Red Sox rookie Jeter Downs fuels comeback with first major league hit
Boston Red Sox rookie Jeter Down came through in the clutch
Jeter Downs started his day in Triple-A. When the call came to inform him he was needed in the big leagues, the rookie rushed from Worcester to Boston, barely making it to Fenway Park in time for the game. A few hours later, Downs was being celebrated as one of the heroes of a dramatic comeback victory by the Boston Red Sox.
Downs entered the game as a pinch-runner for J.D. Martinez in the eighth inning following a two-out double by the veteran designated hitter. An RBI base hit from Alex Verdugo drove in Downs to tie the game, enabling the Red Sox to survive into extra innings.
The Yankees scored twice in the top of the 10th inning behind doubles from Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo. Granted, one of those runs was the ghost runner who began the inning on second base but this still felt like the latest example of the Red Sox bullpen letting a game slip away.
Boston’s lineup changed the narrative in the bottom of the inning with some help from Downs, turning another bullpen nightmare into a storybook ending.
With one out and men on the corners, Downs stepped to the plate for his only plate appearance in the game. The rookie aggressively swung at the first pitch he saw, a changeup from Yankees reliever Wandy Peralta that he slapped through the right side of the infield for his first major league hit.
Downs drove in Jarren Duran, who was the ghost runner to begin the inning, pulling the Red Sox to within one run.
Two batters later, Verdugo lined a base hit to right field for the walk-off win. Downs scored the winning run, diving head first into home plate to beat the off-target throw.
Verdugo and Downs were both acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Mookie Betts trade in 2020. Now they have combined to cap one of the most dramatic wins of the season for the Red Sox. Obviously, many fans are still stung by the franchise player being traded but at least on this night, the outcry against the decision was silenced.
The Yankees entered the game 48-0 this season when entering the eighth inning with the lead. A Red Sox team that has seen their fair share of late leads blown this season was fittingly the opponent to snap that streak.
Downs went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his debut on June 22 against the Detroit Tigers. He understandably had some rookie jitters in his first taste of the big leagues. When he was given a chance again with another call-up, Downs didn’t disappoint.
Downs, who is named after the Yankees legend, was congratulated on his big league debut last month in a tweet from Derek Jeter. He wished Downs luck… unless he’s playing the Yankees. Clearly, Downs didn’t listen.
A kid named Jeter was at the center of a Red Sox comeback win over the Yankees. You can’t write a better story than that for this promising prospect.