Cespedes' first Sox homer comes at the right time

Cespedes' first Sox homer comes at the right time
August 10, 2014, 8:45 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

ANAHEIM, Calif -- In his first seven games with the Red Sox, Yoenis Cespedes reached base at least once every time. He had walks, multi-hit games, a two-run double, and even a triple mixed in there, but hadn't hit a homer.

Until Sunday, just when the Red Sox needed one the most.

In a scoreless game in the top of the eighth, Cespedes crushed a slider for Los Angeles Angels' reliever Joe Smith over both bullpens in left field, giving the Sox all the runs they would need in a 3-1 victory.

"He's still getting his feet on the ground with us,'' said John Farrell, "but anytime you can add a middle-of-the-order presence, as we've been able to do and in an area we needed to address -- to drive the baseball a little bit more consistently -- he's going to fit in just fine with us.''

The three-run shot, the 18th of the season for Cespedes, came off  reliever Joe Smith, against whom he's had great success -- this season and in the past. Smith has allowed 14 runs all season and seven of them have either been knocked in or scored by Cespedes.

"I've been facing him for a long time,'' said Cespedes, "since he was back in Cleveland. Ever since then, he's been starting me off with a sinker and then follows it up with a slider. When I saw the first sinker, I thought he was coming with the slider and I was able to capitalize on it.''

The homer was his first since July 26, some 52 at-bats ago, but Cespedes wasn't concerned with the power drought.

"It doesn't bother me or make me worry,'' said Cespedes. "There have been a couple periods this season where there's been a drought in terms of home runs, but I'm just trying to put good swings on the ball and hopefully it will all work out.''

Either at the plate or in the field, Cespedes has made a habit of making life miserable for the Angels. When he was with Oakland earlier in the season, he made his now famous throw to the plate from the left field corner to gun down Howie Kendrick at the plate.

And the three RBI that he picked up Sunday gave him 13 this season against the Angels, the most for any player against them this year.

"I think they're probably happy (not to see me again this season),'' said Cespedes with a smile. "I've actually thrown out five of their baserunners this year, so I think they're going to be happy to see me go.''

The homer yesterday had the dual purpose of giving the Red Sox the series win and helping out the Oakland A's, his former club, in their battle for first in the American League West.

But no, Cespedes added, he isn't paying attention to the A's.

"I just follow this team,'' he said of the Sox. 

Except on days like Sunday, when they follow him.