Napoli, Pedroia lead Red Sox offense

Napoli, Pedroia lead Red Sox offense
April 14, 2013, 8:00 pm
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BOSTON -- Clay Buchholz didn't need too much help from his offense on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays, but he got it anyway, thanks to a four-run third inning that saw a huge hit from cleanup hitter Mike Napoli.

With bases loaded and no outs, Mike Napoli drove a 1-and-0 changeup from Alex Cobb to deep center field. It just missed going into the Red Sox bullpen, instead dropping into the triangle for a two-run double.

"I mean, I knew I hit it pretty well," said Napoli after Boston's 5-0 win over Tampa Bay. "It's dumb hitting it to [the 420-foot mark, which is the deepest part of the park]. I could have hit it somewhere else. But I knew I hit it pretty good, and I was happy I got the ball in the air to get at least one run. It happened to be a double."

"You can't take away . . . the importance of [the No. 4 hitter] in our lineup," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "And that's obviously Mike."

It also happened to get the scoring started for the Red Sox. Dustin Pedroia helped finish Boston's scoring by adding a season-high three hits of his own on Sunday, ending his offensive day with a lead-off double off the Green Monster in the eighth. Pedroia then scored the Red Sox' fifth run on a Will Middlebrooks sacrifice fly.

"I felt good, letting the ball travel a little bit," said Pedroia. "The last few days I was kind of getting out there a little jumpy. So I just got to try to let the ball come to me and put a good swing on it."

"In addition to Napoli's bases-loaded double, I thought today [Pedroia] really swung the bat well," said Farrell. "Particularly with the double off the wall. We haven't seen that too much yet. He swung with a lot more aggressiveness."