Crawford finally getting comfortable at the plate

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Crawford finally getting comfortable at the plate

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

DETROIT -- Asked if a .244 batting average ever felt so good, Carl Crawford smiled before replying.

Nah, he said. But I got to take what I can get right now.

In the last two games, Crawford has been taking more than his share. Thursday against the Tigers, he went 4-for-5 with two triples, two runs scored, and three RBI. In his last two games combined, he has gone 8-for-9 with two doubles, two triples, a home run, five runs scored, and five RBI, raising his average to .244, his high-water mark for the season.

We talked about it, said manager Terry Francona. We said we were going to enjoy it. Its been two days in a row where its four hits, and theyre good swings. They werent at pitches out of the strike zone. Hes pulling balls in the gap. Using his legs. It was a matter of time but its certainly nice to see.

In the past four games, Crawford has gone 10-for-16 (.625) with eight runs scored, six RBI, two doubles, two triples, two home runs, two walks, one strikeout and one stolen base. In that time he has raised his average 35 points (from .209), his on-base percentage 34 points (from .243 to .277), and his slugging percentage 91 points (from .277 to .368).

Its starting to be fun for him.

It feels real good just to be able to hit the ball and play like yourself, he said. I havent felt that way in a long time. So to have that feeling back for a few days feels great.

It feels great to be winning. The teams hitting. Everybodys playing well and contributing. Everybody's swinging the bats well. We just hope we can keep that going.

Just feeling a little bit more comfortable at the plate, trying to really get my pitch to hit and not missing it when I do get a chance to drive the ball.

Being more comfortable, more relaxed at the plate makes a big difference for a hitter.

I dont disagree with that, Francona said. I think its hard when youre struggling. Its like when we were 2-11 or 2-10, we talked about it all the time: You got to be strong enough to look up there and realize that well straighten this out. But it takes some patience and all of a sudden you get in that mode and you want to go 3-for-1 as a hitter. It doesnt work.

But these last couple of days, theyll do him a world of good. Regardless of what youre hitting, if you feel like youre going in one direction, its better. And he certainly feels that way. The weathers warmed up somewhat and I think that helps him. Hes got his legs under him. You can see the swings hes taking. Theyre good swings. But I think now he can go out and play.

Two of Crawfords four hits Thursday were triples. He now has eight two-triple games, the last on July 26, 2008, while with the Rays against the Royals. Its ironic he would add to that count on Thursday, because he was a triple shy of the cycle when he went 4-for-4 on Wednesday in Cleveland.

I guess, a day late, said Crawford.

But for the Sox, who moved into a first-place tie with the Yankees, who were off Thursday, its right on time.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Shaughnessy: Red Sox have a chance to flip this around

Shaughnessy: Red Sox have a chance to flip this around

Mike Felger and Dan Shaughnessy discuss the Boston Red Sox bouncing back from their slump with a win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Quotes, notes and stars: Fourth inning 'a grind' for Porcello

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Quotes, notes and stars: Fourth inning 'a grind' for Porcello

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 8-2 win over Tampa Bay

 

QUOTES

"I can't say enough about the way our position players have continued to grind away. . . Tonight was just another example of that.'' - John Farrell.

"He's been everything that we could have hoped. You look to a starting pitcher to go out and be consistent every fifth day -- he's been a model of that for us.'' - Farrell on Rick Porcello.

"It's nice to come back with a statement game tonight. The past couple of week haven't been good for us, so it was nice to get back on the right track tonight.'' - Travis Shaw.

"Preventing them from scoring first was big and then limiting the big inning. The fourth inning was a grind. I dug myself a hole and had to find a way out of it.'' - Rick Porcello.

 

NOTES

* Rick Porcello became the first Red Sox starter to record a win since David Price beat Seattle on Jume 19.

* Porcello is unbeaten over his last eight starts, going 3-0 with five no-decisions.

* Porcello had gone 19 straight starts without allowing more than two walks, the longest such streak for a Red Sox starter since Curt Schilling went 33 in a row.

* The Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak and are one of two teams (Cleveland is the other) to not have lost four straight this season.

* Boston has a major league-leading 22 games in which it has scored eight or more runs.

* The first six hitters in the Red Sox lineup were 11-for-24, while the bottom three were a combined 0-for-13.

* Travis Shaw's home run was measured at 449 feet, the second-longest homer by a Red Sox player this season.

* In one night, Travis Shaw had more RBI (five) than he had in his previous 27 games (four).

* David Ortiz tied Frank Thomas in career RBI (1,704); both are in 23rd place.

 

STARS

1) Travis Shaw

Shaw belted out three hits -- including his first homer in the month of June -- and knocked in five RBI, tying a career high.

2) Rick Porcello

In a perfect world, Porcello would have gone a little deeper, but kept the Rays off the scoreboard early and helped set the tone for the night.

3) Hanley Ramirez

Ramirez reached base five times with two hits -- both singles -- and three walks - one intentional - and seemed to be in the middle of every Red Sox rally.