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Bogaerts hits a memorable first home run

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  September 7, 2013 07:59 PM

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NEW YORK — Xander Bogaerts didn't get a good look at his first career home run. He was too busy wondering what was wrong with his leg.

The 20-year-old Red Sox rookie hit a pitch from Jim Miller nearly 450 feet in the fifth inning on Saturday afternoon. The ball soared over the Red Sox bullpen and into the crowd, where a friendly New York City police officer helped retrieve it.

Bogaerts winced as he hit the ball because his right calf cramped up.

"I was being careful running around the bases," he said after the Red Sox beat the Yankees, 13-9. "It was exciting but I was like, 'Why does my leg hurt.?' I'll watch it later."

At 20 years, 341 days old, Bogaerts is the youngest Red Sox player to hit a home run since Dwight Evans in 1970. Dewey was 19 days younger.

In the sixth inning, Bogaerts charged a slow roller and made a bare-handed play to throw out Robinson Cano.

"Sick play," John Lackey said later. "He had a great day."

There are fans who understandably would like to see Bogaerts playing more often. That monster home run certainly shows, as John Farrell said, why evaluators think so highly of him.

But the Red Sox have gotten this far with Stephen Drew playing a key role. Drew has played above-average defense and is hitting .273/.362 /.480 since coming off the disabled list on July 20. Since Aug. 1, Drew is hitting .298/.383/.496.

Bogaerts looks to be a wonderful player, a talent who could be the Red Sox version of Manny Machado. But Drew is no slouch and Farrell was never going to dump his shortstop a month ahead of the postseason. But if the Red Sox clinch early, Bogaerts could get more time and that will smooth his path into next season.

When Bogaerts saw his name in the lineup, he thought to himself that he would like to hit a home run for his mother. Sandra Brown is home in Aruba and Bogaerts hopes she was watching the game game on television.

"I'll call her later," he said. "We have a lot to talk about."

A few notes:

• Lackey, a victim of poor run support all season, got the victory despite allowing seven runs on eight hits and three walks over 5.2 innings. He appreciated the work his teammates did.

“Not even Lackey could stop our offense today,” reliever Craig Breslow joked.

“That was a pretty good line,” Lackey said.

• The Sox are the first team to score at least nine runs in three consecutive days against New York since 1912, when they were called the Highlanders.

• For the first time in their history, the Yankees have scored seven or more runs in three straight games without winning at least one.

• Mike Napoli is 7 for 12 with a double, three home runs and eight RBIs in the series. He got a day off in Los Angeles on Aug. 23 to rest a sore left foot and is hitting .409 with six home runs, 16 RBIs, and a .909 slugging percentage in 12 games since.

• The Sox have scored 54 runs on 64 hits (17 home runs) in their last four games. The 54 runs are the most in a four-game stretch for the Sox since the 1950 season. Not since 2003 have the Sox hit 17 home runs over four games.

• In this series, the teams have combined for 59 runs, 74 hits, 30 extra-base hits, 32 walks and 26 pitching changes.

• In his four stints with the Red Sox this season, Jackie Bradley Jr. has started six games at Yankee Stadium. The Sox are 5-1 in those games with Bradley going 6 for 24 and scoring eight runs.

• Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (lower back pain) missed his fifth consecutive game. “I could have played but we decided to be sure and take that one extra day,” he said. “I’m feeling pretty good now.” Saltalamacchia expects to return to the lineup on Sunday. David Ross and Ryan Lavarnway are 8 for 19 with six RBIs filling in for Saltalamacchia.

• The Red Sox have not announced their rotation for the series at Tampa Bay that starts on Tuesday. Clay Buchholz is ready to come off the disabled list after making three minor league starts, but the Sox have not yet decided whether to pull Felix Doubront or Ryan Dempster from the rotation.

• The Sox are 6-1 in September after going 7-19 last season.

• Will Middlebrooks (2 for 4) is 30 for 84 (.357) in 25 games since being recalled from Pawtucket. His batting average has climbed from .192 to .240.

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