BOSTON -- As "Dirty Water" sounded over the Fenway Park public address speakers, Red Sox players mobbed two men who had been inserted into the game only minutes before.
As the Red Sox celebrated their 3-2 walk-off win over the Orioles, it was a couple of guys off the bench -- Jonny Gomes and Jonathan Herrera -- who were in the middle of the fray.
Gomes pinch-hit for Stephen Drew to lead off the bottom of the ninth and legged out an infield single after placing one in the hole at shortstop. After David Ross bunted him to second, the switch-hitting Herrera pinch-hit for Jackie Bradley Jr. against Baltimore lefty TJ McFarland.
On the second pitch of his at-bat, Herrera broke his lumber but found open space in shallow right-center field and Gomes scored from second easily.
Though they weren't in the game long, both Herrera and Gomes had prepared as though they would be entered.
"They're veteran guys," manager John Farrell said. "They know their role. We had anticipated a lefty being on the mound in the ninth inning so we had some lead time to give them a chance to prepare. As Jonny's done many times, late in a game, finds a way to get on base, great execution of a sac bunt by Ross, and a broken bat base hit by Jonathan. Guys stayed prepared, they understood the game and executed well."
On last season's World Series-winning squad, Gomes had a handful of clutch pinch-hit appearances and formed one of the best pinch-hitting duos in baseball alongside Mike Carp.
"Pinch-hitting's not easy," Gomes said. "Not that I need any applause. But two pinch-hit hits is pretty rare in a single game. Normally that's like a week. Not too many [American League] teams do pinch-hit just in general. We do over here so to be able to get two in the same game is pretty good. Just helps us out to have a deep bench is what you need to get deep like we did last year. That was a good boost of confidence for us."
Likewise for Herrera, who had made just one appearance since June 24, being ready to sub in at a moment's notice was nothing new. As a reserve utility man, it's part of the gig.
"I've been doing it the last few years so I feel pretty confident," Herrera said. "I know my role right now and who I am. I prepare myself every single day. Anything happens, I'll be ready."
The game-winning knock was the first walk-off hit of Herrera's career.
"He's got experience at it," Farrell said. "And to his credit, he sits for seven-to-10 days, and when he does get on the field, he finds a way to contribute defensively or offensively. Whether it's out in Oakland [where he had an RBI triple in a June 22 win] or other opportunities for him, he's done a very good job in that role."