Gomes a good clubhouse guy in more ways than one

Gomes a good clubhouse guy in more ways than one
July 4, 2013, 9:00 am
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BOSTON -- Jonny Gomes gets a lot of praise for being a "good clubhouse guy." But after Wednesday night's pinch-hit walk-off home run at Fenway Park in a 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres, Gomes should probably be getting praise for his clutch-hitting ability.

With the game tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Gomes pinch hit for Brandon Snyder to lead off the inning. He would face right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson, who Gomes already had a history with, in a pinch-hitting situation.

Gomes hit a pinch-hit, two-run homer off Gregerson last June, to help his Oakland Athletics snap a 4-4 tie and help them to a 6-4 win over San Diego.

A year later with the Red Sox, Gomes -- the pinch-hitter -- made Gregerson pay once again, ripping a 2-2 slider into the monster seats for the walk-off win.

"That guy throws good sliders, like he did the inning before and like he did to me the first three pitches," said Gomes. "No one's going to hit them. So what I had to do was get one of those sliders up.

"I kind of set my sights to get one up, and got some good wood on the last one."

It marked Gomes' sixth pinch-hit homer of his career, and his third pinch-hit homer this season. He now has two pinch-hit walk-off home runs this season, with his last coming on June 18 against Tampa Bay.

"I definitely don't want any pats on the back, but you know, it's definitely tough," said Gomes about coming off the bench cold to pinch hit. "It's why we get here at 2 o'clock for a 7 o'clock game, to get ready."

Gomes was ready, and shot a liner into the first row of the monster seats, emptying the Red Sox dugout in celebration.

"When we get into some of these National League teams, we have limited history against their guys coming out of the bullpen," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "In this case, Gomes had faced Gregerson twice, and also hit a [pinch-hit home run] against him previous. [Brandon] Snyder's clearly better against left-handed pitching. I felt like this was an opportunity to pick a spot to use Gomes.

"And a flair for the dramatic, whatever you want to call it. He got a slider in the middle of the plate, and walked it off."

Sure, Gomes is exactly what everybody thought he would be when the Red Sox signed him. He's a "good clubhouse guy."

But you could argue that winning creates a good clubhouse. And if that's the case, then Gomes is being a "good clubhouse guy" in more ways than one, because he's helping them win, in whatever way is asked of him.

"He has a clear understanding of what the opposition's trying to do to him," said Farrell. "Given the pitcher, he's looking for a certain pitch in certain spots. Just with now three at-bats against Gregerson, he's got an idea of what the opposition is going to do to him. He's going in to look for the out pitch, and fortunately he got it tonight.

"He stays prepared," added Farrell. "In the role that he's in, he's got a lot of experience in it. And I guess a flair for the dramatic."