After delivering the game-winning hit in yet another Red Sox rally on Sunday, Xander Bogaerts was asked on SportsCenter if the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry was added motivation.
“It was, it was,” Bogaerts said. “Obviously [Yankees outfielder Brett] Gardner said a couple of words before the series started, so it kind of got us cued up a little bit more.”
Before the series, Gardner said beating Red Sox manager Alex Cora was extra motivation, before clarifying that he was “halfway kidding.”
“Listen,” Gardner said. “They don’t like us. We don’t like them.”
Bogaerts, however, kept clear of any other potential escalation.
“It’s always exciting coming and playing here,” he said. “It’s a big rivalry going on, and obviously this year we’re playing real good baseball, we’re up there in the standings, so it’s been real fun.
“Today was a really fun game. … Obviously, last year the way the year played out, no fans and stuff like that, tonight was really fun all the way around.”
Bogaerts’s two-run single in the top of the 10th inning gave the Red Sox the lead after the Yankees drew even in the ninth to extend the game.
The Red Sox held on in the bottom of the frame, as Phillips Valdez surrendered a run but picked up his first save of the season and a 6-5 victory.
Whether to prove a point to Gardner or not, Bogaerts went out of his way to describe how Cora makes players feel supported when asked about his manager on SportsCenter.
“He just gives you confidence, especially whenever you’re not going as good,” Bogaerts said. “Obviously, we know we are competitors and we want to do good, but it’s not always going to work that way.”
Bogaerts was asked how much of the Red Sox’ surprising turnaround could be attributed to Cora’s return.
“We obviously had a lot of success with him,” Bogaerts said. “Obviously last year was a tough year. We had Ron [Roenicke] as the manager. He did a great job with the team that we had. It was a tough year, tough situation, I miss him dearly, but we’ve had a lot of success with [Cora].”
“This was a nice series for us and a nice series sweep,” Bogaerts added, with a smile.
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