Mike Napoli, Red Sox’ Offense Flex Muscle With Another Powerful Effort Against Yankees

Mike Napoli, David OrtizMike Napoli started the scoring and finished the scoring Saturday. In between, the Red Sox’ offense continued its recent trend of beating the crap out of opposing pitchers.

The Red Sox have ridden their starting pitching for much of the second half, but in recent days, the bats have become engulfed in flames. The hot-hitting Sox broke out the big sticks again Saturday, blasting four home runs as part of a 14-hit assault en route to a 13-9 victory over the Yankees.

Napoli kicked off the frantic scoring pace by hammering a two-run homer in the second inning, and Jonny Gomes added to the hit parade with a three-run moon shot in the third inning. Following a five-run fourth inning and a two-run fifth inning highlighted by Xander Bogaerts’ first major league home run, the Red Sox appeared to be well on their way to a beatdown reminiscent of Wednesday’s 20-run outburst against the Tigers.

“I can’t imagine it happens very often,” Gomes told reporters in New York. “I’ve won a bunch of games in a row, that’s for sure. But the way we’re doing it — we’re doing it in bulk right now, we really are.

Gomes is right — on all accounts.

The Red Sox have scored 54 runs and hit 17 homers over their last four games. They haven’t scored more runs in a four-game stretch since 1950 (65) and they haven’t hit as many homers in a four-game stretch since 1977 (18). It’s been an incredible sight, and the offensive production has been extremely important given the Red Sox’ pitching struggles against the Yankees during the first three games of the series.

“It’s fun,” said Napoli, whose two home runs Saturday meant that he racked up three dingers in less than 24 hours. “When we’re scoring runs like this and taking pressure off our pitchers, it’s nice. Sometimes it’s like, ‘What’s going on?’ Because what we’re doing right now is pretty crazy. But we’re enjoying it.”

Adding to Saturday’s craziness was that the 13-run effort came with John Lackey toeing the rubber for Boston. The Red Sox haven’t given Lackey any run support this season, and it’s led to him being perhaps baseball’s biggest hard-luck loser of 2013. This time around, the Red Sox needed every bit of offense, as Lackey wasn’t at his best against the boys in pinstripes. He was charged with a season-high seven earned runs in 5 2/3 innings of work.

“It was nice, for sure,” Lackey said “The boys picked me up today. They swung the bats great. They’ve swung the bats great the whole series. It’s fun to watch when they get on a roll like that.”

The Yankees didn’t go down without a fight Saturday, as they posted four runs in the sixth inning and pushed across two runs in the eighth before Junichi Tazawa squashed their rally. Napoli added a solo blast in the ninth inning for good measure.

The Red Sox, who have won 12 of their last 14 overall, will look to complete a four-game sweep of the Yankees on Sunday. If the same offense shows up, Hiroki Kuroda might want to book an early flight to Baltimore.

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

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