BOSTON - It didn't take long for Shane Victorino to make an impact on the Red Sox lineup
After missing the first 22 games of the season with a strained hamstring, Victorino returned last Thursday and has since hit safely in three of the four games since being activated.
On Tuesday night, he smacked four hits and added an RBI, knocking in two runs in the Red Sox' 7-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
It may or may not be a coincidence that in three of those games, the Red Sox have scored seven or more runs, having done so just once in their first 23 games.
"He has an abbreviated camp then missed three weeks,'' said John Farrell of Victorino, "and had roughly 10 or 11 at-bats (on a rehab assignment). We knew it was going to take a couple of games to get his feet on the ground, which it has.''
His first hit was barely a hit at all - a soft flare off the end of the bat that managed to reach the outfield grass in right. In the third, he hit a ball off the Wall, but was thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double.
In the fifth, he contribute the sacrifice fly to account for both his first RBI of the season and the first run of the night.
As part of the five-run sixth, he slapped an opposite field double down the line to score Jackie Bradley Jr. before singling to left with one on and one out in the eighth.
"He gets the base hit the other way to get things going with his first hit,'' recounted Farrell, "and then much like we've seen, hit a number of balls to the pull side. He does give us a completely different dynamic in that No. 2 hole and when we can set the table for that middle of the order, we've got a chance to score some runs.''
"It was obviously a great night for him,'' said teammate Mike Napoli. "Having him back, that's what he can do for our lineup -- being on base, had a nice at-bat with that sac fly. Those are the types of things he can do on the field. It's nice to have him back.''