Sandy Leon may not be the biggest star in the history of baseball, but he has some credentials. Well, he does now anyways, after his heroics helped Boston Red Sox fans go home very happy on Wednesday night. His three-run walk-off blast in the 12th inning etched the catcher into early season lore and helped the team avoid their first loss of the season.

Sending the fans home happy

When Leon stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 12th inning, expectations at Fenway Park were probably low. It wasn't that the catcher was having a bad game; on the contrary, he was actually 2 for 4 with a double.

So far, however, both the Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates had struggled to scratch a run across in the combine 11.5 innings that preceded this one - why would the result be any different?

With one powerful swing, it was. On a 0-1 count with runners on first and second and one out, Leon took an impressive hack at Antonio Bastardo, sending the ball over the famed Green Monster for a three-run walk-off homer. The hit propelled the Red Sox to a 2-0 start on the year and helped Chris Sale have a successful first turn for the team, even though the victory was credited to Joe Kelly.

Keys to victory

Obviously, all eyes were on Sale as he made his first start as a member of the Boston Red Sox. He delivered on the promise that came with his acquisition over the winter for a haul of prospects, throwing seven innings of shutout ball while giving up just three hits and a walk.

The pitcher punched out seven batters via the strikeout, a worthy start to his new tenure in Boston.

Meanwhile, the team also learned that players will be able to step up in the clutch void seemingly created by the retirement of David Ortiz. Nobody will be mistaking Sandy Leon for Big Papi anytime soon, but it was important to see that the team wouldn't be at a loss without him in the situations where he would generally take over last season.

The Red Sox will look to continue their momentum against the Pirates on Thursday afternoon.

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