BOSTON – As a ridiculous throw from right-center came searing into the waiting glove of third baseman Rafael Devers, you might have thought for a moment that Dwight Evans or Mookie Betts was back in uniform for the Red Sox.
It was, without question, the highlight of the night for the Red Sox.
“Every time he’s doing something back there, it seems like he just does something special,” said Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez. “I was pitching today, and I see it right in front of me after the guy hit the ball off the wall. I was like, 'This is going to be a triple,' but as soon as he caught the ball and made that cannon throw to third base, I see the ball and Raffy was in the right place, and he tagged the guy and he was out at third. Those plays like that, they’re really good to enjoy, especially when you are the guy on the mound.”
Here is how it unfolded.
With the Red Sox leading, 1-0, at the time, Matt Chapman belted a one-out drive to deep center field, where Alex Verdugo ran out of real estate as the ball banged off the wall. In fact, Verdugo fell down in his attempt to catch the ball.
But that was fortuitous for the Red Sox. Renfroe was in perfect position to back up the play and came up firing with a perfect one-hop throw to third, as Devers slapped the tag down to get Rodriguez a highlight-reel second out of the inning.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora has continually said since Spring Training that Renfroe is an exceptional outfielder, and the veteran proved it on this electrifying play.
“Forget the throw,” said Cora. “Him backing up Alex, that's what he does. We've been talking about his defense since Day 1 in Spring Training, and he finds a way to be where he's supposed to be. He's very responsible. It starts in batting practice with his preparation. He saw the play, he got there in time, I saw his throw and I was like, 'There's a good chance he's going to be out.' He is that good in the outfield.”
It was the hardest-thrown assist by a Boston outfielder this season, and the third-hardest by a Boston outfielder since the start of 2020.
“That was awesome, man. I think Mookie made one in Tampa a couple of years back, it kind of reminded me a little of that throw, from how far away he was and how accurate,” said Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. “Obviously [Jackie Bradley Jr.] made some great plays out there, but it was pretty much one that Mookie [made that] came into my mind when I saw that play.”