The Boston Red Sox waited 26 offensive outs to produce their first hit against Yu Darvish in Friday’s 8-0 loss to the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Red Sox had no intention of extending the same courtesy to Martin Perez.
Shane Victorino lined a one-out single into center field off Perez in the first inning of Saturday’s 8-3, bounce-back victory over the Rangers. The knock set the tempo for a much-improved offensive effort in which the Red Sox’s lineup length was on full display.
“This team, I think what we’ve done all year long (and) what we continue to do is we grind,” Victorino said after Saturday’s win. “Last night was one of those nights (where) you tip your hat to Darvish — he pitched a great game — but for the most part this team grinds, we battle at-bats, and that’s all you can do.”
Victorino led the way with three hits and four RBIs. He was hardly the only Red Sox hitter to produce, though, as Boston’s offense collected 11 hits, including two apiece from David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Jackie Bradley Jr.
“We’re seeing a number of pitches. We’re seeing some of the sequences that they’re trying to execute against our right-handers,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “With any lineup, guys getting on base with a base hit, it’s giving (others) some confidence knowing that guys are coming (up with hits) behind them — unlike last night, where it was kind of a one-man show. This was a good offensive night up and down the lineup.”
Farrell said a couple of weeks ago when Victorino and third baseman Will Middlebrooks (who reached base twice and scored two runs Saturday) returned from their respective injuries that it would lengthen the Red Sox’s lineup. Saturday’s performance went to the heart of what Farrell was talking about, as Boston was unrelenting in stringing together quality at-bats against Perez and Co., regardless of what part of the order Texas was working against within a given inning.
“We’re up there trying to get our at-bats in as well,” said Bradley, who went 2-for-3 with two runs scored out of the No. 9 spot in the order. “ … (The bottom of the order) got deep into counts and had some quality at-bats.”
Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the Red Sox’s complete offensive effort — which included a four-run fourth inning in which the Sox really sized control — was that Boston went 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The Red Sox, of course, have struggled in such situations — hitting .228 — so perhaps Saturday’s effort can help Boston buck the season-long trend.
Darvish was as advertised Friday. On Saturday, it was the Red Sox’s offense that showed what it’s all about.