Saltalamacchia rewards Valentine's confidence


Saltalamacchia rewards Valentine's confidence

CHICAGO -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia was hitless in his last 17 at-bats and his batting average had dipped to .247.

Given that, it seemed like an odd time for his manager to make him the Red Sox' cleanup hitter. But that, Bobby Valentine reasoned, was precisely the point.

"Actually, I think he's been hitting the ball very well and hitting into lousy luck,'' said Valentine. "He knows that I totally believe in him. I saw his average go from .280 down to (.240-) something and the team was losing and I saw him dragging his head a little and I thought (hitting him cleanup) was a way for him to understand I believe him.''

Message received.

Saltalamacchia doubled in his first at-bat, smashed a two-run homer in his next at-bat, putting the Red Sox on their way to a 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs.

"I was happy, excited,'' said Saltalamacchia of his reaction to his new spot in the lineup. "(It meant I would) get some more at-bats, get some opportunities to get some more RBI. I was happy with that.''

Saltalamacchia launched a split-finger fastball from Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija in the fourth inning into the bleachers in right field.

"He threw me a split that I swung through and missed,'' recounted Saltalamacchia. "Then he tried to throw it again and this one was a little more in the strike zone and I was able to put the barrell on it and hit it out.''

Saltalamacchia said the boost of confidence from the manager was exactly what he needed.

"It felt good,'' he said. "I talked to him a little bit as I was walking out (Friday) night and he said, '(The hits) are going to start falling because you've been swinging the bat well. It's kind of what was happening at the beginning of the season. I was hitting the ball hard, but right at people.

"That's kind of what I thought was happening the last few games - hitting the ball well, but right at people or right to the fence. It felt good to have a little confidence (shown in me) to hit in the four-hole.''

Report: Pedroia to be away from the team temporarily

Report: Pedroia to be away from the team temporarily

Dustin Pedroia will miss Sunday night's game against Kansas City to attend to a family matter, according to Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald.

Drellich also reports that Pedroia may miss Monday's game against Tampa Bay, too.

This of course comes after Pedroia went 11-for-11 over a three-game stretch, and saw the streak end in the eighth inning of Saturday's 8-3 win over the Royals.

Pedroia is batting .398 (37-for-93) through 24 games in August, with a .430 on-base percentage. Boston's second baseman is one of -- if not the -- team's hottest hitter this month, hitting .458 (33-for-72) since moving to the leadoff role.

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

BOSTON -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-3 win over the Royals:


“I hadn’t really thought about it. Trying to win games. It’s late in the year . . . I don’t really have time to sit back and pat myself on the back for anything. We’re trying to win as a team.” - Dustin Pedroia on the importance of the 11-for-11 stretch in his career.

“It’s fun. It’s why you go to work in December, January, February. It’s all the work you put in up to this point. It feels good to go out there and get the results you expect to get, especially against a team like [the Royals] who is hot as they are right now.” - David Price on pitching meaningful games with a playoff-like atmosphere.

“Yeah, yeah we [knew about the streak] . . .  It was an awesome roll and it was fun to see . . . Every time I went up to hit, I let Salvador Perez know.” - Xander Bogaerts on Dustin Pedroia’s 11-for-11 streak.

“I think we’ve been able to handle velocity very well. We’ve got good bat-speed in out lineup, and we’re able to handle that.” - John Farrell on the offense thriving against good pitching.



* David Ortiz played in his 1,000th game at Fenway Park, becoming the fifth player to do so.

* Ortiz also became the first player ever to play 2,000 games as the designated hitter.

* Mookie Betts scored his 100th run of the season off his 29th home run of the year, joining Fred Lynn, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams as the only players to reach 100 runs before turning 24.

* The Red Sox hit back-to-back home runs for the fourth time this season with Betts and Hanley Ramirez going yard in the fifth.

* With his 2-for-4 day at the plate, Jackie Bradley Jr. improved to 34-for-94 (.362) batting ninth.



1) Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia finished 4-for-5, extending his streak to 11 hits in 11 at-bats, finishing one shy of tying the MLB record.

2) David Price

Price logged his fourth straight quality start with his six-inning, two-run start. He also dropped his ERA below 4.00 for the first time since his Opening Day start with Boston.

3) Salvador Perez

Perez finished 2-for-3 with two home runs. Saturday marked only the second multi-home run game of his career.