When he entered the game in the bottom of the ninth, Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney was a perfect 14 for 14 in save opportunities. Thanks Jarrod Saltalamacchia Rodney is no longer perfect. After the hard throwing righty walked Daniel Nava to lead off the inning, Nick Punto executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to set up a chance for the Boston Red Sox to tie the game. In place of Marlon Byrd, Bobby Valentine pinch hit the righty mashing Saltalamacchia. On the second pitch of the at bat, Salty deposited a Rodney fastball five or six rows beyond the bullpen to give the Red Sox to dramatic walk off win against the previously untouchable closer.
Saltalamacchia is currently one of the best hitting catchers in baseball, thanks entirely to his prodigious power. His .268/.308/.545 batting line is good for a122 wRC+ despite a below average ability to get on base. Of Salty’s 30 hits 17 have been for extra bases and seven of those are home runs. He is still striking out at an excessive rate (30%), but with a .277 Isolated power mark, he is going to deliver more big hits like this one.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s hit saved yet another dominating performance from Josh Beckett. He allowed just two runs on four hits and did not issue a walk in seven innings for the Red Sox while striking out five He was matched by a excellent, though not as dominating performance by David Price, who allowed just one run despite allowing eight hits and giving up three walks in seven. Price also punched out five. Josh Beckett has now allowed just three runs and 15 hits in his last 21 innings since getting batted around by the Cleveland Indians.