BOSTON -- In Saturday's 7-4 win over Cleveland, the Boston Red Sox got two game-tying RBI from two different left fielders, had a fill-in third baseman get three hits and a fill-in shortstop do the same, picked starter Jon Lester off the hook with a late rally and got a shutdown performance from the bullpen, capped by Andrew Bailey's first save in more than a month.
It was the type of victory that can only help to galvanize a ballclub.
"I don't know that you can pinpoint one [play] because to say that here is the most important point, you're losing sight of so many other things that took place," manager John Farrell said. "This was a very good team win and we got contributions from a lot of guys."
Jonny Gomes may be about 10th on the list of players to mention after this one, but it was his strong throw from left field that cut down a runner at home plate in the third, allowing Lester to escape a pickle. And it was Gomes who was left in to hit against a right-hander in the sixth with the bases loaded, and who lifted a game-tying sacrifice fly to center.
Farrell finally pulled Gomes in the eighth in favor of Mike Carp, a move that paid off in one pitch as Carp doubled to left to again bring in the tying run. Although the move was a no-brainer for Farrell, the result still spoke volumes to the team's preparedness, and how it can make the skipper look pretty good at times.
"He's pressed a lot of the right buttons," Dustin Pedroia said of his manager. "Put Carp in there and drive the ball. There's been some huge situations he's made the right decision and it's come out in our favor."
Carp was in an 0-for-21 dive before crushing a three-run homer in Friday's 8-1 win. Back in his bench role, he reassumed the mindset of thinking ahead and waiting for his big moment.
"We always get ready. Guys on the bench, fifth, sixth inning, we start playing with matchups, see what matchups are going to go," he said.
Carp said he went over the scouting report from Jarrod Saltalamacchia on Indians right-hander Vinnie Pestano, their setup man and the guy Carp figured to face in a big situation. The plan was to wait for a fastball out over the plate, and that's exactly what Pestano started with. Ever ready, Carp was waiting.
Pedroia followed with an RBI double and Daniel Nava got a wind-aided two-run single and just like that the Sox had broken out for four feel-good runs with contributions from all over the place. Pedro Ciriaco's double, his third hit of the game, started the rally.
In keeping with the theme was catcher David Ross, who played his first game in two weeks and went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. However, Ross helped settle Lester down after a rocky beginning, and he did his part postgame with a heavy dose of praise for his teammates.
"My confidence level is high. All these guys," he said. "We've got guys. Mike Carp coming off the bench. Pedro Ciriaco a big hit. I know that all my teammates work hard and they want to be out there and prepare and do their homework and I can go to bed at night knowing the guys in this locker room go out there and compete as hard as they can."
And when that competitive spirit comes together in the right way, you have yourself a real team win.