BOSTON -- Watching from the Red Sox dugout as the winning run scores in the ninth inning of a walk-off victory over the Chicago White Sox? Not a bad way to begin your major league career, Christian Vazquez.
Starting at catcher and batting ninth Wednesday night after being called up to replace the recently designated-for-assignment A.J. Pierzynski, Vazquez enjoyed a successful debut and an exciting 5-4 comeback victory. Despite going 0-for-3 at the plate, Vazquez made two strong defensive plays behind the dish that contributed to the team’s win.
After Mike Napoli's error in the fourth on a Dayan Viciedo grounder allowed a run to score, Vazquez showed off his “cannon for an arm,” as fellow catcher David Ross described it before the game. Vazquez corralled a throw from right fielder Mookie Betts and nailed Viciedo at second when he tried to advance on the throw.
In the seventh inning, Alejandro De Aza tried to score on Tyler Flowers' double, coming around from first as the ball got away from Jonny Gomes in left -- the ball appeared to hit Gomes in the head. He was able to recover quickly, and relay man Xander Bogaerts fired a strike to Vazquez, who placed a clean swipe tag on De Aza at home for the out.
Vazquez also guided former Triple-A Pawtucket teammate Rubby De La Rosa along through five solid innings. De La Rosa allowed three runs on six hits (two home runs) in his spot start.
“I thought Christian Vazquez did an excellent job running the game tonight,” manager John Farrell said. “The number of pitches at the bottom of the strike zone were framed exceptionally well. He did a very good job overall.”
Vazquez was pinch hit for in the bottom of the ninth, with Daniel Nava coming through in his spot to drive in Betts with a double that tied the game. Nava then scored the winning run on Brock Holt's single.
After the game, Vazquez admitted that he was nervous during his debut. However, the walk-off win was enough to make him all smiles in the clubhouse.
“We’re just going to tell Vazquez this is what he should expect every game,” Nava said. “This is what happens all the time.”