Sox deliver balanced, historic offense

Sox deliver balanced, historic offense
October 4, 2013, 11:15 pm
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BOSTON -- When the Red Sox score a dozen runs, as they did in Game 1 of the Division Series Friday, you expect that Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli -- the team's 3-4-5 hitters -- might have played a big role in that offensive explosition.     

Think again.     

The 12 runs in the Red Sox' 12-2 rout of the Tampa Bay Rays may have been the most the Sox had scored in a post-season game since Game 1 of the 2007 World Series, but they weren't produced by the usual suspects.     

Sure, Pedroia had two hits, Napoli had one and Ortiz's bizarro ground-rule double helped set up the team's big five-run fourth.     

But Napoli had the only RBI among the trio, and that didn't come until the eighth, when, long after the game had been decided, the Sox piled on with four more insurance runs.    

Instead, much of the firepower Friday came from the bottom half of the lineup: Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the sixth and seventh hitters in the batting order respectively, combined for five RBI. Even Stephen Drew and Will Middlebrooks, eighth and ninth in the lineup, had an RBI apiece.     

"That's huge,'' remarked Middlebrooks, "because you know the first four or five guys (in the lineup) are going to hit. They showed it all year. But (if the rest of us) can contribute, have people hitting up and down the lineup, we're in pretty good shape.''     

The team managed no offense whatsoever in the first three innings, held hitless by Tampa starter Matt Moore. But then the floodgates opened, with Gomes whacking a double off The Wall to produce the first two runs of the game.     

"You see nine hitters,'' said Gomes, "and we all work together. We definitely work one through nine. And we don't sit back and wait for the three-run homer.''     

Incredibly, the Sox mustered a dozen runs without the benefit of a single homer Saturday. The 12 runs were the most scored in Red Sox playoff history without a home run.     

The game also marked the first time since 1936 in which every member of a starting lineup had at least one hit and one run scored.     

Though they had five extra-base hits -- all doubles -- the Red Sox' offense also showed an ability to manufacture runs.     

In the fourth, with Gomes at second, Stephen Drew hit a dribbler between the mound and first base. James Loney fed Moore at the bag, but Drew's hustle enabled him to beat the throw for an infield hit.     

While that was happening, Gomes hit third and never stopped, scoring all the way from second base on a ball that never left the infield.     

It was reminiscent of Opening Day, when Gomes did the same thing in the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, setting the tone for the Sox in the very first game.     

"We were talking about that right when I got back to the dugout,'' acknowledged Gomes of the comparison. "We generate runs any way possible.''     

And, on Friday at least, from some unlikely sources.