Sox offense catches fire, puts up 7 runs in 11th

Sox offense catches fire, puts up 7 runs in 11th
August 27, 2014, 12:30 am
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(USA Today Sports Images)

TORONTO -- As has been the case for the first five months of this season, the Red Sox had their struggles with runners in scoring position Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.

Through the first nine innings, the Sox were just 2-for-9, unable to collect the big hit when they needed it most.

Then, in the 11th inning, it was as if the Red Sox finally got the hang of it.

One hit followed another until the Red Sox had seven runs, and they needed most of them when the Toronto Blue Jays answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, running out of time in an 11-7 win by the Red Sox.

First came Dustin Pedroia's bases-loaded single, scoring two.

Next came a mammoth three-run homer into the fifth level at Rogers Centre.

Finally, Allen Craig chipped in with his first homer with the Red Sox, a two-run belt to right-center.

"That's basically (the problem with) our offense this year -- coming up with the big hit,'' said Napoli of the team's issues with runners in scoring position. "Me, too. It's tough. You've got to get those key two-out hits, get hits with guys in scoring position. That's what it's all about -- having those tough at-bats and getting those guys in. It's been a rough year but we've got to get better at it.''

Napoli became just the seventh visiting player in the history of Rogers Centre to hit a ball into the upper deck. The last came three years ago.

But he was decidedly unimpressed with the feat.

"I knew I hit it good,'' he said evenly. "Just trying to get a hit. Just trying to hit it hard, get a single. My hands reacted and I got the barrel to it. It doesn't really matter if it goes (that) far or goes in the first row, to me.''

But surely, a tape-measure blast like that is fun, no?

"I mean, it's always to mess around with your teammates and everyone's just going crazy in the dugout,'' he said. "But, I don't know. It's just a homer.''

Even without David Ortiz the last two games, the Sox have had a formidable middle of the order with Yoenis Cespedes (two RBI in last two games), Napoli and Craig. Together, they represent a vision of what the team might have in 2015.

"It looks good,'' said Napoli. "It looks deep. You put (Pedroia) and Brock (Holt) in front of David. Guys will be on base and then we have the big boys coming up, trying to drive them in. It looks nice, but we still have to play together.''

"I think when you put those many good hitters in a lineup,'' said Craig, "and everyone's going good, you all feed off each other. Obviously, it takes time to get to know one another and what everyone likes to do, but it's exciting, exciting to be part of.''