BOSTON — The Red Sox are 100-51 in interleague play since 2003, the best record in all of baseball in that span. It's a large enough sample to provide a pretty strong indication of the disparity between Boston and some of the rabble it encounters during the 18-game senior circuit stretch each season.
If that isn't enough for you, just take a look at the seventh inning of Monday's series opener against San Diego, the latest overmatched National League team to encounter the juggernaut that is forming in Fenway.
Boston rallied for 10 runs in the inning, which began with the two teams locked in a 3-3 tie. It was the first 10-run inning in over two seasons for the Red Sox and the nine runs that came with two outs fell just one shy of matching a franchise record.
"We just kept having good at-bats," said second baseman Dustin Pedroia, one of two players with Adrian Gonzalez to score twice in the inning. "A couple of guys got hit, but it seemed like everybody was up there having quality at-bats … It was great for us."
Of course, the inning may never have materialized if not for Pedroia's hustle.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the frame with a walk. Pedroia followed by grounding what looked like a rather routine double-play ball to second. However, the relay was a split-second too late and Pedroia had reached safely.
When you have an offense as good as that of the Red Sox, any extra outs can lead to runs. In this case, it opened the floodgates.
Gonzalez followed with a double that scored Pedroia to snap the tie. One out later, an intentional walk to David Ortiz began a run of nine straight hitters to reach. That last was Kevin Youkilis, who doubled in Pedroia and Gonzalez to make it 13-3.
There were five hits, four walks and two hit batters in the inning. Still, it was that little fielder's choice for Pedroia that was the talk of the clubhouse.
"That created that seventh inning and it was all about him getting down the line and beating that ball out," Gonzalez said. "If he doesn't do that my double doesn't do anything and doesn't get [Cory] Leubke out of the game … It was the key to that inning."
Manager Terry Francona, who has seen his team score in double figures six times in the last 12 games, agreed with that assessment.
"At a time in the game when pure hustle gives our hitters a chance to keep hitting and extend an inning, we take advantage of it. That's the kind of player he is," Francona said of Pedroia.
Pedroia also drew a bases-loaded walk in his second plate appearance of the inning. Josh Reddick drove in two runs with a single and both Marco Scutaro and Jason Varitek were hit by pitches with the bases full.
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