BOSTON — As Josh Taylor warmed up in the Red Sox bullpen during the eighth inning of Monday’s game, he noticed Manager Alex Cora visiting reliever Colten Brewer on the mound with a 3-2 count to White Sox hitter Jon Jay. He figured, as anyone would, that Cora was out to talk about signs with Brewer, considering James McCann had just stolen second base.

Cora wasn’t out there to tell Brewer what to throw in a key situation. He was on the mound to bring in Taylor, making a pitching change in the middle of an at-bat with a full count.

“When I saw him wave down, I was like, ‘3-2 count, let’s go,'” Taylor said.

With Chicago leading 5-4 and two outs, Jay came to the plate with McCann on first. In that spot, Cora was comfortable using the right-handed Brewer against Jay in a low-leverage situation. When McCann stole second on a 2-2 pitch, things changed.

“I don’t want Jon Jay to put the ball in play against a righty there,” Cora said. “I know he can go out of the zone and flick it to left field. If McCann would have hit a double, it was going to Taylor against Jay. I was like no, you know what, it’s lefty against Jay and we’ll take our chances. Taylor is throwing the ball great and it’s a matchup that’s actually better for us, so we went with it.”

Brewer wasn’t injured, so he was surprised to come out of the game in that spot. Cora did more talking than usual on the mound.

“It was a tough one, trying to tell (Brewer), just hang in here with your crazy manager,” Cora said. “Then Taylor came in and I said, ‘Just relax, brother.’ This is just a kill pitch. If you strike him out, you strike him out. If you walk him, you walk him.”

Taylor did walk him, missing with a two-seamer and putting two runners on with Yoan Moncada coming to the plate.

“I can’t say I’ve ever done that before,” Taylor said.

Cora has been known to do crazy things before – like switching his outfield alignment depending on who was hitting in the World Series – and he has been thinking about a mid-at-bat pitching change for months. He was happy to execute it Monday, especially considering Moncada struck out and his team won, 6-5, on a Marco Hernandez walk-off single.

Boston improved to 43-37 with the win.

“If we want to bring in a guy for a guy in scoring position and that guy’s at first and there’s a wild pitch or something like that, why not?” Cora said. “If we don’t like the matchup with men in scoring position, why hang with that because the at-bat is going on? It worked out.”


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