If the Red Sox were looking to increase their team batting average, 23 hits yesterday was a good way to start. Not only that, those hits were spread around fairly well. Except for Brandon Moss.
Oh, he got a hit. But just one, making him the lone Sox starter not to record a multihit game.
Jacoby Ellsbury got four, a career high; Dustin Pedroia two; Kevin Youkilis three; Manny Ramírez three; Mike Lowell two; Sean Casey three; Jason Varitek two; and Julio Lugo two. Every starter also scored at least one run. From those slumping, notably Varitek, to those on fire, notably Pedroia, there was hitting up and down the order.
"It has to be different contributors to maintain winning over a longer period," Varitek said. "Your horses are going to win their fair share of games. Then it's when you can add runs and do those things with other people, then it just stretches out your lineup."
With J.D. Drew out with back stiffness and Casey ("He is just a hitting machine," Varitek raved) in the lineup as the designated hitter and Moss starting in right field, it wasn't the Sox' normal lineup. But that didn't matter. Even Casey managed to up his batting average - tough for a guy coming in at .360 on the season - going 3 for 5 with two RBIs and a run.
"Good at-bats all around, team at-bats," said Pedroia, who extended his hitting streak to 17 games despite going 0 for his first 4. "Getting guys over. Driving guys in. It was good. Unselfish, one through nine. It was great."
And it didn't stop there. The bench contributed, with Kevin Cash recording the first pinch hit of his career - a home run, no less. It was the second pinch homer for the Sox this season, after Youkilis's April 15 at Cleveland.
But as the offense was more than one could expect, Josh Beckett was less. He lasted just five innings, his shortest outing of the season other than the 4 2/3 he worked in his first start, April 6.
"I thought he was up with a lot of pitches," said manager Terry Francona. "That wasn't one of his more consistent [outings], but just the ball wasn't going consistently where he wanted it to."
Colon has setbackBartolo Colon, who has been on the disabled list since injuring his back swinging the bat June 16, has had a setback in his recovery. Though Colon had gotten back to throwing off flat ground, he will back off that until tomorrow at the earliest after feeling discomfort.
"I think our concern is all of sudden the guy's going to throw different, especially when you start getting out to where you're throwing it, then he's going to hurt his arm," Francona said. "We have the All-Star break coming up. We're just going to back him off for a couple days. I just think we weren't real comfortable with how this was possibly progressing."
Colon will begin throwing again tomorrow or Saturday, though not at the 120 feet he had been, then will rest over the All-Star break. He will restart the program at the end of next week.