Red Sox get clutch performances in 7th and 8th

Red Sox get clutch performances in 7th and 8th
August 4, 2013, 12:15 am
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BOSTON -- The Red Sox are no strangers to late-game heroics. And while Saturday night's seventh and eighth innings might not have had the dramatic effects of a "walk-off," they certainly did provide for some clutch performances.

First came Jacoby Ellsbury's RBI single in the bottom of the seventh, which put the Red Sox up 2-1. Then it was Shane Victorino's sacrifice fly later that inning, which gave the Red Sox a 3-1 lead.

After that, it was Jonny Gomes, who, defensively, helped Jake Peavy pick up his first win in a Red Sox uniform.

With bases loaded and no outs in the top of the eighth, Aaron Hill lined one off Junichi Tazawa to left field. Will Nieves scored easily from second to cut Boston's lead to 3-2. But with Gomes going to his left, Cliff Pennington decided to score fro second in an attempt to tie the game.

Gomes threw a seed to Jarrod Saltalamacchia at home, and Pennington didn't stand a chance, as he was thrown out without even a slide of a dive, preserving the Red Sox' 3-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth.

"Jonny Gomes might be my favorite player in the big leagues, in this short time," said Peavy after Boston's 5-2 win.

"Koji gets credit for the save, but [Gomes'] throw from left field might have been the save," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He cuts down the runner, and [Tazawa] gets the big strikeout after that, and the fly ball to end [the eighth inning].

"But in the typical left-fielder moving side to side, base runners are going to challenge that. And he was able to redirect himself, make a strong throw, and throw a strike. And in that moment, a pivotal play in the game."

Then, in the bottom of the eighth, Saltalamacchia smashed his 10th home run of the season. it was a two-run bomb into the far-left corner of the Red Sox bullpen, giving his team a 5-2 cushion.

"I'm feeling good at the plate," said Saltalamacchia after. "Three at-bats right-handed, I felt pretty good, hit the ball hard. That last at-bat, I got a fastball first-pitch, I took too big of a swing, I felt. So I tried to slow it down and get on top of the next pitch."