The Boston Red Sox are off to a 2-0 start to their 2017 MLB regular season after Sandy Leon made a mistake running the bases in the third inning, but made up for it in the 12th in a big way.
Leon’s three-run walk-off home run was the first walk-off homer of his career.
At the same time, offseason acquisition Chris Sale pitched three-hit ball over seven innings in his Boston debut. Sale should have won the game if not for Leon’s blunder in the third, but he was nonetheless very happy with his performance and the final outcome of the game.
Leon hit a double during the third but was thrown out at home after he ran through the stop sign of Brian Butterfield the third base coach.
However, in the 12th with the score still 0-0, Jackie Bradley Jr walked as did Pablo Sandoval with just one out. Leon then stepped up to the plate and hit a drive that cleared the Green Monster ending a cold night at Fenway for Boston.
Joe Kelly, the sixth pitcher for Boston earned the win with a pair of one-hit innings of relief.
Pittsburgh did not get a runner beyond first base. However, Clint Hurdle the Pirates manager said the only difference between the teams on Wednesday was Leon’s home run.
Sale walked just one and threw seven strikeouts. Boston acquired the left-hander from the White Sox for a group of minor league prospects including top prospect Yoan Moncada.
The Sale acquisition gave Boston a rotation with three All-Stars and two Cy Young winners. Leon said Sale was nasty on Pirates hitters as he mixed up his pitches well and got ahead in the count. Leon added that it was fun to catch Sale.
Pittsburgh’s Jameson Taillon was able to match the shutout of Sale for seven innings as well, allowing only five hits. Taillon walked three and struck out six Boston hitters.
Boston threatened in the third, but Leon was nailed at the plate by the throw of Andrew McCutchen, who this season is in right field after years in center.
Mookie Betts Boston’s prized hitter did not play due to the flu. Robbie Ross and Brock Holt also had the flu.
David Price tossed from 100 feet and threw from the mound as well and is getting closer to returning for Boston.