OAKLAND, Calif. — Brock Holt provided the final piece of the Red Sox’ best game of the season.
It was like Holt had been starting at shortstop all season.
But Holt hasn’t. He didn’t even start a single game at shortstop in spring training. And when the game was on the line in the eighth inning of the Sox’ 6-3 win over the Oakland A’s on Wednesday night, Holt made it look easy.
Marcus Semien hit a two-out single off Matt Barnes, then stole second and advanced to third on a bad throw by Blake Swihart. Ramón Laureano hit a slow roller to the left side and Holt charged forward and to his right, then made an on-the-run throw to first for a bang-bang play.
Laureano was originally ruled safe and the go-ahead run scored.
Manager Alex Cora challenged the call, it was quickly reversed and Holt, who was starting in place of the dinged up Xander Bogaerts, saved the game.
“I mean, if there’s no replay I get thrown out of the game,” Cora said. “If it was before replay I get thrown out of the game. We were pretty sure he was out.
“Brock made a great play. That was unreal. That was a great play.”
Holt looked relieved to see the call overturned.
“Once I threw it, I thought I had him,” he said. “When he said safe, I didn’t know. I figured he was out, but once they showed the replay, he looked pretty out. Just trying to help out however I can. It was good to make that play, get back in the dugout tied up, and our guys did a great job of scoring some runs.”
Holt hadn’t started at shortstop since Sept. 29 of last year, but proved his value as a premium utility player once again on Wednesday.
“I think I’ve played enough at each spot to feel comfortable there,” he said. “Whenever I’m not playing, I normally take my groundballs there, so for me, that’s probably one of the toughest positions on the field. So I get a lot of work there when I’m not playing there. I feel pretty comfortable up the middle at either spot. Fortunately, I was able to make that play, then good at-bats in that last inning to take on some runs.”
Bogaerts is expected back in the lineup on Thursday though he’s clearly not 100 percent after taking a foul ball off the leg on Tuesday. The Sox didn’t use him off the bench in Wednesday’s game.