After a 98-minute rain delay, the majority of the 29,706 fans on hand for Monday night’s game between the Astros and Red Sox at Fenway Park had already left the premises.
The ones who stuck around, however, made their voices heard. Especially in the eighth inning as Xander Bogaerts stepped up to the plate looking to follow J.D. Martinez’s go-ahead RBI double with a productive hit of his own.
As Bogaerts prepared to face off against Astros reliever Hector Neris, the Red Sox fans still at Fenway began to break out into a “Re-sign Xander! Re-sign Xander!” chant.
On the sixth pitch he saw from Neris, Bogaerts turned on a 94 mph fastball and crushed it 397 feet over the Green Monster to score both Martinez and himself to give the Sox a 6-3 lead. That would go on to be Monday’s final score.
“I heard it,” Bogaerts told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) early Tuesday morning. “If I struck out, it wouldn’t have helped my cause.”
Bogaerts has the ability to opt out of his contract with Boston and become a free-agent this winter. While the 29-year-old has expressed a desire to remain with the organization he began his professional career with for the foreseeable future, the two sides have yet to come to terms on a potential extension.
Despite the distractions contract extension talks can present, Bogaerts has not been phased by them to this point in the season. Following Monday’s clutch performance, the right-handed hitter is now batting .346/.403/.477 with three home runs and 15 RBIs on the year.
“He’s not the first guy in this situation,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Bogaerts. “From my end, he is the shortstop, he plays everyday, he posts and he’s a good player.”
Since debuting with the Red Sox in 2013, Bogaerts has gone from a soft-spoken rookie playing out of position to one of the more respected and admired individuals in the organization. Even while in the midst of his 10th season in the big-leagues, the Aruban still appreciates the support from fans that was on full display Monday night.
“You always feel the love and appreciation around here,” said Bogaerts. “Just coming up through the system and being here for a long time up to this point. It has been fun. A game that (was delayed), you don’t even know how many people are going to be sticking around to see if the game is going to go ahead. I heard it.”
(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)