De La Torre saves bullpen in losing effort

De La Torre saves bullpen in losing effort
June 11, 2013, 11:45 pm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. _- Jose De La Torre stood in front of his locker, answering questions from reporters, when a hand found its through the scrum, seeking a fist bump.
     
The gesture came from Jon Lester, who had just finished telling the same group of reporters that he owed De La Torre a debt of gratitude for doing what the starter could not: helping to save the rest of the bullpen.
     
Lester had arguably his worst start of the season, failing to get through the fifth, one night after the Sox and Rays had tangled for 14 innings and the Sox were in desperate need for some length.
     
Instead, they got it from De La Torre, who was brought up from Pawtucket as the Sox sought some fresh reinforcements from the minors to get them through Tuesday night.
     
"These guys count on me to go out there and throw innings and I didn't do that tonight," Lester said after the Sox were beaten by the Rays, 8-3. "I just flat out didn't get it done. De La Torre picked me up and was able to save some arms in that bullpen for us. That was huge.
     
"In my eyes, he's the biggest part of the game today for us."
     
And that says all you need to know about what sort of night it was for the Sox -- when your mop-up reliever, here on a day pass and scheduled to be returned to Pawtucket Wednesday, is the star of the game, it didn't go well.
     
But De La Torre did, pitching 3 1/3 innings and allowing just one run on two hits.
     
"I feel good about what I did," said De La Torre. "I feel like I picked the team up. They needed an arm here. But it's not about me; it's about the team and it was a tough loss."
     
De La Torre threw 52 pitches and spared any other pitchers from having to be used.
     
"I feel good," he said. "I've been throwing multiple innings back in Pawtucket."
     
When he entered the game in the fifth, just have Matt Joyce hammered a two-run homer to right, De La Torre understood his mission.
     
"I've just got to throw strikes," he said. "I've got to pound the zone and try to get quick outs so I can go as long as I can. It was good that I finished the game and no one (else) had to go in and finish it."
     
It didn't begin well for De La Torre, who came in with two outs and promptly surrendered a solo homer to Desmond Jennings, then walked Sean Rodriguez.
     
"The adrenaline got me a little bit," he confessed. "I didn't want to walk (Jennings) and I paid the price. Then, after that, when I came in (to the dugout Clayton Mortensen) told me, 'Slow it down a little bit and just be yourself.' I did and it worked out."
     
"Outstanding," concluded John Farrell. "He did exactly what we needed tonight."