Gomes' pinch-hit single saves the day

Gomes' pinch-hit single saves the day
June 29, 2013, 1:00 am
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BOSTON – Before Friday night, Jonny Gomes’ last appearance in a game was June 23, when he played a complete game in left field in the Red Sox loss in Detroit. He had appeared in just 57 of the Sox’ first 82 games this season. So, he’s accustomed to being used sparingly, but also being used in high-leverage, high-pressure situations, coming off the bench to pinch-hit with the game on the line.
 
His approach doesn’t change.
 
“I’m a grinder. I’m willing to take one off the neck for the team,” Gomes said after the Sox’ 7-5 win over the Blue Jays at Fenway Park.
 
Gomes didn’t have to take one off the neck this time. Instead, his pinch-hit RBI single with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning proved to be the difference in the game.
 
Gomes has reached base in seven of 15 plate appearances as a pinch-hitter this season, going 4-for-12 (.333) with a double, two home runs, three RBI, a walks, getting hit by a pitch twice, and scoring five runs.
 
With runners in scoring position this season he is now 9-for-28, batting .321, with 13 RBI. He’s at a loss, though, to explain his success in those situations.
 
Facing Jays lefty Brett Cecil Friday night, Gomes laced a 3-and-1 fastball into left field.
 
“I don’t know,” he said. “I kind of strive and hope I can get better every day, every month, every year. To tell you the truth, where some of my numbers are succeeding right now, you might have been able to call rock bottom early on in my career, like really bad at it. That just comes with wanting and having to stick in the big leagues. Some of the things I’ve failed at, I’m just kind of turning around now.
 
“[Manager] John [Farrell] does a good job of putting us in situations where we can succeed. I don’t hit into many double plays, so that’s really all I was looking to do is get a pitch to elevate. Just kind of a line drive, scared me for a second, but once it got through [into left field], it was all right. Just not ground into a double play, and I have some success against lefties, so it was a good matchup.”
 
And, better than taking a ball off his neck?
 
“The game still would have been over. We still would have won,” Gomes said with a laugh.