Red Sox: Christian Vazquez hits first career walk-off in style
By Adam Buskey
With the Red Sox trailing by two heading into the 9th, catcher Christian Vazquez took care of that with a walk-off home run.
In what was a back and forth dog fight for both the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians, Christian Vazquez had the last dance.
Heading into the bottom of the 9th inning, it was crunch time as the Red Sox had to claw their way back from down 10-9. All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel had a shaking top of the 9th, letting up an opposite field home run to Indian’s short stop Francisco Lindor, followed by a passed ball with runners on that allowed Cleveland to score the go-ahead run.
Fenway Park became dead silent with the fans in disbelief. It was the last thing the Red Sox needed with all the drama going around the club house. However, it’s not over until it’s over.
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Due up for the Red Sox in the home half of the ninth was Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts, who committed the first two outs in the 9th. It was then up to Rafael Devers, Mitch Moreland and Christian Vazquez to set the tone.
All five batters faced the dominant right-handed closer, Cody Allen, who hasn’t had a successful year compared to his stellar 2016 season. Entering the night, Allen posted a 0-5 record with a 2.75 ERA.
With one more out to go, Devers hit a high chopper towards third that stayed in the air long enough for Devers to slide head first into the first base bag safely to keep the crowds heart beating. It was then up to Moreland to keep the inning and the crowd alive. In what felt like a 20 pitch at-bat, Moreland checked his swing for a third strike that went passed Indians catcher Yan Gomes, allowing Moreland to advance safely to first.
With two runners on and two runners out, it was time for the Vazquez to put this game to bed. Vazquez, who has been red hot, entered the night with a four game hitting streak going 2-for-4 in Monday nights win against the Indians. With time in the minors, to Tommy John surgery, Vazquez has earned his way to being a big leaguer.
In what felt like a playoff game tonight, Vazquez was very patient at the plate, fouling off pitches, and keeping his composure. With a 3-1 count, runners on second and third, Vazquez sat dead red on a fastball that he sent soaring high and far into left center field for his first walk-off hit of his career, and his second homer on the year.
It was certainly a taste of the Indians own medicine after they swept the Red Sox in the 2016 ALDS.
Next: 4 hit game puts Devers in rare company
Tonight was certainly a huge momentum shift for this club. Despite all the drama that has been going throughout the year, tonight was for sure a game to build off of with two months left in the regular season.