Just Lin time: Key switch, play save Red Sox
Valentine's move pays off as outfielder makes fantastic catch
BALTIMORE -- Wednesday's box score will tell you that the save went to Alfredo Aceves, who has been red-hot of late as Boston's closer.
But most people who watched the game probably felt that right fielder Che-Hsuan Lin is the one who saved it.
The Red Sox were clinging to a two-run lead in the bottom of the eighth, and the Orioles had runners on second and third with one out.
That was when Wilson Betemit hit a sinking liner into right-center, and on came Lin with a sensational diving catch that wound up as a sacrifice fly. The Red Sox went on to win, 6-5.
With seven outfielders on the disabled list, the Red Sox have had to dig deep into their farm system, providing opportunities for players such as Lin.
"I wanted to get the out," Lin said through an interpreter. "I got a good read. I tried to go down and at least stop the ball. I was lucky, and I was happy I could make that diving catch."
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was just happy that he reshuffled his defense in time. To start the bottom of the seventh, he moved Adrian Gonzalez from right field to first base and had Lin pinch-run for Kevin Youkilis, who started the game at first.
"Well, you know, when you're moving people around, you try to figure out the right time to do it," said Valentine. "I figured with the lead, [that was the time], and my coaches were right there with me. He did save the game. That was a fabulous play. Came out of nowhere. He just closed the gap. I didn't think he had any chance. The ball was slicing away from him. You know, he saved the game."
Lin has always been known for his glove. His bat is still in the development phase. For now, considering Boston's depleted state, Lin certainly provides a purpose as a late-inning defensive replacement.
"Playing just like that might be the perfect time for him," Valentine said. "He's like a reliever who comes in with a lead, the way I look at him."