Gomes belted a two-run pinch-hit blast to center off Kansas City lefty Scott Downs (0-3) to put the Red Sox ahead in the bottom of the sixth and the Fenway nine didn’t look back, taking home a 5-4 victory.
Gomes now has six pinch-hit home runs in his short time with the Red Sox, trailing only the legendary Ted Williams (seven) in team history.
Boston entered the home half of the sixth in a 4-1 hole. With one out, Mike Napoli got on with a single and Xander Bogaerts blasted a two-run homer, his seventh of the season, off Royals starter James Shields. Stephen Drew hit a ground-rule double, and Shields responded by striking out Boston catcher David Ross.
Royals manager Ned Yost then gambled that the Red Sox wouldn’t pinch hit as early as the sixth inning, bringing in Downs. The move sent Sox skipper John Farrell to his bench early, lifting Jackie Bradley for Gomes, who kills lefties, and the mighty Hacksaw certainly killed Downs.
The outburst made a winner out of Clay Buchholz, who is looking more and more like his inconsistent but passable 2012 self: the righty allowed four runs on ten hits, with just three strikeouts. He coughed up an RBI single in the first to Eric Hosmer, two run-scoring hits for Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon in the fourth, and then another ribbie on a Hosmer single in the fifth.
Luckily for Buchholz, the Sox still had Gomes on the roster to make things right.
If the Red Sox are looking to do anything in 2014, the time is now. With the trade deadline approaching and questions lingering about veterans who could presumably help other teams and bring back prospects in return, they need a run that extends through the end of the month and straight into August to even sniff the AL East race.
The win puts then on the path, but doesn’t ameliorate their problems. For example, in the eighth, with Aaron Crow on the mound, Xander Bogaerts and Stephen Drew reached on walks. Following a David Ross sacrifice bunt, Gomes (up again) went down swinging on three pitches. Brock Holt nearly turned on one, but it was just foul, and he wound up flying out on a deep drive to end the threat. It was another example of the Red Sox failing to cash in with runners in scoring position, this time in a big insurance spot.
Luckily, Koji Uehara came on for his 19th save to send the Fenway faithful home happy.
Notes: Holt had a second inning RBI single for Boston. With the requisite number of at-bats, he would rank seventh in the American League in hitting at .326…Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew had two hits on the night; Drew lifted his average to .167 and now has reached base 10 times in his last 17 trips…Shane Victorino could return to the team Saturday following a brief rehab stint in Pawtucket.