By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON Kevin Youkilis left Monday's game against the Blue Jays after being hit in the upper left part of his back by a Brandon Morrow pitch in the fourth inning.
We got him out for precautionary reasons, Francona said. He got a headache and well reevaluate. Looked like he was hit in the upper lat, fortunately."
It was the ninth time Youkilis has been hit by a pitch this season.
Since being named to his first All-Star team on Sunday, Jacoby Ellsbury has gone 6-for-9, with a run scored, two RBI, a triple, and two stolen bases, raising his average to .310. His performance in these two games, though, should come as no surprise.
After appearing in just 18 games last season, Ellsburys performance this season has been what the Sox hoped they would be getting from Ellsbury as a lead-off hitter when they drafted him in the first round out of Oregon State in 2005.
He leads the American League with 26 stolen bases and is among the league leaders in average, runs scored (58), hits (104), doubles (23), and is tied for the longest hitting streak, at 19 games.
Against the Blue Jays Monday afternoon at Fenway Park, Ellsbury went 4-for-5, matching a career single-game high in hits for the fifth time, second this season , with a run scored, a triple, two RBI, and a stolen base.
His fifth-inning triple, his first since Sept. 23, 2009, drove in the Sox first two runs of the game.
Once it bounced I knew I had a good shot at a triple, Ellsbury said. Especially, us being down in the situation like that, you got to know you have a triple and theres not really going to be a play. So, I knew once it hit the ground I had a triple all the way.
In his last 35 games since May 25, he is batting .340, 50-for-147, with nine doubles, a triple, and five home runs.
His leadoff single to center was the 500th hit of his career. It came in his 432nd game. Since 1920, Ted Williams (in his 385th game on Aug. 7, 1941) and Dom DiMaggio (i428, May 18, 1946) are the only other Sox outfielders to reach 500 hits in fewer games.
I feel good at the plate, Ellsbury said. I try to come in each and every day and just be as consistent as possible, and Ive been doing that thus far and hopefully continue to do that.
With the triple, a stolen base, and some nice plays in the field, Ellsburys speed was on display in the game.
I try to be a complete player, he said. I try to do it on the defensive side, on the bases, and when Im at the plate. Use it to my advantage. Today I had the opportunity to display it in a bunch of different ways.
Jarrod Saltalamacchias eighth-inning, two-run triple off the top of the scoreboard in left-center was his second triple of the season, a career single-season high. With the temperature at 84 degrees at first pitch, and rising, Saltalamacchia needed a saline IV after the game.
It was just hot, he said. It was a hot day. We traveled from Houston Sunday night. Just a hot day, a couple long innings. Just wanted to make sure I wasnt dehydrated. So got an IV. Normal stuff.
Legging out a triple, especially late in the game, wasnt the easiest task.
It was tough, but it was adrenaline pumping, he said. I hit the ball good. Knew it was going to get off the Wall and then once it got past the outfielders, I went into third.
Dan Wheeler came in to relieve John Lackey, who lasted just 2 13 innings. Wheeler went 2 23 innings, retiring all eight batters he faced. It was his longest outing since going three innings on Sept. 27, 2006, while with the Astros in Pittsburgh. It was his longest perfect outing since going three perfect innings June 18, 2003, while with the Mets in Florida. It matches the longest perfect outing by a Sox reliever this season, with Alfredo Aceves 2 23 innings on April 11 against the Rays.
David Ortizs eighth-inning ground-rule double to left field snapped an 0-for-23 stretch, (the longest hitless streak of his career, according to Elias Sports Bureau) going back to a third inning double on June 20 against the Padres at Fenway.
The Sox loss, which snapped a four-game win streak, was their third straight on Independence Day.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen