THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Red Sox notebook

It was a full day for Fuld

To second baseman Ben Zobrist’s surprise, a grounder that ate him up is there for the plucking, and Zobrist got the out at first. To second baseman Ben Zobrist’s surprise, a grounder that ate him up is there for the plucking, and Zobrist got the out at first. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / April 12, 2011

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

Text size +

Sam Fuld grew up in Durham, N.H., went to Phillips Exeter Academy, and worshipped the Red Sox, making some 50 trips to their hardball shrine, Fenway Park.

Last night, Fuld, a 29-year-old left fielder for the Tampa Bay Rays, couldn’t have picked a better setting for a career night, setting career highs with four hits and three RBIs, and drilling a home run, two doubles, and a triple in Tampa Bay’s 16-5 shellacking of the Sox before a Fenway crowd of 37,568.

“It’s amazing,’’ Fuld said. “You know it’s a dream come true to play and to have a night like that and help the team win like that. I don’t think you can draw it up any better than that. I definitely had more adrenaline going playing in this ballpark that I grew up going to. I didn’t know how that would play out.

“Hitting is a funny thing because you don’t want too much emotion involved there. But I used the adrenaline in my favor.’’

When he came up in the ninth inning for his sixth at-bat, Fuld lacked only a single for the cycle.

He stroked a pitch into left field, but stretched it into a double.

Asked if he considered stopping at first, Fuld replied, “Thought about it a little bit, but only jokingly. If [lead runner Reid] Brignac had tripped and fell he would have been the goat or whatever. You can’t do that. That was a sheer double. I’ll take those any day.’’

The highlights for Fuld were a diving catch in the fifth to rob Dustin Pedroia of a possible extra-base hit and, of course, the home run he hit off Daisuke Matsuzaka in the six-run second inning.

“He looks like a Brett Butler-type kid,’’ said Sox manager Terry Francona. “He’s got some power, too. He was all over the outfield. I’m sure they’re excited about him.’’

But not as excited as Fuld was to have the night he had.

“Awesome,’’ he said. “Dream come true. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d hit a home run here. To play here and do something like that, it will be a night I remember forever.’’

Fuld was one of five players acquired from the Cubs for righthander Matt Garza in January. Last night’s homer was the second of his career.

Gonzalez feels fine After he got hit on his right hand by a CC Sabathia pitch Sunday night, Adrian Gonzalez was back in the lineup. “Just a little bone bruise,’’ Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said he did not require X-rays.

“No, I mean, I’m at full strength,’’ he said. “I’ll be all right.’’

Francona said the sight of one of the club’s prized acquisitions getting hit gave everyone cause for concern.

“I think it probably made us more nervous, probably him, too,’’ Francona said. “But by the time he ran the bases later, he felt he was OK.’’

No panic in Young Francona praised the “quiet confidence’’ and “the real easy demeanor’’ with which pitching coach Curt Young has handled the rotation. “Well, he won’t panic, either,’’ Francona said of Young, who came to Boston from Oakland after John Farrell took over as Toronto’s manager. “I mean, we all want to do our jobs as best we can, but there’s a reason he’s here. We think a lot of this guy and a time and a half through the rotation won’t change how we feel.’’ . . . Carl Crawford will receive his 2010 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards in a pregame ceremony tonight.

Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com.

Red Sox Video

Follow our Twitter feeds