With Red Sox needing spark, Bogaerts delivers
BOSTON -- Xander Bogaerts and the Red Sox had little patience for a replay review of the play that snapped their eight-game losing streak on Friday.
By the time the umpiring crew determined that Mookie Betts was safe at home on Bogaerts' walk-off single to give Boston a 2-1 win over Detroit in 11 innings at Fenway Park, Bogaerts' jersey had already been ripped apart by his giddy teammates.
The Sox needed something to celebrate. Their 22-year-old shortstop was just the man to provide it.
"I think before that inning I saw the Yankees were losing, to be honest," Bogaerts joked afterward. "So I'm like, 'If we get a good win tonight, that definitely would be good.'"
The Yankees did lose on Friday, meaning the Red Sox are now 11 games behind them in the American League East standings. While that may not be much solace for Sox fans, the performance of Bogaerts in his second full season has been a sight to behold.
"He's really come into his own," said right-hander Rick Porcello, who held the Tigers to one run in seven innings. "I watch him every night and I think about what I'd do to get him out. He covers both sides of the plate, he hits the breaking ball well. He's really been playing great, so it's a lot of fun to watch."
Bogaerts has given the Red Sox two of their three walk-off victories this season, the other a game-winning single against Baltimore on April 17. He is now batting .410 (32-for-78) with runners in scoring position, including a 20-for-39 tear since June 7.
"He's extremely confident and he's relaxed, he's poised in those moments," manager John Farrell said. "His swing, he lets the ball travel so deep. He keeps the bat in the strike zone, so he's been able to handle a lot of offspeed pitches in those RBI situations or fight fastballs off the other way."
With Betts on second and one out in the 11th, Bogaerts lined a 2-1 pitch from left-hander Blaine Hardy back up the middle.
"I thought he wasn't going to throw me any good pitches," Bogaerts said. "I was a bit aggressive early on in the count, swinging at bad pitches. I mean, with that 2-1 pitch, he told me what he was going to do with the next pitch. I was ready for it."
With first base open, the Tigers chose to go after Boston's best hitter of the moment -- and they got burned.
"Not really," said reliever Justin Masterson when asked if he was surprised Detroit pitched to Bogaerts. "But Bogey's been clutch. Maybe next time they won't."