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Salty heats up and Red Sox win 4th straight

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  April 27, 2012 12:11 AM

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CHICAGO -- That he started the season 2 for 25 at the plate was of little concern to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. As somebody who thinks every day about the lessons taught him by Jason Varitek, offense is secondary.

There were even days in spring training when Saltalamacchia would forfeit his time in the batting cage to spend extra time working with a particular pitcher.

“We had so many new guys that I needed to spread myself out and get to know everybody as well as I could,” he said before Thursday night's game against the White Sox. “That’s my job, to take care of the pitchers. If something has to give, it’s going to be my offense.”

That unselfishness probably contributed to his slow start at the plate.

“It didn’t bother me,” Saltalamacchia said. “You have to let that go and get ready to catch. I expected I would start to hit eventually. With our lineup, I have the luxury of knowing other guys can carry the offense. For me, that part of the game is going to come.”

It certainly has. Saltalamacchia homered twice and drove in three runs to help power the resurgent Red Sox to a 10-3 victory before a well-chilled crowd of 20,266 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Saltalamacchia has hit safely in five straight games with five extra-base hits and seven RBIs.

“Salty’s had good at-bats for the majority of this season. His at-bats have been solid. He was due,” Bobby Valentine said. “He’s a good hitter. He wasn’t hitting into any luck at all. Every ball he hit hard early seemed to find a glove.”

Another cold hitter, Kevin Youkilis, also is warming up. He was 3 for 4 with a grand slam.

Youkilis was hitting .174 through his first 13 games. He is 6 for 12 in the last three. That his home run went to the opposite field was a sign that his swing is in rhythm.

“Just having better at-bats and doing little things here and there,” Youkilis said. “I look at it as long season and you’re going to go through stuff. Hopefully the bad at-bats are in the past.”

The offense made it an easier night for Felix Doubront, who allowed three runs in six innings while throwing a career-high 110 pitches.

“His stuff is very good,” Valentine said. “He’s just missing on that outside part of the plate. His ball is just running off a little times where it’s getting his pitch count up. But the changeup and the fastball and the curveball are all plus pitches.”

Doubront has a 4.09 ERA in four starts. The Sox are 3-1 in the games he has started.

That's four straight for the Sox, who are 8-10 and have scored 43 runs in their last five games.

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