Late fireworks give Sox the win on the 4th

Chavis' three-run HR caps six-run sixth before Hernandez goes oppo off the bench in ninth

July 5th, 2019

TORONTO -- It took a couple of hours for the offense to wake up on Thursday night in Toronto, but a massive sixth inning and a clutch pinch-hit home run by propelled the Red Sox to an 8-7 win at Rogers Centre.

Boston entered the sixth inning trailing, 6-1, after a short outing from starter . The bats didn’t seem to have much momentum, but they finally started to string some hits together against Thomas Pannone, who followed an opener in the first inning. A walk and three straight singles got the ball rolling, but it was who delivered the big blow.

Chavis dug in after the Red Sox had pulled within two and quickly found himself in a 2-2 count. Lefty Tim Mayza tried to pound him inside with a slider, but it caught the edge of the plate, and Chavis turned on the pitch to launch it 391 feet to left field for a go-ahead three-run shot.

“I fell behind 2-0 and I definitely overswung on the 2-0 pitch,” Chavis said. “It was a ball. Then the 2-1, a slider. I just swung over it and I told myself, 'With a man on third base, a single scores him, and you’re down by one.'”

Searching for a single, he found something better.

The home run, Chavis’ 15th of the season, came one day after he ripped two doubles against the Blue Jays and showed just how potent this offense can be at any moment, whether it’s the top half of the order (with three American League All-Stars) or the No. 8 hitter.

“We can go out there and put up five or six at any time,” Chavis said. “We put up six tonight in that sixth inning. The vibe in the dugout is really comfortable in those times. You know we’re down, and it’s really easy just to give up or be lackadaisical and let the game go on, but if you were in our dugout, by the vibe and how guys are talking, we never thought we were out of it.”

After the Blue Jays fought back to tie the score at 7, manager Alex Cora gave Hernandez the nod in place of against closer Ken Giles and it worked to perfection, as Hernandez connected on a Giles fastball that snuck over the wall in left. It only traveled 348 feet, but Hernandez hit it to the right spot to give his team the win.

“His swing is so simple,” Cora said. “He stays on pitches. When he’s driving the ball the other way, it’s a good sign. He did it in Baltimore, and he did it at home. That’s a good pitch right there from Kenny and he put a good swing on it. He’s a strong kid, big and strong.”

These big moments are becoming expected out of Hernandez, who doubled in his other two pinch-hit appearances this season.

“He’s special. Every time we’re down, we should be like, ‘Marco, go hit,'” Chavis said with a laugh.

But there will still be plenty of focus on the reason the Red Sox found themselves needing all the heroics, starting with the 2 1/3 innings they got from Velazquez.

The right-hander allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and just one strikeout, which left a heavy load for the bullpen to carry. Boston is still searching for a fifth starter to slot in more permanently behind Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez, and Velazquez didn’t provide any answers with Thursday’s showing.