Crawford, Iglesias finish homestand with flair


Crawford, Iglesias finish homestand with flair

By DannyPicard

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; It was the fastest Jose Iglesias has ever run, according toRed Sox manager Terry Francona.

As Carl Crawford ripped a 3-and-2 fastball off the top of theGreen Monster in left-center, Iglesias in as pinch-runner after Jed Lowrie walked put hishead down and took off from first.

There was no question he was being sent home. But a play athome plate was just as inevitable.

The throw to home was late and Iglesias, making his second major-league appearance in as many days in the bigs, slid home with the winning run, giving the Red Sox a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Twins in11 innings on Monday night at Fenway Park.

It was a win that came on what Francona called a good nightto pitch. The wind was blowing in hard, and hard-hit balls were being knockeddown and kept in the park.

And as happy as the Red Sox were to see the speedy,wide-eyed Iglesias race home from first to score the game-winning run, theywere just as jacked up to see Crawford whos now batting .211 on the season drive home the game-winner.

It wasnt like we knocked them all over the ballparktonight, said Francona after the win. It was a good night to pitch. The windwas blowing in hard. We run Iggy, get some speed there, just in case somebody doesbang a ball off the wall. And thats exactly what Crawford did.

I think as Iggy is here more, hell probably be a littleeasier to read that ball off the wall, added Francona. He probably didnt getout as far as he could have. But he was probably running about as fast as hellever run. Carl took a great swing.

The 11th-inning double marked Crawfords only hit of thenight. It also was his eighth career walkoff hit, and his second of the season. His other in a Red Sox uniform came on May 1 aninth-inning single that scored Jed Lowrie to defeat the Seattle Mariners, 3-2.

Crawford has shown plenty of signs hes turning the page on a dismalmonth of April. The double extended his season-high hit streak to nine games, in which he is hitting .361(13-for-36).

And for those looking to pinpoint that average on Crawfordsability to use the wall at Fenway, Francona warns the Red Sox dont necessarilywant him to try and do that.

I think hes certainly strong enough, Francona said. But I dont think he has that Adrian Gonzalez inside-out swing,or that he necessarily manipulates the bat that way. Nor do we really want himto. Because I think hes more of a reactionary-type hitter. But hes certainlystrong enough to hit that wall when he hits the ball good.

And now that Crawford seems to be hitting the ball a wholelot better in the month of May, his teammates arent surprised to see himbeginning to break out.

The one thing Ive learned, is that, as a professionalplayer, youve got to believe and trust in what you do, said Gonzalez. At theend of the day, its not your batting stance. Its not your hands. Its notyour feet. Its your mind.

The Red Sox hope Crawfords mind keeps him hitting likehe did in their latest homestand. And theyll also keep taking walkoff hitsfrom him as well.

Walkoffs always are nice, you always feel good at the endof the day, said Crawford. So I'd do that anytime if I could.

Danny Picard is onTwitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.