Boston Red Sox outfield Yoenis Cespedes put on a homerun show during batting practice and later displayed that same power during the late innings of the Red Sox 3-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night. It was the second time in as many games that Cespedes hit a go-ahead homerun to lead the team to victory.
The game didn’t start off in Boston’s favor. Red Sox starter Joe Kelly struggled early and had a tough time finding the plate. He threw seven straight balls before delivering his first strike to Jay Bruce. Kelly ended up eventually walking Bruce setting up an RBI single by Todd Frazier giving the Reds a 1-0 lead. That lead extended to 2-0 after Devin Mesoraco knocked in another run. That was all the damage done against Kelly, who eventually settled down into a solid outing the rest of the game.
Overall Kelly worked six innings while trigging two runs on five hits. Kelly also played a role in the offense by stealing a base in the top of the third inning. It was the first stolen base by a Boston pitcher since 1969. Offensively, the Red Sox was pretty much shut down again. Reds starter Mat Latos at one point retired 11 straight batters. Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava led off the seventh with a double and shortstop Xander Bogaerts knocked him in with an RBI single to cut the score to 2-1.
With Latos out of the game in the eighth inning, Yoenis Cespedes came to the plate and delivered once again for the Red Sox. He took a two-out pitch from reliever Jonathan Broxton over the center field wall to lift the Sox to a 3-2 lead. It was his 19th homer of the season and 2nd since joining the Red Sox. Koji Uehara sealed the victory for reliever Tommy Layne (1-0) with his 26th save. Boston has now won three of their last four games and improved to 4-3 on their current road trip.
After the game Cespedes commented on being pitched high and inside by Broxton the pitch before he launched his clutch 433-foot homerun. He said, “A lot of times when pitchers throw high and tight, they think the batter backs off and gets flustered. That’s not how I am. I get more focused.” That focus has delivered two wins for the Red Sox and hopefully many more.