'Simple' approach yields Leon's first walk-off hit
By Quinn Roberts
BOSTON -- It had been a long night at the plate for the Red Sox on Wednesday at Fenway Park when Sandy Leon stepped up with one out in the bottom of the 12th inning against the Pirates. Leon changed the night with one swing.
Crushing an 0-1 pitch over the Green Monster, the Red Sox catcher catapulted the team to a 3-0 win with his first career walk-off hit.
"I just started running," Leon said. "I didn't even know it was gone. When the fans started to yell, I knew.
"A long game like that, I just wanted to keep it simple, but it was right down the middle and I put a good swing on it."
Belting three of the team's eight hits, Leon is the first Red Sox catcher to record multiple hits in each of his first two games of the season since Sammy White in 1954.
The home run made up for his baserunning blunder in the third inning that could have led to a Red Sox rally. After hitting a double with two outs, Leon charged home on a single to right field by Dustin Pedroia, running through the stop sign of third-base coach Brian Butterfield.
"Earlier in the ballgame, Sandy runs through a stop sign, so he certainly redeemed himself with the final swing tonight," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.
One of his most excited teammates after the game was starter Chris Sale, who made his Red Sox debut, allowing three hits over seven innings with seven strikeouts.
"Sandy was the one calling them. I was just the one throwing them. When you can have confidence in your guys behind the plate like that, it's huge," Sale said. "Watching him hit that home run, that was fun."
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.