Red Sox: Kiké Hernández becomes a hero in walk-off win against Yankees

BOSTON, MA - JULY 22: Enrique Hernandez #5 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates at second base after his two-run double tied the game in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on July 22, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 22: Enrique Hernandez #5 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates at second base after his two-run double tied the game in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on July 22, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /
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Red Sox win in a wild walk-off against the Yankees at Fenway Park

Holy hell what a night, Red Sox Nation! In a game that had its up and downs, peaks and valleys, the good guys walked it off and took another win from their hated rivals. After last weekend’s disappointment in the Bronx, I was a bit anxious about this series as it could mean getting some breathing room in the division or having a serious fight on our hands. Luckily for Boston, Kiké Hernández wasn’t going to let this one slip away.

That’s right! A man that many in Red Sox Nation have cursed during his tenure for not being Jackie Bradley Jr. in the field or Mookie Betts at the plate came through in the biggest way last night. In a stretch that has seen him play some Gold Glove caliber defense in the field and swing a white-hot bat, Kiké has become one of Alex Cora’s best weapons in the lineup. Ever since coming back from the IL, the utilityman has been working at an insane clip on both sides of the ball.

The Red Sox have become the comeback kids in MLB this season as they lead the league in come from behind wins and it’s been their secret to success all season long. Unless the game is an absolute blowout, and even in a few of those instances, this squad just doesn’t give up. Hernández would speak to the media after the win on Thursday and gave plenty of credit to the October vibes in Fenway.

"“It was pretty cool,” said Hernández. “That’s the first time I’ve done something offensively for the crowd to get that pumped up. Definitely as loud as I’ve heard Fenway this year. The crowd was into it. Of course, they don’t like those guys. But it was nice to do something to help the team.”"

Last night was no different and the funny thing is if you only looked at the box score you’d never know. Hernández went 1-4 on the night, doesn’t sound too hot right, well that one hit was a difference-maker, but it was an out earlier in the night that got him cooking. With the Red Sox down 1-0 in the 7th inning, Kiké would launch a sac fly that plated Alex Verdugo, tying the game. His biggest heroics would come later in the game though as Boston would need him once again.

As they always seem to do, the Yankees pulled ahead late and it was up to the Red Sox to answer. Luckily for the Fenway Faithful, Kiké was coming to the plate with two men on in the bottom of the 9th. A fastball over the heart of the plate was served up and my man sent that thing for a ride. While it didn’t leave Fenway Park it did land in for a two-run double, once again tying the game. He would joke about the pitch and that if they were still in Buffalo, it would’ve sent everyone home.

"“Got a fastball over the heart of the plate, and I was able to stay short, get the head out,” said Hernández. “And if we were in Buffalo, it probably would’ve ended the game. But it just tied it tonight.”"

Granted the Red Sox got some help from the Yankees as their relievers got a bit wild as the game progressed but it was still up to the boys to make it happen. Things could’ve gone very differently though as both teams left a stupid amount of players on base, but that wasn’t the narrative tonight.

This team just doesn’t quit and if someone doesn’t have it on any given night, someone else will pick up the slack. It’s been said that the 2021 squad feels a lot like the 2013 team in that everyone has their chance to carry the team and I couldn’t agree more.

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I’ll admit I’ve had my moments with Kiké where he wasn’t living up to my expectations and now that he is, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be wrong about him. I was expecting him to come right in and get to work but it’s tough joining a new organization and not having a set role within the team. It feels like for the time beating he’ll be the lead-off man and has really grown into that role. Whether it’s smacking dingers to open the game or just finding ways to get on for the big bats, he’s doing it.

"“That was cool, because it’s his biggest hit so far here,” said Cora. “I know the leadoff home runs he’s hit and all that stuff. But packed house, loud place, the music was great, just the moment [was great]. It was a fun atmosphere. It’s not a Friday night at Fenway, but it was a great Thursday night.”"

Since joining the Red Sox, Kiké is having one of his best seasons to date and is above his career averages for offense. Getting to see him do some of his best work with that Boston “B,” on his helmet has been an absolute blast. He has an energy that fills the clubhouse and dugout and is hard to not adopt when you see him charged up. There’s a reason that Cora wanted him so badly on this team and it wasn’t just for what he does in the lineup, he’s the definition of a clubhouse guy and he’s someone you want to hold onto.

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With one 1-4 game last night Hernández has etched himself into the hearts of Red Sox Nation. Honestly with this fanbase with some guys, it doesn’t take much and with others, they’ll never earn that honor. I think he’s been inching closer and closer to that positioning with the fans all season long and his efforts last night pushed him over the finish line. Through Chaim Bloom’s short tenure in Boston, Kiké Hernández is easily becoming one of his best free-agent signings. If he keeps having nights like last night, he’ll be a made man in Boston forever.

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