He was called up from Triple A Pawtucket Friday, but it was as though Brock Holt had been summoned to Fenway Park straight out of Central Casting.
With a made-for-Hollywood name, dashing good looks, and a swashbuckling game, the 25-year-old native of Fort Worth bolstered the Red Sox’ sagging spirits Saturday afternoon.
Holt helped the Sox (8-10) win for only the third time in eight home games this season by driving in the go-ahead run with a triple, then scoring an insurance run, in the seventh inning of a 4-2 victory over the Orioles.
“Prior to the recall, he had been swinging the bat really well in Pawtucket, so he was able to get on a bit of a roll,’’ said Sox manager John Farrell, referring to Holt’s .380 average (19 for 50) in 12 games.
“From what we’ve seen — and I know it’s been just two games [this season] — but he’s shown a little bit more authority with some ability to impact the baseball, particularly to the pull side. Last year, it was an approach that was more inside-out, but he does have that extra-base ability. He was doing it in Pawtucket and he’s continued to do it here.’’
Holt went 1 for 3 Saturday, following his 2-for-4 outing Friday with another RBI. Despite the small sample of his contributions, Holt would have had a difficult time scripting a better start.
“I don’t think so,’’ he said. “I mean, I probably could’ve gone 5 for 5 and had five homers, but that’s not going to happen. I’m not going to do that. I’m just happy to be here and help any way that I can.’’
Holt, who was acquired with Joel Hanrahan from the Pirates in December 2012, helped last year, too, except without the gaudy stats. Holt played in 26 games, hitting just .203 with no homers and 11 RBI.
On Saturday, with the game tied at 2 in the seventh, Holt chased starter Bud Norris by ripping a fastball to right-center to score Mike Carp, who led off with a walk.
Holt’s winning hit came after the benches cleared when David Ross barked at Norris for throwing at his head as he squared for a sacrifice in an attempt to advance Carp.
“There were three pitches that got away from Norris that ended up close to the head,’’ Farrell said. “I think the location of pitches, up and in, might draw some reaction, which it obviously did, but I’m not surprised that we were going to support [Ross] and have one another’s back on the field. Nothing really escalated from it, but it was a competitive moment.’’
Although Ross struck out, the Sox seemed galvanized by the dustup. Holt ripped his RBI triple, then came home with an insurance run on Jonathan Herrera’s sacrifice down the first base line off reliever Evan Meek. The well-executed bunt forced first baseman Chris Davis to come charging in, but he was too late to make a play at the plate.
“That was huge,’’ Holt said. “Obviously, Herrera is a guy who can handle the bat, but they had that call on with the pitching change being made. He laid down a bunt and he did his job and my job was to just get a good jump off third and get in there.’’
Holt’s heroics helped make a winner of Junichi Tazawa (1-0), who entered the game with two outs in the seventh. Starter Felix Doubront threw a season-high 107 pitches, and allowed two runs on five hits and a pair of walks, while recording a season-high seven strikeouts.
Koji Uehara picked up his fourth save of the season, issuing a leadoff walk to Matt Wieters and striking out the next three batters swinging.
“Felix today was very strong,’’ Farrell said. “He had much more consistent fastball command than the last couple of times out. I think, most importantly, he pitched well ahead in the count rather than having to fight back into some counts.
“Taz and Koji continue to do what they’ve done for quite a long time and that’s to continue to attack the strike zone. They’re two guys who we lean on heavily late in the game, but it was just a well-pitched game all the way around.’’
It appeared as though David Ortiz would emerge as the heroic figure when he belted a leadoff solo homer in the fourth off Norris (6⅓ innings, 4 runs, 5 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts) to break a 1-1 tie.
The Orioles tied it, 2-2, with two outs in the sixth when Adam Jones doubled to left, stole third, and scored when Nelson Cruz was ruled safe at first by an instant replay review of his apparent ground out to third. Replays showed Cruz beat Holt’s long throw across the infield.
It was the first time Orioles manager Buck Showalter had challenged a ruling. It proved pivotal when it allowed Jones to score the tying run, but the Orioles wound up getting upstaged by Holt.
“I love Brock,’’ Ross said. “We’ve always had a lot of confidence in Brock. At the end of spring training, he was competing for a job and went down [to Pawtucket] and played really well. He’s coming through for us and it’s huge.
“He’s a fun guy to be around. I was talking a little bit of trash to him today and said, ‘Forget yesterday, do something today,’ and he did. Good for him. I’m going to say the same thing tomorrow.’’Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.