Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Eduardo Nunez: Three-run homer was redemption for last season

Ryan Hannable
October 24, 2018 - 1:48 am

Last season, Eduardo Nunez's first year as a member of the Red Sox, didn't go according to plan.

The third baseman battled injuries virtually the entire season, and after injuring his knee on a slide in September, he was able to return for the postseason. But, in the first postseason game in the ALDS against the Astros, he re-injured the knee running to first base. It was so bad he needed to be carted off the field and was removed from the playoff roster.

On Tuesday, when he hit a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the seventh inning to give the Red Sox a 8-4 lead, and win, over the Dodgers in Game 1 of the World Series, he said he would view it as redemption.

"For sure. For sure," he said. "I was disappointed in myself last year. I was getting injured at the wrong time. And so my teammates lost in the first round -- [it] was awful. So I signed back. I told Alex [Cora], the only reason I signed back here, because I know we have [Dustin] Pedroia, we have Bogey [Xander Bogaerts], was I want to win rings. I never have had that experience. I never have [played in] a World Series game. I think the best chance is this thing, how I see the team, the players.

"So I come through with a lot of injuries this year with my knee, a lot of issues. But thank God I come through, and we're here. I'm very excited to have the win today."

Prior to the at-bat, Nunez had just one RBI as a pinch-hitter in his career. Also, he had 204 at-bats against relief pitchers this season, and homered just once. This made him the third least likely player to hit a homer in terms of at-bats per home run. The league average is 28.3 at-bats/homer.

"I think that was the best feeling for a player, see all the fans," he said. "They paid tickets to watch us to play and be crazy. In that situation I think that's a great feeling for us."

While it was the biggest hit of the game, Nunez defected any credit for giving the Red Sox their first World Series win since 2013.

"That's weird because I don't care about being a hero," he said. "As long as we have the win, that's all that matters. We are here to win and lose together. Who cares who's the hero that night. As long as we have a hero, that's a good feeling because we have the win."

The Red Sox are now up 1-0 in the best-of-seven series.

Related: Winning did not stop for Red Sox in World Series