Marrero shows surprising pop at an ideal time

Marrero shows surprising pop at an ideal time

CHICAGO -- Of all the position players on the Red Sox, there's no doubt who was the most unlikely to belt two home runs to lead Tuesday night's 13-7 victory over the White Sox.

And that's what made it so sweet for Deven Marrero, who came up with an out-of-nowhere performance at a time he's trying to prove to manager John Farrell that he should remain in the lineup.

For the Red Sox, the storyline coming in was Chris Sale pitching at his old haunt for the first time since the trade from the White Sox back in December.

But Marrero stole the show as part of a season-high six-homer effort by the Red Sox that helped Sale get a win on a night he didn't pitch particularly well.

"To have his back here against his old club was pretty fun, just to have him come up to me and say, 'Thanks for picking me up today.' That was probably the best part of my day beside the two home runs," said Marrero. "That was pretty special."

Marrero belted Jose Quintana's 1-1 curveball over the wall in left for a two-run homer in Boston's four-run second inning. And in the third, he roped a 3-2 curve by Quintana for a three-run shot.

To consider how surprising the power display was from Marrero, consider that he entered the game with two career homers in 122 MLB at-bats. He has 17 homers in 1,913 at-bats in the Minors, but never had two of them in one game.

So when was his last multi-homer game?

"Probably never. High school or Little League or something. I don't think so in college," Marrero said.

When Marrero checked his phone after the game, he could see the degree to which he stunned even his family and friends.

"Yeah, I got like 120 [texts]," said Marrero. "More than when I got drafted. It was pretty cool."

Marrero was selected by the Red Sox with the 24th overall pick in the 2012 Draft, out of Dustin Pedroia's alma mater: Arizona State.

On the same day Pedroia went on the disabled list with a sprained left wrist, Marrero came through with his career-best performance.

Over the past two weeks, Marrero has been starting at third base, giving that position some stability for the first time all season. But Pablo Sandoval was activated from the DL on Tuesday, and that could impact Marrero's role. Perhaps Marrero can play third against lefties and second against some righties, at least until Pedroia returns.

The playing rotation is still unfolding for Farrell, but the 26-year-old Marrero definitely helped his cause Tuesday.

"Yeah, that's just the competitive mindset that I have, that I've always had in my life, and my career," said Marrero. "I just want to win and be on a team that's winning and contribute. I'm looking forward to just being in the lineup, that's all I want to do. Whenever they put me in there, I'm going to do the best I can to help this team win."

Though the two-homer barrage by Marrero was a nice surprise, it's not something that should be expected. Marrero is slashing .194/.242/.371 with three homers and 11 RBIs.

The way he can realistically be an asset to the Red Sox is to continue to play strong defense and put up competitive at-bats.

"Amazing," said Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. "He's been getting it done on both sides of the ball. Tonight, he hit the ball with authority."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.