Saturday, March 8, 2014
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Former Portland Sea Dogs Xander Bogaerts, 21, left, and Brandon Workman, 25, showed confidence and poise in helping the Red Sox get to the World Series.
2013 AP file photos
With the count two strikes and two balls on Bogaerts in his first at-bat, he let a slider go by, just off the plate.
“Most people would swing at that pitch. I don’t know how I didn’t swing at it,” Bogaerts said with his usual candor. “From that pitch on, I started smiling. I knew it was going to be a good day.”
Bogaerts doubled his next time up and scored. In the big seventh inning, Bogaerts walked again and scored on Shane Victorino’s game-winning grand slam.
“He’s beyond his years,” Boston manager John Farrell said of Bogaerts. “He has a bright, bright future.”
Farrell summoned Workman in the sixth inning when Boston looked in trouble. Detroit led 2-1 and had runners on first and third base, with no outs. Dangerous hitters Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila were the next batters.
Workman got Peralta to ground into a double-play – on a heads-up defensive effort by second-baseman Dustin Pedroia – and then struck out Avila.
In the seventh inning, Workman allowed a few baserunners, but also got two outs.
“Workman tonight was outstanding,” Farrell said.
Workman is confident for a rookie, a confidence that he demonstrated at Hadlock Field – and now at Fenway.
“I believed I could get it done in that spot, and I did,” Workman said. “I made pitches that kept us in the game.”
Soon, Workman was rushing onto the field, joining his teammates, including Bogaerts. They hugged, cheered, gave interviews, and eventually joined in the champagne-spraying celebration in the clubhouse.
Their one-year, head-spinning journey is almost complete, from April games at Hadlock Field to World Series games in late October.Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @ClearTheBases