Pedroia shows spunk; offense shows life

May, 3, 2011
5/03/11
12:31
AM ET
BOSTON -- Time will tell if Monday night’s 9-5 win over the Angels will serve as a turning point for the Red Sox’s stagnant offense. But it sure had that feel.

The seventh inning produced a series of firsts. The Sox tied a season-high for runs in an inning with six, starting with Adrian Gonzalez’s three-run double off Francisco Rodriguez for a 6-2 lead. Chatter surrounding Gonzalez this spring centered around how the lefty hitter would take advantage of the Green Monster, and when Rodriguez left a 90-m.p.h., 1-0 fastball over the fat part of the plate, Gonzalez connected for his first Wall ball of the season.

“He just made a mistake, left the ball over the plate, and you know, in that situation you just try to get a run in,” Gonzalez said.

[+] EnlargeDustin Pedroia
Elsa/Getty ImagesDustin Pedroia reacts after a 13-pitch at-bat ended with a go-ahead, two-run single off Jered Weaver in the fifth.
And it snowballed from there. Kevin Youkilis followed up the next at-bat by taking a first-pitch fastball off the Monster to score Gonzalez. That gave way to David Ortiz’s first home run in 89 at-bats, depositing the ball in the second row of the Monster seats for a 9-2 lead.

“I haven’t put the right swing on the ball,” Ortiz said. “I mean, I’ve hit some balls that are bombs but don’t go nowhere. You just give whatever you got, and today it starts showing up.”

But as important as that inning may be in setting the offensive spark, praise around the locker room was being thrown in one direction: to Pedroia, for his 13-pitch at-bat in the bottom of the fifth that eventually produced a two-run double that gave the Sox the lead for good.

The six-run seventh, Gonzalez suggested, might have started in earnest two innings earlier. “I didn’t get the key hit, Pedey did,” Gonzalez said.

After Jacoby Ellsbury stole second base, Pedroia worked Jered Weaver to a full count, then fouled off seven straight pitches in all directions -- far left, far right, off the foot. On the 13th pitch, a 91-m.p.h. fastball down and away, Pedroia smacked a grounder straight up the middle, scoring Ellsbury and Carl Crawford to give the Sox a 3-2 lead.

Paired with Sunday's win over Felix Hernandez, the Sox have two straight wins over two of the AL’s premier starters. But more importantly, that’s two straight days of spunk at the plate.

“He has a way of doing that,” manager Terry Francona said of Pedroia. “He fights, he doesn’t give in. Not just at the plate, but on the bases, in the field. He plays the game, he’s a ballplayer.”

One inning later, Weaver left the game, having thrown 118 pitches (77 strikes), allowing three runs on six hits while fanning six. For a guy who came in 6-0 with a 0.99 ERA, it almost qualified as a butt-kicking.

Said Pedroia, “To be honest with you, man, I was just trying to put the ball in play. Jered’s tough. I faced him a lot in college and the first few years of the big leagues, and it doesn’t get any better than him. Haven’t won too many of those, but it’s nice to have a couple, and kind of get everything going.”

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?