Adam Ottavino punched his fist into his glove and let out a yell as he marched off the mound in the seventh inning Saturday.
The righthander even flexed on his way to the dugout, the veins popping in his neck as the fans at Fenway Park roared.
Ottavino uncharacteristically went the full Hulk Hogan for a few seconds after striking out Miami Marlins cleanup hitter Garrett Cooper to leave the bases loaded.
“Kind of an out-of-body experience there. Glad I was able to make the pitch and just kind of blacked out,” Ottavino said after the Red Sox finished off a 3-1 victory.
Credit an assist to the crowd of 25,089, the largest at Fenway Park since the final game of the 2019 season.
“That was awesome. The crowd brought it today. That’s what’s been missing at those two-strike moments at home,” Ottavino said. “Feels like that puts a lot of pressure on the hitter.”
On the day Massachusetts rescinded its pandemic protocols, the ballpark was abuzz despite the cold, wet, and windy weather.
“A lot of energy out there, a lot of excitement. I know the guys were really feeding off that,” said bench coach Will Venable, who managed the team with Alex Cora attending his daughter’s high school graduation.
“A couple of guys came into the dugout and we’re talking about how electric it was.”
They have a team worth supporting. The Sox have won three straight and seven of nine. At 32-20, they are 12 games over .500 for the first time this season.
Nate Eovaldi (6-2) and five relievers allowed 10 hits. But the Marlins were 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position, striking out six times.
Outside of needing 101 pitches to go 5⅓ innings, Eovaldi (6-2) had one of his best starts of the season. He allowed four hits, walked one, and struck out seven.
Eovaldi felt the same kind of surge Ottavino did as the fans got into the game at pivotal moments.
“The fans, they basically tell you what they want,” he said. “They’re encouraging you to try and get a strikeout in a big situation. When we’ve got runners in scoring position they want to get that knock across and score some runs.
“That’s part of having a home-field advantage.”
The Sox had nine hits — four of them doubles — over six innings against Marlins lefthander Trevor Rogers but scored only two runs as they left six runners on base.
Rafael Devers singled with one out in the second inning, took second on a single by Hunter Renfroe, and scored on a single to shallow left field by Bobby Dalbec.
The game plan was clearly to challenge left fielder Corey Dickerson and his throw was high and off the mark. With Christian Arroyo singled to left, Renfroe tried to score on Dickerson but this time his throw was accurate and Sandy Leon slapped a quick tag down.
The Sox made it 2-0 in the fourth inning when Renfroe doubled to left and scored on a two-out single by backup catcher Kevin Plawecki. It was his third RBI of the season. But Rogers (6-3) was otherwise solid. He struck out six without a walk.
After Eovaldi departed, Josh Taylor got the final two outs of the sixth inning to leave two runners stranded.
Miami’s Jose Devers doubled with one out in the seventh and went to third on a single by Magneuris Sierra. Ottavino came on and walked Starling Marte to load the bases before striking out Jesús Aguilar and Cooper to end the inning.
Aguilar saw nine pitches before going down swinging at a slider.
The Marlins also threatened in the eighth inning. Darwinzon Hernandez walked Isan Díaz with two outs. Hirokazu Sawamura came in face righthanded-hitting pinch hitter Jorge Alfaro. He grounded to third, but Rafael Devers made his second throwing error of the game to continue the inning. Sawamura then struck out Jose Devers.
Rafael Devers (3 for 4) doubled with two outs in the eighth and scored on a single by Renfroe.
Matt Barnes finished the Marlins off for his 12th save in 13 chances, although he did allow a run.