Porcello to his first win in a Red Sox uniform. Porcello tossed eight innings, allowing four runs on four hits.
"He was ahead in the count most of the game, but in one or two innings, he had a few control issues," Leon said. "I just wanted to help Porcello win the game."
Red Sox manager John Farrell was impressed with Leon's skills in the box and behind the plate.
"When you look at his career, his right-handed-hitting numbers have been higher than his left, but the at-bats left-handed have been good. He's gotten some fastballs on the plate. He's done a good job, Farrell said.
"Most impressive is how quiet he receives. The balls in the dirt, he smothers, he keeps them in control. There were some pitches throughout the course of the game that weren't easy to block, and he does a good job of that."