Morning Sports Update

Garrett Whitlock credited Kiké Hernández’s inspirational words for giving him ‘a lot of confidence’

"Once he said that, that gave me a lot of confidence to go."

Garrett Whitlock
Garrett Whitlock walks off the mound after helping the Red Sox escape an eighth inning jam. Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

For the first time in its 125-year history, the Boston Marathon was run in October on Monday. Thousands made their way from Hopkinton to Boston on the 26.2 mile course.

Later on Monday, the Red Sox faced the Rays in Game 4 of the American League Division Series and walked off with a 6-5 win in the bottom of the ninth thanks to a sacrifice fly from Kiké Hernández.

As a result, Boston won the series, 3-1. The Red Sox will now face the winner of the Astros-White Sox series in the American League Championship Series.

Garrett Whitlock on Kiké Hernández: In a Sept. 12 game between the Red Sox and White Sox, 25-year-old Red Sox relief pitcher Garrett Whitlock had Chicago’s Leury Garcia right where he wanted him.

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But with the count 0-2, and with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Whitlock made a mistake. His fastball went right down the middle, and Garcia hit it for a walk-off home run.

“I was crouched. I had my head just tucked down,” Whitlock told reporters of how he reacted afterward. “I was sitting there and I was like, ‘How could I have done that?’ I was 0-2. I had two outs. Any pitch, anywhere else.”

In that moment, however, one of Whitlock’s Red Sox teammates offered some encouragement.

“Kiké Hernández saw me sitting in the bathroom,” said Whitlock. “He came up to me and he hugged me. He said, ‘Listen, you’re going to be huge for us. You’ve been huge for us. Keep your chin up and you’re going to do great things.'”

So after helping the Red Sox escape a difficult jam in the eighth inning on Monday and eventually earning the win in the clinching game of the ALDS, Whitlock pointed back to Hernández’s words in September as the moment when his year turned around.

“Once he said that, that gave me a lot of confidence to go,” Whitlock explained.

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On his Monday relief appearance, Whitlock noted that his adrenaline was “definitely pumping and you know the situation and everything. So I just try and take a deep breath and take it in and try to execute a plan.”

More from Boston.com:

Alex Cora’s postgame interview:

Leftover from Sunday: Locker room speeches from Bill Belichick and Matthew Slater.

On this day: In 1916, the Red Sox defeated the Brooklyn Robins 4-1 in Game 5 of the World Series, clinching the team’s fourth championship.

Starting pitcher Ernie Shore earned his second win of the series, pitching a complete game and allowing only an unearned run. Though the series was won in Boston, the games were played at Braves Field instead of Fenway Park in order to allow for greater attendance.

1916 Red Sox World Series
– Globe Archives

Daily highlight: Hunter Renfroe got the Red Sox off to a good start in Game 4 on Monday, making a running catch to prevent an extra-base hit.

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