BOSTON -- Boston's Jarrod Saltalamacchia caught Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk's ceremonial first pitch honoring a memorable Fenway Park moment.
Then he made one of his own about three hours later.Saltalamacchia had a pinch-hit, two-run homer off Fernando Rodney with one out in the ninth inning to lift the Red Sox to a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.
McDonald: Sox's Savior Is Salty
After reliving Carlton Fisk's famous 1975 series-extending home run in a pregame ceremony, Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a dramatic walk-off of his own, Joe McDonald writes. Story
Fisk's moment that was honored was his homer off the left-field foul pole to end Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Saltalamacchia caught the former Red Sox catcher and had a chance to chat."I said to him, 'Do you remember that swing?' He said, 'I wake up some nights and still get goose bumps," Saltalamacchia said. "I know how he felt. I'm going to remember the swing.'"Daniel Nava walked to open the ninth, Nick Punto sacrificed and Saltalamacchia lofted a high drive to right-center for Boston's 11th win in 15 games."Go talk to Salty. He deserves to be at the center (of attention)," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said as he left the podium from his postgame news conference.Rodney (2-1) had converted his first 15 save chances."We were saying, 'He's going to blow his first one.' Positive thinking," said Adrian Gonzalez, who watched in the clubhouse after coming out for a pinch runner in the sixth.Rodney said he just missed badly with a pitch."I know someday that's going to happen to me. But that happened tonight," he said. "Tomorrow is the next day, so I'm going to keep working my routine."Rays manager Joe Maddon gave Rodney a high-five and a big hug before the right-hander went to the shower."Fernando's been fabulous and he's going to continue to be fabulous for us," Maddon said. "No, I'm not concerned about him at all. He had great stuff."Rich Hill (1-0) pitched one inning for the win.A night after the teams had a testy benches-clearing scrum in the ninth inning that turned into an exchange of words between the managers, the teams played a taught game highlighted by the pitching of aces Josh Beckett and David Price -- and a throw by B.J. Upton.Boston's Beckett and Tampa Bay's Price each pitched seven impressive inning.Ben Zobrist hit a sacrifice fly and Luke Scott then put the Rays up 2-1 in the seventh with an RBI single. Tampa Bay had its three-game winning streak snapped.Will Middlebrooks drove in Boston's first run with a sixth-inning single. But before that Upton made a strong throw home to catch Dustin Pedroia at the plate.Price scattered eight hits -- seven singles -- struck out five and walked three in a 115-pitch effort.Despite pregame accusations by Valentine that the Rays' coaches were "unprofessional" for their actions and that they "were agitating, aggravating, and instigating the situation," this game had no sign of the testiness that came late in Friday's 7-4 win by the Rays when the benches cleared after Red Sox reliever Franklin Morales hit Scott in the right leg.Trailing 1-0 and with only one single against Beckett in the first six innings, the Rays collected three hits and grabbed a 2-1 lead in the seventh. Ben Zobrist's sacrifice fly tied it after Upton singled and advanced on Matt Joyce's single. Scott then followed with his run-scoring single through a shifted infield. Beckett did end the inning by striking out Jose Molina.Price got David Ortiz, the final batter he faced, on a bouncer to short with runners on first and third.Beckett gave up two runs, four hits, while striking out five and not walking anyone. He had won his last two starts, allowing just one run in 14 2/3 innings.Boston had taken a 1-0 lead in the sixth. After Pedroia was cut down at the plate by center fielder Upton's throw on Gonzalez's single, Middlebrooks hit a hard grounder up the middle that took a tough hop on second baseman Sean Rodriguez, who was near the edge of the grass and behind the bag.Pedroia had walked leading off and moved to second when Ortiz singled through a shifted infield to left.
Gonzalez started in right field in Fenway Park for the first time, but didn't get any chances. ... Maddon waited to put up his lineup until checking to see how Scott's right knee was feeling. ... Scott hardly looked bothered by the attention he got Friday night, coming into the dugout and smiling before he went out to stretch before the Rays took batting practice. ... The Red Sox showed highlights on the center field scoreboard of early action of Game 7 of the playoff game between the Celtics-76ers played about 3 miles away at TD Garden. ... Marlon Byrd made a nice running catch on the left-center field track. ... Boston OF Ryan Sweeney, on the 7-day DL with a concussion, looked good going back shagging fly balls in BP. He's eligible to come off Monday.