“Knee is getting better each time out,” he said. “It’s manageable right now.”
Hammel couldn’t put away the Red Sox early and his pitch count rose to 106.
“Yeah, they’re usually pretty patient,” he said. “They were kind of aggressive tonight. Obviously, you want to get deeper into ballgames, but we still had a chance to win.
“It was a huge team effort. Not everybody can be counted on (all the time). Usually, you want to count on your basic guys, but sometimes guys are going to make mistakes and it’s all about the other guys coming in and picking each other up. We answered back twice after being ahead and giving up the lead. That’s huge. And that’s what we have to do. We’re not going to try and overpower you. We’re going to come out and play our game and claw and scratch and find a way to win.
“Everybody is supposed to come out and do their jobs. We’re all professionals. We understand some guys are going to be good sometimes and some guys are going to be bad. It’s a game of averages and sometimes the guys that haven’t been doing it for a while will step up and carry you for a little while. That’s why it’s a team game. That’s why we have a 40-man roster and a 25 active and you need to call on all the guys to help out.”
Jim Johnson blew his first save after 25 successful conversions, and he wanted the ball again in the 10th. Badly.
“Yeah, I mean, it was my fault, so I wanted to get back out there,” he said. “The other guys picked me up. Everybody contributed tonight, so it was good to see that.
“We’ve had a lot of guys moving around a little bit, guys coming up and down, everybody is kind of shuffling all over the place, but everybody contributed. It wasn’t the way I wanted it to work out, but it did, so we’re happy with it.”
Johnson was one strike away from earning another save, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a two-run homer to tie the game.
“It was a tough at-bat,” Johnson said. “I had a couple chances to put him away and I didn’t make any pitches that I really needed to, so you learn from that. He put a good swing on it.
“They didn’t come over near me (in the dugout). They knew I was a little hot, so they stayed away.”
Steve Pearce has been a nice addition since being acquired during the Tampa Bay series. He had a single, two RBIs and a sacrifice bunt, and also looked comfortable in left field.
“It feels great to be able to contribute,” he said. “It was a tight game and we really battled back when they tied it up. Great game by everyone.
“We showed fight all game today. Every time something went bad for us, we responded the next inning. This team showed great heart. We battled. It was a huge win, especially to start off the series.
“They kept on getting the crowd back in it, but we responded. And that’s what good teams do. We respond, we battle through adversity and we kept plugging.”
And the good teams can lay down a bunt when it’s needed.
“It was great,” Pearce said. “I haven’t been asked to bunt much in the minor leagues. They gave it to me and I knew I had to get it down. I did my best and it was a good pitch to bunt and I got it down.”