ST. LOUIS -- It was a familiar question for Xander Bogaerts, and the answer came quickly enough to suggest that perhaps he had already pondered it before it was asked.
Which did he enjoy more -- knocking in two runs with his bat or saving one with his glove?
"I would say two RBI," said Bogaerts after he knocked in both runs in a 2-1 Red Sox victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. "If it was one, I would say the defensive play. But two RBI, you don't get that often.''
Indeed, in the previous 48 games, Bogaerts had had just one multi-RBI game.
But ever since moving back to shortstop last week after Stephen Drew was traded, Bogaerts has had better at-bats. They didn't necessarily translate into positive results -- he had just one hit in the three-game series against the Yankees -- but he had better at-bats either way.
That's probably somewhat related to the comfort level Bogaerts feels being back at short, which he considers his natural position.
"It's where I'm used to," said Bogaerts. "It's just a matter of going out there and getting a chance to play and show these guys.''
Bogaerts drove in the first run of the night for the Sox with a double to left in the fourth, scoring Daniel Nava from first.
"I thought it was an out," said a smiling Bogaerts. "It's a big ballpark here, man. You've got to hit it pretty good.''
Then in the top of the ninth, Bogaerts got another opportunity to help his team with his bat when he came to the plate with the bases loaded and no out against Cards closer Trevor Rosenthal.
"I thought he was going to try to get ahead of me with a fastball," said Bogaerts, "so he could he use his off-speed pitches. So I just went up there and geared up for the fastball.''
His aggressive approach paid off with a line dive to medium center, more than deep enough to deliver Yoenis Cedpedes from third with what turned out to be the winning run.
Even before he contributed at the plate, he made a stellar play in the field, ranging behid the bag to make his a diving play before slipping to Dustin Pedroia to record an inning-ending force play and preventing A.J. Pierzynski from scoring from third.
"I just wanted to catch the ball and then throw it,'' said Bogaerts. "Maybe earlier in the season, I missed a lot because I wanted to catch it and throw it at the same time instead of doing one first and then the other.''