Boston Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew is distancing himself from the Mendoza line, and doing so in dramatic fashion.
Drew raised his batting average to .225 on Monday night, going 4 for 5 including his first home run of the season and a wall ball double that plated the winning run, leading the Sox to a 5-4, 11th inning walk off victory over the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park.
“It’s more or less trying to get into a rhythm,” said Drew, who entered batting .182 and raised his average above .200 for the first time this season. “I’ve been working on some things and tonight was just a good night for me.”
The win snapped a season-high three game losing skid for Boston and perpetuated their status as the best team in the major leagues, at least as far as overall record goes. Over the weekend, the Texas Rangers bullied the Sox down in Arlington, taking away their offense – to the tune of allowing just four runs on 20 hits for the entire three game series…
…staggeringly bad numbers that the Sox needed just one game against the Twins to top. Conversely, the Red Sox pitching staff allowed 14 runs to Texas, the Rangers’ batters roughing up both starters and relievers alike – which is a trend that could continue, given the difficulties the Sox staff had on Monday night.
Sox starter Clay Buchholz appeared in his first game since allegations of being the next Gaylord Perry surfaced after his start in Toronto last week, and the results were mixed. Buchholz left pitches hanging early, giving up two runs on a pair of wall ball doubles and a bases-clearing RBI single, then walked the following two batters to load the bases with one out…
…but Buchholz reached back for something extra and fanned the next two batters to keep the damage down to a minimum and the Sox in the game.
The lanky right hander ended up going 6 innings, yielding four runs on seven hits while walking four and striking out nine – hardly the stat line that Sox fans have come to expect from Buchholz this season, but solace can betaken in the fact that after the 1st inning he kept his composure and settled into a groove.
What can not be comforting is the state of their bullpen in light of Andrew Bailey being placed on the disabled list with a biceps injury as well as Joel Hanrahan’s incompetence. With Bailey on the skids and Hanrahan not to be trusted – and fragile to boot – it presents an interesting circumstance for Boston manager John Farrell to deal with.
Hanrahan came on in the top of the ninth to try and preserve a one run lead, and with one out gave up a solo park job to Brian Dozier followed by a strike out and a walk and a complaint of tightness in his forearm, which ended his night. Clayton Mortensen came on for Hanrahan and eventually picked up the win, pitching two and a third innings of one hit ball.
Minnesota starter Vance Worley took a 4-1 lead into the fourth inning, but gave up Shane Victorino’s first deep ball of the season, surrendered another run in the fifth the started the sixth giving up consecutive singles before being lifted. In all, the Sox pushed across a single run in five straight innings, including homers by Drew and Dustin Pedroia, the latter to take a 5-4 lead into the ninth to set up Hanrahan’s fail.
So the gritty offense that disappeared in Texas was rediscovered at Fenway, but the closers are dropping like flies, so it’s even more important for the Sox to score runs and for the starting pitching to go deep into the game…Tuesday night it’s up to Ryan Dempster to keep Minnesota at bay in while Scott Diamond hopes to throw a gem for the Twins at Fenway Park, 7:10 first pitch…