- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- With two outs, the game tied and the potential winning run on second base for the Boston Red Sox, pinch-hitter Mike Carp delivered a game-winning hit in the bottom of the eighth inning en route to a 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday at Fenway Park.
It was the fourth time this season a Red Sox pinch-hitter provided the go-ahead run, which is tied for the most among AL teams. Carp, who was pinch-hitting for rookie Xander Bogaerts, had a simple plan when facing Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter.
"Get a hit," Carp said. "That's all it comes down to right there. A pinch-hit at-bat is tough to do. Tommy Hunter's been throwing the ball well all year. I just got enough of it to dump it over [third baseman Manny] Machado's head. It's what we play for, trying to drive in the game-winning run."
Carp, a left-handed hitter, punched the ball just out of the reach of Machado in shallow left field. Since there were two outs, Jarrod Saltalamacchia was running on contract and scored the go-ahead run from second.
"Sometimes it's all about placement," Carp said. "Didn't get a lot of it but it's a funny game; you hit the ball hard, guys are hitting the ball hard all night at people. It takes one just little squibber, one little jam shot to seal the deal."
Carp, like any position player on the bench, stays ready in case he's called upon at any time during the game. In a pinch-hit situation Wednesday night, Carp was ready to face the right-handed Hunter and it worked in Boston's favor.
"It was unbelievable, a clutch hit, a great at-bat," said Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who scored the game-tying run in the seventh inning. "Hunter's obviously a very good pitcher, throws hard but Carp put a great at-bat together, put the ball in play and good things happen when you do that."
After the win, manager John Farrell called Carp's hit a timely one, but it was Saltalamacchia's key two-out, opposite-field double off the Monster that set up Carp's heroics.
"In that inning the at-bat by Salty was an outstanding one," Farrell said. "We talked before the game about his ability to cover the plate, another big double at an important time. And then as we've seen Mike in a pinch-hit role throughout the course of the year, he stays prepared and fortunately we had a little luck on our side on that one."
With the late-inning situation unfolding, Farrell realized Hunter has pitched well against right-handed hitters this season, so the Red Sox manager told Bogaerts, who started at third base and was 0-for-3, that Carp would hit against Hunter.
Bogaerts understood the situation.
"I like the fact that I got a heads-up," Bogaerts said. "That was really big. Not like when I go up to hit, get to the plate and then they alert me. It was really good he gave me a heads-up, so I really liked that part. It was a big-time hit. [Carp] didn't hit it hard. He hit it perfectly, where no one was. It was definitely a good at-bat right there."
The Red Sox acquired Carp on Feb. 20 from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for a player to be named later. Like many of Boston's offseason acquisitions, Carp has fit in nicely on the field and in the clubhouse for the Red Sox. He has shown a flare for the dramatic and provided it once again Wednesday night.
"To get this opportunity here to play in this great city on a great team has been a lot of fun," Carp said. "It's been a fun ride the whole year and we're going to be playing hard down the stretch and hopefully come away with a World Series championship at the end of the year because that's the goal."
Before he exited the clubhouse, many of his teammates congratulated him.
"It's a dream team, a lot of fun. Just a dream season all together," Carp said.