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Jonny Gomes manages to supply late-inning heroics once again

06.29.13 at 12:11 am ET
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Jonny Gomes did it again.

With the bases loaded and the game tied at 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh, Gomes ripped a line drive past the dive of Jays third base man Maicer Izturis, bringing in the go-ahead run on the way to a 7-5 Red Sox victory over Toronto Friday night.

Gomes has had a flare for the dramatic this month, as was evidenced on June 18 when he belted a two-run walkoff home run against rival Tampa Bay. Another example of the righty hitter rising to the occasion? He carries a 1.102 OPS with runners on base after the sixth inning.

This time, Gomes pinch-hit for Daniel Nava in the bottom of the seventh in order to face lefty Brett Cecil, against whom he has had  success against in his career. He is now hitting .571 against Cecil with a home run and two RBI. Gomes also has reached in seven of his 15 plate appearances as a pinch-hitter this season.

After the game manager John Farrell was asked about Gomes’ success coming off the bench in pressure situations.

“It’s due to the work that he does,” the manager said. “The extra BP that he takes … Knowing the success he has had against Cecil in the past. He’s a veteran who has been in this role for a number of years. Physically and mentally he prepares himself to execute, and he did.”

Gomes — who had gone hitless in his last 10 at-bats against lefties (with five strikeouts) prior to the match-up with Cecil —  commented on his confidence in coming off the bench in big situations and credited Farrell for his success on Friday night.

“John [Farrell] does a good job of putting us in a situation where we can succeed,” he said. “I don’t hit into many double plays, so that’s all I was looking to do, a pitch to elevate. Was kind of a line drive, scared me for a second, but once it got through it was all right. I’ve had success against lefties so it was a good match-up.”

Not only has Gomes had success against lefties, but he has also been extremely effective with runners in scoring position this season. His season average is just .211 but with runners in scoring position he is hitting .296 with 12 RBI.

Following the game, Farrell commented on what makes Gomes so effective with runners on base.

“It’s clearly a mindset,” he said. “Pitchers are going to be careful with him, but he gets himself in good hitters counts. He’s a smart baseball player all the way around. We have a lot of confidence when he walks to the plate.”

Even with Gomes as he acknowledged his success when coming off the bench in big situations — hitting .417 (5-for-12) with eight walks when getting one or fewer at-bats this season — Gomes deflected praise to the team.

“Day like today, definitely a team victory,” the outfielder commented. “We’ve had plenty of success with guys coming off the bench. We’ve got a deep team, deep bench and we’re all ready.”

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