Pedroia finishes what Saltalamacchia starts in 7th inning

Pedroia finishes what Saltalamacchia starts in 7th inning
June 27, 2012, 4:37 am
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BOSTON -- The difference in Tuesday night's 5-1 Red Sox win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park came with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.

The rally started with Jarrod Saltalamacchia. And it ended with Dustin Pedroia.

With two outs in the seventh, the Red Sox trailed 1-0 and had only three hits against the Blue Jays.

Then Saltalamacchia ripped a 1-0 fastball the other way, off Jason Frasor, and it ended up in the Monster Seats, tying the game at 1-1.

"He's playing a confident brand of baseball, because he believes in himself," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after the win. "And he's a talented player. I haven't seen him get down on himself -- I just told him during the game -- I haven't seen him get down on a pitcher. Some things that might have haunted his past, seem to be gone. And he's just playing the game of baseball. He looks good doing it."

It was the beginning of a two-out rally that helped the Red Sox to their eighth win in the last 10 games. The finishing touches of that rally came four batters later, when Pedroia broke a 1-1 tie by ripping an 0-1 sinker -- with bases loaded -- up the middle that scored the eventual game-winning runs, and gave Boston a 3-1 lead after seven innings.

"I think it means a lot, the way we did it," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after the win. "With Dustin getting the two RBI's with the bases loaded. It seems like it's been so long since he's been in that opportunity late in the game, where he could win the game. And it presented itself, and he drove the runs in. That really gives us strength."

Since returning from a thumb injury for which he was given a day off last Friday, Pedroia seems to be getting back to his usual self.

"Obviously in baseball there's times when you're going to come through and there's times when you're not going to come through," said Pedroia afterwards. "When I dont, I dont get too upset. When I do, I dont get too happy."

Pedroia's teammates were pleased to see him come through in the clutch once again.

"Dustin, you know when he comes to the plate, he can do some damage," said Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles. "He's shown that over the course of his career. And it just so happens, this year we have a lot of guys doing it as well. So i think every night you never know who's going to be the hero. And that makes the game intriguing for us. You never know who's going to be that guy that's going to step up and get the big hit. We know Pedey's done it so many times. And he's going to do it a lot more times from now until the end of the year. So is Papi, so is Gonzo. I mean, it just makes it fun."

Saltalamacchia and Pedroia weren't the only ones doing all the work in that seventh-inning rally that won the Red Sox Tuesday night's game. After Saltalamacchia's solo home run that tied it up, both Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava pinch hit with two outs.

Kalish -- the lefty -- kept the rally alive with a double to right field on an 0-2 slider -- against the left-handed Luis Perez.

"I told Kalish before the game, when he wasn't playing, that he's saves all his hits for the big opportunities," said Valentine. "So when the inning started, I lined him up that way. Of course, with two outs, I'm also thinking that Daniel Nava's going to be able to lead off the next inning, if Kalish makes an out. So it's not like I was praying for it. But, I wasn't afraid."

Kalish doubled, and then the pinch-hitting Nava was hit by a pitch. Then they loaded the bases after a Mike Aviles walk.

"Kalish battling with two strikes against a left-hander in a pinch-hit opportunity, and he got a double," said Valentine. "Those are big plays.

"Mike Aviles' at-bat to walk, to get Dustin up to the plate, is a big play," he added. "It's not one of his forte's, in case you haven't noticed."

"It was pretty fun," said Aviles. "I was looking for a pitch, something that I could drive into the outfield. And I took two terrible swings. I just told myself that, make sure his sinker starts at the belt, because anything below the belt, it was just going to fall down."

After falling behind 1-2, Aviles took three-straight balls to set Pedroia up for the clutch hit.

The Red Sox added two more in the eighth on an Adrian Gonzalez RBI double and a Will Middlebrooks RBI sac fly, but the seventh inning battle with two outs will be what stands out on this night.

"Everyone stepped in and played great," said Pedroia. "Weve had some injuries but guys have stepped in and theyre producing like the guys that got hurt. So its big for us."