Sixth sense moved Scutaro
He responds with 3 doubles, 4 RBIs
TORONTO - Accustomed to hitting at the bottom of the Red Sox order, in which he’s made 45 starts out of the No. 9 hole this season, Marco Scutaro said one thought came to mind when he arrived at Rogers Centre for last night’s game against the Blue Jays and found out he was the sixth hitter in Terry Francona’s lineup.
“Are we trying today?’’ Scutaro joked, as he stood surrounded by reporters in front of his locker in the visitors’ clubhouse.
Scutaro found himself in the spotlight not only for making his second start this season in the sixth spot, but for flourishing in it. He helped spearhead a 20-hit attack in last night’s 14-0 romp over the Blue Jays by going 4 for 5 with 4 RBIs, 3 doubles, 1 walk, and 2 runs.
The shortstop matched his career high for hits and doubles.
“I think we’ve found a new 6-hole hitter on the team now,’’ Scutaro said, loud enough for anyone in the clubhouse to hear.
The spot in the order certainly seemed to suit him.
Last night he improved his average to .583 hitting out of the sixth spot in three games this season. He’s hitting .282 overall.
“The lineup we had tonight I thought gave us our best balance,’’ Francona said. “He had a great night and swung the bat terrific. His last out was a lineout to center. He was terrific.’’
Scutaro’s production against the Jays, a team for whom he toiled for two seasons (2008-09), made it seem as if he might be ready to make his promotion in the lineup more of a permanent one.
“Nah, it was a good day,’’ Scutaro said. “Finally, I found some holes, I think.’’
Scutaro, who went 2 for 4 with a double in Monday afternoon’s 1-0 loss in 11 innings, reached the first five times he came to the plate, recording hits in his first four at-bats before drawing a walk.
He ripped an RBI single to left in a four-run eruption in the first inning, a double to left leading off the third, an RBI double to center in the three-run fourth, and a two-run double to left that made it 13-0 in the fifth.
“I’ve been hitting the ball good for about three weeks,’’ Scutaro said. “And it seemed like everything was right at people or they were making diving stops and stuff like that. It’s nice to have a day like this, it’s always nice.’’
What is it about the Blue Jays, a team he has hit .324 against in his career with 15 doubles, one homer, 19 RBIs, and 30 runs, that seems to bring the best out in him?
“I don’t know,’’ Scutaro said. “I just like hitting here. I see the ball good. And you’ve got some advantage, too, when you hit the ball on the ground. You’ve got more chances to get hits than any other place, I guess, because it’s kind of fast. I don’t know, it’s just one of those things.’’
Asked if he would lobby Francona to remain sixth in the order for tonight’s game, Scutaro smiled wanly. “I don’t know, man,’’ he said. “I just work here.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.