Rafael Devers hits 2-RBI double in eighth inning of Red Sox win

Red Sox

Devers knocked in a pair of runs with a double off the Monster, and helped the Red Sox win 4-2 on Saturday.

Rafael Devers’s 2-RBI double in the bottom of the eighth led to a 4-2 Red Sox win on Saturday. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Choosing to pitch to Tyler O’Neill or Rafael Devers in a tie game with a runner in scoring position seems to be an impossible task for opposing managers. Devers has long held the title of Boston’s best batter, and O’Neill is the Red Sox’ current home run leader.

In hindsight, Nationals manager Dave Martinez made the wrong choice intentionally walking O’Neill in favor of Devers in the top of the eighth inning.

Now with runners on first and second, Devers put together a patient at-bat and eventually slashed a pitch deep to left-center field off the Green Monster. The double drove in a pair of runs, giving Boston a 4-2 lead that stood as the final.

Devers saw the logic in Martinez’s decision, but admits he was a little bit surprised by it.

“Those are baseball decisions, Tyler’s a right-handed batter, I’m a lefty, so even if I’m a manager someday I might make the same decision,” Devers told reporters through a translator. “In the moment, I was very surprised.”

Devers couldn’t recall a time in his life when a batter was intentionally walked in front of him. It has happened before, though, back in 2021, when the Tampa Bay Rays intentionally walked JD Martinez to load the bases. In that instance, Devers also capitalized, knocking in an RBI single.

Devers currently holds a .288 batting average, while O’Neill’s sits at .271, but O’Neill sits at nine home runs on the season to Devers’s four. So, either way the decision went, the Red Sox were well-positioned to generate a go-ahead run with one of their two heavy bats.

After the game, Boston manager Alex Cora praised Devers for that at-bat specifically, as well as the approach he’s had in recent games.

“He’s been fighting his swing, just trying to stay on pitches … he’s been trying to get that feel,” Cora said. “He was on pitches, and he got one he was able to handle and hit it that way.”

From a manager’s perspective, Cora didn’t envy the decision in Martinez’s hands on Saturday evening.

“That’s what we were talking about, the lineup construction. Make them make a decision. We got three good matchups to our advantage,” Cora said. “[Devers] against anybody, we’ll take that.”

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