Right on the money: Story's 1st Fenway HR fuels comeback

2 years ago

BOSTON — It was as if Trevor Story was able to unleash all his frustration with one swing at Fenway Park on Monday night. 

Perhaps the game-tying moonshot Story belted over everything in left and onto Lansdowne Street in the bottom of the seventh inning that helped lift the Red Sox to a 6-3 victory over the Astros will be that shot of confidence a talented veteran needs to start settling in to the pressure-cooker that is Boston.

For Story, you could say that hit was money. 

As Story took his first laundry-cart ride in the dugout at Fenway Park, he was holding a toy money-dispensing gun in each hand as fake $100 bills came flying out.

The smile on Story’s face said more than the cold, hard cash. 

“It felt great,” said Story. “To kind of get that first one out of the way at home, that was obviously a great feeling and just in the spot that it came was pretty special.”

Story, who signed a six-year, $140 million contract to come to Boston, made it rain — at least figuratively speaking — not long after a one-hour and 38-minute rain delay that ended at 10:46 p.m.

While the Red Sox have been doing the laundry-cart rides to celebrate homers since late in the 2020 season, the money guns were a new wrinkle that started Monday and apparently came from manager Alex Cora. Story was the first to start what will undoubtedly become a new ritual for Boston. 

“[Kevin Plawecki] gave it to me [after the homer]. I think it was A.C.’s idea. “It was cool. Didn’t know about them. Just kind of a surprise. Yeah, it’s all good fun. They just handed me the guns, and I let them rip.”

Off to a frustrating 14-21 start, Monday was one of the most enjoyable nights of the season for the Red Sox, even though the rain dragged it out. 

Though the crowd of 29,706 was notably smaller after the delay, those who stayed created an energy that Story and his teammates fed off.

“Yeah, it was cool. After the rain delay, the fans come a little closer and everyone is kind of just right there, a little more intimate and they gave us energy, man. They always do,” said Story.

However, it was a different kind of energy Story heard on the last homestand. After his fourth strikeout to cap off 0-for-4 performance against the Angels and overpowering righty Shohei Ohtani, Story was jeered by the Fenway fans. 

Sure, it is a long season. But Red Sox fans aren’t known for their patience.

This time, the Fenway faithful erupted as he made contact for his biggest hit with the Red Sox so far.

“We know who he is, and we know what he can do,” said Cora. “Here, everybody is grinding, coaches, players and staff members — everybody. It’s not that because you’re doing well, you’re not suffering for the other guy. It’s the other way around. It’s like, ‘Let’s go.’ We need [Story] to get going, and we understand how important he is to what we’re trying to accomplish. 

“He’s a good player. Everybody knows it. He got a homer, a walk and stole a base. The player is dynamic and a great athlete. It’ll be fun when he gets going and helps us win games.”

The newly-acquired infielder had been struggling mightily to sustain any type of offensive momentum with his new team, particularly at home.

Story entered the night with a .469 OPS at home with no homers in his first 49 plate appearances at Fenway Park.

With a picturesque swing that produced an exit velocity of 106.7 mph and 428 feet, Story demonstrated the type of prowess he was known for all those years in Colorado. 

For the Red Sox, who haven’t won a series at home this season, it was important for the homestand to get off to an auspicious start. The fact that it came against the Astros, the team that defeated the Sox in six games in last year’s American League Championship Series, made it even more significant.

And with Story in the middle of it, the Red Sox got an extra jolt. 

“That was probably one of our biggest swings, definitely, of the season,” said shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who mauled an insurance two-run homer. “Just us getting back in the game with one swing was better than trying to get some guys on and hoping something would happen.”