Shane Victorino Plays Role of Catalyst As Red Sox Dig Deep for Bounce-Back Win

Shane VictorinoThe Flyin’ Hawaiian lifted off early on Friday, and he helped fly the Red Sox to a much-needed, bounce-back victory.

Victorino provided his best offensive performance as a member of the Red Sox in Boston’s 10-6 win in Detroit. He collected four hits, drove in five runs, and, more importantly, he proved to be the offense’s catalyst.

“I think any time you’re gonna get not only production at the bottom third, but the number of good swings we put on balls and the number of hits we got throughout the lineup, it’s gonna be a good offensive night,” manager John Farrell said. “Against that team, obviously you need every run you can get given what they can do and do very quickly, so a good overall and a much-needed win on our part.”

Victorino set the tempo by golfing a home run down the right field line in the first inning, and he added a two-run single in Boston’s four-run fourth inning, which gave the Red Sox a 6-1 lead at the time.

The Tigers didn’t go down easily, as Andy Dirks and Miguel Cabrera went deep during a four-run fifth inning that cut Boston’s lead to 6-5, but Victorino helped regain the momentum. He smacked an RBI single into left field in the sixth inning, and he hit a little chopper over the mound that plated another run in the eighth inning.

Victorino’s breakout performance came at a perfect time for the Red Sox. It would have been easy for the Sox to let Thursday’s walk-off loss haunt them, especially since the big news leading up until game time on Friday surrounded Boston’s closer situation. The Red Sox didn’t need a closer on Friday, though, because they used a successful night at the dish to overcome Jon Lester’s struggles.

“Much like we’ve talked about many times over, this group does an outstanding job of forgetting yesterday and going out and focusing on what we have to do today,” Farrell said. “You get two drastically different style of starters we’re going up against yesterday and today (Jose Alvarez and Doug Fister) and it’s a smart group, but yet it’s one that’s very professional and they don’t let yesterday carry into today.”

The Red Sox’ ability to overcome their occasional hiccups this season has been extremely impressive. And you simply never know who is going to step up on a given night. Victorino has been productive this season, both offensively and defensively, but staying on the field has sometimes been an issue. Now that he’s healthy, it appears he’s making up for lost time, and that forward-looking mentality is very common with the Red Sox’ clubhouse.

“I think one of the best attributes of this team is just kind of the ‘show-up-tomorrow’ type attitude,” Lester said “And last night obviously was tough but everybody showed up today ready to play and ready to win. I think that’s what makes this team special. A lot of people in here have short memories.”

The short memories mean that Friday’s win over the AL Central-leading Tigers is just a blip on the radar. But Victorino and Co. deserve credit for maneuvering through turbulence.

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

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