Mortensen comes up big for Sox in relief

Mortensen comes up big for Sox in relief
May 7, 2013, 1:30 am
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BOSTON – Clayton Mortensen has entered games in easier situations than the one he was presented Monday night against the Twins at Fenway Park. With two outs in the ninth inning, a runner on first base, and a count of 1-and-O to Justin Morneau. And, oh yeah, the Twins had just tied the score when Joel Hanrahan – whom Mortensen would replace – gave a up solo home run to Brian Dozier, for Harahan’s second blown save of the season.
 
Hanrahan left the game with what was later said to be right forearm tightness. The injury, though, allowed Mortensen to take as much time to warm up as he wanted.
 
“Get an out,” Mortensen said, of what was going through his mind as he entered the game. “Just grind until they tell you you’re done or until we win the game. So just try and step up and try and get some outs.
 
“I feel bad for Hanrahan. It’s never good to see one of your teammates go down. Hanrahan's a great guy. It’s tough. It always sends a little knot in your stomach when you see something like that. Something like that happens, though, the whole bullpen kind of gets up and says alright someone’s got to step up and take on the responsibility now. I just happened to be that guy tonight.”
 
Mortensen needed just one pitch to retire Morneau, on an infield grounder. The right-hander went 2 1/3 scoreless innings giving up one hit and two walks with one strikeout to earn the win, improving to 1-2, with a 3.78 ERA, as the Sox beat the Twins, 6-5 in 11 innings.
 
“Just a situation like that you come in, a tie ballgame in the ninth inning, more than likely, I figured I’m going to go until they tell me otherwise,” he said. “You just got to keep that mindset: Still got to go, still got to go. So you just got to keep finding energy somewhere and just compete.”
 
It was Mortensen’s third outing in four games.
 
“You find [the energy] somewhere, man,” he said. “I felt great, actually, surprisingly. You get in the moment and you just find it somewhere, just start mentally talking yourself up and try and fit it somewhere. You got to.”
 
And for Mortensen, it was a nice turnaround from Sunday, when he was on the other end of a walk-off hit. He took the loss in Texas when Adrian Beltre provided the game-winning hit for the Rangers in the ninth inning.
 
“It’s huge,” Mortensen said. “It’s huge for our team, coming off a tough series from Texas and come home and win a late one like this, it’s huge. So we’re all feeling pretty good in here now. So just try and switch that momentum back and get back on a roll.”