BOSTON (AP) – Blake Swihart has been waiting for his chance to make an impact as the third catcher on a Red Sox team that is putting together a historic season.
On Monday night, he waited all the way until the 13th inning.
After entering the game in the 10th as a pinch-hitter, Swihart bounced a double into the Red Sox bullpen to score Eduardo Nunez in the 13th and give Boston a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. After the game, the Red Sox announced they had acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Los Angeles Angels to replace the injured Dustin Pedroia.
“Ian’s a really good defensive player,” said president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who also brought Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers when he was general manager there. “Basically, it’s what we hoped, early in the year, that Dustin would be.”
With the win, the Red Sox improved to a major league-best 75-33 for the season and a season-high six games ahead of the New York Yankees in the AL East.
It was Swihart’s first career walk-off RBI.
“He’s stuck with it all year long,” said Boston starter David Price, who allowed one run in eight innings but did not get a decision. “He hasn’t gotten a lot of opportunities early on. His number’s been called here recently, and he’s stepped up to it. It’s good when that happens, and I’m happy for him.”
Hector Velazquez (7-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win and Austin Davis (1-1) took the loss after pitching a perfect inning before allowing Nunez’s leadoff single in the 13th. Luis Garcia, the 12th pitcher of the night, struck out Brock Holt but allowed Nunez to steal second.
Swihart lined the first pitch he saw toward the gap and into the bullpen on one hop.
“The experience of being with the guys on the field,” he said after getting doused with a sports drink. “It was special.”
The Red Sox have won 19 of their last 23 games and matched their biggest lead in the division of the season. They have won 19 of their last 21 interleague games and are 42 games above .500 for the first time since the end of the 1946 season.
Price allowed one run – in the second when Asdrubal Cabrera led off with a double and scored on Maikel Franco’s single off the Green Monster. It stayed 1-0 until the fifth, when Jackie Bradley Jr. singled and Nunez followed with a line drive that center fielder Odubel Herrera came in on, only to watch it sail over his head and to the wall for a triple.
Herrera doubled with two outs in the eighth, and Price walked Franco before Jorge Alfaro hit a sinking liner that right fielder Mookie Betts caught to end the inning.
Price and Aaron Nola each went eight full innings but left the 1-1 game without a decision.
Price allowed one run on eight hits and a walk, striking out five. He had won his last five starts at Fenway and his last two overall.
Nola allowed one run on four hits and a walk, striking out six. He has given up five hits or fewer in 16 of his 22 starts but is winless over his last three starts.
“It was probably the pitching performance of the year,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “From the beginning to the end, when he came out of the game, he was sharp with all of his pitches.”
OY, COMO VA?
The Phillies ran themselves out of a potential big inning when Carlos Santana hit a chopper to Nunez at third with runners on first and third. Rhys Hoskins got caught in a rundown on his way home, and Odubel Herrera tried to take advantage of it by scooting over to third.
But catcher Sandy Leon ran Hoskins back toward third and threw to shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who tagged out Herrera and then threw home, where Nunez was waiting to tag Hoskins. Score the double play: 5-2-6-5.
“The only thing he needed to do there is slide hard into third base,” Kapler said. “Rhys gets in a rundown specifically to get Odubel to third base. The tag was easy because he didn’t make a hard slide and he understands that.”
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Roman Quinn singled with two out in the ninth and tried to steal second on a 1-0 pitch to Scott Kingery. Leon’s throw drew second baseman Holt off balance and Quinn was originally ruled safe. After the scoreboard showed the tag got Quinn’s backside before he reached the bag, the Red Sox ran off the field. A few minutes later, the umpires confirmed that the inning was over.
Cora and Kapler were teammates on the 2005-06 Red Sox. They each won a World Series title in Boston, Kapler in ’04 and Cora in ’07. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was also with Boston in 2004, and Rays manager Kevin Cash played for the Red Sox in 2007.
“I wish I can say we all got together and we talked about it, it wasn’t the case,” Cora said. “We were very passionate about the game, but to say we’re going to manage whatever year – nah, I can’t recall that.”
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (sprained right ankle) is only wearing a boot part time, allowing him to do more than just play catch. “It’s not huge, not like he’s getting on the mound. But it’s a good step.”
LHP Drew Pomeranz (1-4) takes the mound for the Red Sox against RHP Jake Arrieta (8-6).
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