Moss sitting pretty after key hit

He gets rare shot, delivers in clutch

Moss on his contributions

Red Sox reserve Brandon Moss, who produced the go-ahead RBI in Tuesday's win over the Twins, talks about contributing off the bench and being ready.
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Baxter Holmes
Globe Correspondent / July 9, 2008

They call themselves "El Bencho," a group of guys who aren't regulars. When one goes to bat, the rest of the group roots him on.

"Whenever one of us gets in there like me or [Alex] Cora or [Kevin] Cash or [Brandon] Moss, we always say, 'You've got to do it for El Bencho,' " said Sean Casey.

Last night, a member of El Bencho didn't just get to play but had the winning hit. Moss delivered a single up the middle in the eighth to score Kevin Youkilis and give the Red Sox a 6-5 win.

"It's very gratifying," Moss said. "That's one thing you want to do when you come off the bench like I do and you don't play every day.

"When you get in there, you want to help the team."

Help is the right word, but it fails to aptly describe the situation. There was a sizable amount of pressure on Moss's 24-year-old shoulders when he stepped in against Matt Guerrier in the eighth.

Manny Ramírez had hit a two-run home run over the Green Monster three batters before, tying the game at 5. The next batter was Kevin Youkilis, who doubled to left-center.

And here came Moss, who had only one other game-winning hit in his career, although it wasn't as dramatic, scoring the first run of a 5-0 shutout June 25 against Arizona.

Moss said his timing was off on the first pitch. The second was a slider that ended up in the dirt and advanced Youkilis to third.

Moss said he knew what was coming next.

"I was like, 'There's no way he's going to throw a slider right here,' " he said. "So I was sitting on a heater and he threw it and I got a good piece of bat on it."

The hit completed the Sox comeback from a 5-2 deficit.

"It always feels good, especially in a park like this; Fenway Park in front of a home crowd - there aren't very many better feelings," Moss said.

Moss has had three stints with Boston this year - he most recently was recalled June 7 - as the Sox have exploited his versatility. Moss has started eight games in left field, seven in right, and one at first base. He is also the only Red Sox player to hit a home run outside the United States or Canada: He hit his first career shot in the 6-5 season-opening win over the A's in Tokyo, a ninth-inning blast that tied the game.

He stole his first career base last night after his decisive single as he made the most of his opportunity after five games on the bench.Terry Francona said it's been hard to find Moss playing time, but the manager added that the rookie's attitude has been "great," as has his work ethic.

"Every time he gets to a level, after he repeats it, you see him start to emerge - hopefully, that will happen here, too," Francona said

Moss said the bench takes some getting used to after being in the lineup (he had 36 at-bats last month in 22 games) but he watches the veterans like Casey and Cora to help stay sharp.

"[You] see what they do and take stuff from them because they know what they're doing," Moss said.

Score this win for El Bencho.

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