BOSTON (CBS) – After 17+ innings of baseball, with a soaking three-hour rain delay also in the mix, Jonny Gomes gave the Boston Red Sox a double-header sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays with a two-run, walkoff home run into the monster seats off Rays reliever Joel Peralta.
But it’s what Gomes did as he rounded third and headed towards home plate that is grabbing all the attention.
As most players do, Gomes removed his helmet as he made his way towards his awaiting teammates at home. A casual smack on the head (or ten) is customary when greeting players at the plate after a dramatic homer like Gomes’, and the helmet can make that occasion much more hazardous.
But instead of just holding the helmet, or even flicking it off to the side, Gomes gave it the boot, punting it in celebration. The kick veered off to the left but got a decent amount of hang-time that may even impress Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
When asked about the punt, Gomes said it was pretty spur of the moment.
“I don’t know, I was just a little witty at the end. With walk-off home runs, anything can come into play,” he said.
With one on and no out, Gomes figured the Rays thought he was going to bunt, and knew he would get a pitch to hit.
“He picked over, maybe seeing if I was squaring to bunt, so I thought bunt was in their mind,” he said. “I was looking for something to drive early in the count, thinking they would throw a strike to see if I was bunting.”
Gomes only saw one pitch from Peralta, and he deposited the 89 MPH offering into the monster seats in left.
The blast was Gomes’ fifth of the season, and third career homer against Peralta. He is now five-for-nine against the reliever in his career.