Vázquez thought of Big Papi after his hit

BOSTON – On Oct. 16, 2004, David Ortiz homered in the twelfth inning to knock out the Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series and keep the Red Sox alive. with a 6-4 win. We already know that Boston would win three more to eliminate New York historically, heading for its first World Series title in 86 years.

Seventeen years later, on Sunday in Game 3 of the American League Division Series between the Rays and the Red Sox, Boston catcher Christian Vázquez had that game come to mind. The Puerto Rican had seen the game on television. And now, he emulated the legend of Los Patirrojos.

In the 13th inning on Sunday, Vázquez hit a golden home run off Tampa Bay right-hander Luis Patiño to give Boston the 6-4 victory (oddly, the same score as 17 years ago). Going around the bases, Vazquez only thought about what Ortiz did that night.

“I was remembering when he homered in 2004,” Vázquez revealed. “I thought of that moment when I was running the bases. It was a very special moment ”.

Collectively for the Red Sox, it was pretty special. With their win on Sunday, Boston is on the verge of a victory to eliminate the Rays and advance to the American League Championship Series for the first time since 2018, when the team won the World Series.

Vazquez did not start Sunday’s game, with starter Nathan Eovaldi once again throwing backup catcher Kevin Plawecki. But once Eovaldi left the game, Vazquez returned to action, as usual. And while his power numbers in the 2021 regular season look nothing like what he did in his best offensive season two years ago (23 homers in 2019, just six this season), Vázquez has kept working to deliver. face – like he did on Sunday.

“I know it means a lot to him,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora from Puerto Rico. “He works hard at his craft. This organization is very important to him ”.

The Puerto Rican Enrique “Kike” Hernández, another of Boston’s heroes So far in the playoffs, he saw what Vazquez did and gave him a short, but accurate description:

Vazquez’s home run was just his first hit in 11 at-bats this postseason, but so far it has been the biggest hit for the Patirrojos. It was before Patiño’s first pitch, a 96.1-mile-per-hour four-seam fastball. Vázquez affirms that he had watched Patiño attentively with his first pitches in front of the two previous hitters, pure fast balls.

He was ready to go down first.

“I was looking for that speed to put a good swing on him,” said Vazquez, whose gold shot had an exit velocity of 101.3 miles per hour and an estimated distance of 394 feet. “Patiño has good speed, a good fastball. And I was looking for the straight, I made a good swing and thank God we won ”.