Brock Holt again dons cape in Red Sox' walkoff win

July 09, 2014 - 10:02 pm
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It was baseball's version of poetic justice. Out of anyone to deliver the game-winning hit in Boston's thrilling 5-4 comeback win over the White Sox Wednesday, it was only fitting that it was carried out by the player who has served as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise miserable campaign in 2014: Brock Holt. With the game knotted at four runs apiece, Holt stepped into the batter's box, looking to turn around an 0-for-4 showing and drive in an energized Daniel Nava anxiously holding at second base. Facing a 1-2 count against White Sox reliever Javy Guerra, Holt delivered, sending a 95 mph fastball into right field, allowing Nava to cross the plate and complete a comeback that served as a refreshing reminder of the tenacious and resilient 2013 Red Sox squad. It was the first walkoff hit of Holt's major league career, as well as the first time that the 26-year-old infielder/outfielder drove in a go-ahead RBI in the eighth inning or later. "Mookie [Betts] gets hits by the pitch, gets on base, Nava comes in -- huge pinch-hit double, drives in the tying run, so my job was the easy one I guess," Holt said. "I think Nava had the tough one. I got a fastball to hit and put a good swing on it and scorched it to get it into the outfield there and Nava scored." A player who was mostly viewed as an afterthought this spring training and wasn't even on the Opening Day roster, Holt has shattered expectations again and again this year. Just a year removed from posting an underwhelming .203/.275/.237 line in 26 games with Boston, Holt has been a revelation this year, helping t0 fill the gaping hole in the leadoff spot of the Red Sox lineup that was created with the departure of Jacoby Ellsbury. Since being installed as Boston's leadoff hitter on May 26, Holt has reached base in 40 of his 46 games in which he's started at the top of the Sox batting order, hitting .310 during that stretch (63-for-203). Entering Wednesday's game, Holt's .313 batting average was first amongst MLB rookies (min. 150 plate appearances) and ninth among all batters in the AL (min. 250 PA). While Holt's contributions at the plate will be the most noteworthy of his performance during Wednesday's contest, lost in all the storylines regarding Boston's dramatic win was the fact that Holt added yet another spot on the diamond to his growing list of positions, as the Texas native played his first career game at shortstop. It might be easier to just list the positions that Holt has not played this season: second base, catcher and pitcher -- as he has served as Boston's Swiss army knife throughout this season. Holt became just the second Red Sox player ever to start at first base, third base, shortstop and all three outfield positions in the same season -- joining Jack Rothrock, who accomplished the feat back in 1928. While Holt acknowledged that there are times when he's not even aware of where he will play when he gets to the ballpark, he added that being prepared is just part of his mentality day in and day out. "You've just got to be ready, that's kind of my mindset, just coming to the park ready to play," Holt said. "Not knowing where exactly, but being ready to play. ... When I find out where I'm playing, I'll be ready to play that position." Playing just one (albeit huge) part in what was a thrilling night at Fenway was a big moment for Holt, as Boston continues its mission to try to climb its way back up the standings during the second half of the season. "We got [Chicago starter Chris Sale] out and put some runs on the board and ... were able to finish it off. It's something that we haven't been able to do recently, so it's a good feeling," Holt said.

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