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The thrill of Victorino

Posted by David Sabino  August 28, 2013 08:59 AM

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Thumbnail image for victorino082813(2).jpgThe Flyin’ Hawaiian was saying aloha to baseballs all night on Tuesday, as he lei’d into two home runs, drove in a career-high seven runs and reached base in all five of his plate appearances, continuing a recent tear for the Red Sox rightfielder. Shane Victorino now has multiple hits in six of his last nine games, including three hits in three of those. Since August 17, he has major league-highs in slugging percentage (.917) and OPS (1.429). Over that span only runaway AL MVP favorite Miguel Cabrera and slugging Rays third baseman Evan Longoria have hit more home runs (five to four), only NL MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen has been on base at a higher rate (.532 to .512) and only San Diego’s Will Venable can match his .444 batting average.

Victorino’s seven RBIs in a game weren’t only the most ever for a player born in the state of Hawaii — breaking the old mark of five he already shared three times with Mike Lum, Joey Meyer, Lenn Sakata and Kurt Suzuki — it was the most by any player at Fenway Park since Toronto’s Lyle Overbay drove across seven runs in 2010 and the most by a Red Sox hitter since Nomar Garciaparra knocked in in eight against the then-Devil Rays in a 22-4 shellacking in the first game of a July 23, 2002 doubleheader.

The list of Red Sox who reached base in every one of their five or more plate appearances, hit as many as two home runs and drove in at least seven runs is not long. Actually Victorino was just the second, joining fellow rightfielder, Tom Brunansky, who on May 19, 1990 was 5-for-5 with two home runs and seven driven in in just his second career game against his original team, the Twins. And when you open up the criteria a little and take out the perfect night, you still get just eight Red Sox since World War I who have had similar night’s to Victorino’s big Tuesday against the Orioles. In fact, five of those eight came against the O’s or their predecessors, the St. Louis Browns, and two, by Walt Dropo and Bobby Doerr, came in the same 1950 game, a 29-4 thumping of the Brownies.

Red Sox to have hit at least two home runs, drove in seven or more runs and reached base five times in a single game (since World War I)
•Ted Williams June 24, 1949 vs. St. Louis 3 H, 2 BB, 2 HR, 7 RBI

•Walt Dropo June 6, 1950 vs. St. Louis 4 H, 1 BB, 2 HR, 7 RBI

•Bobby Doerr June 6, 1950 vs. St. Louis 4 H, 1 BB, 3 HR, 8 RBI

•Fred Lynn June 18, 1975 at Detroit 5 H, 3 HR, 10 RBI

•Ellis Burks June 10, 1987 at Baltimore 3 H, 2 BB, 2 HR, 7 RBI

•Dwight Evans August 13, 1988 vs. Detroit 4 H, 1 BB, 2 HR, 7 RBI

•Tom Brunansky May 19, 1990 vs. Minnesota 5 H, 2 HR, 7 RBI

•Shane Victorino August 27, 2013 vs. Baltimore 3 H, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 2 HR, 7 RBI

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Stats Driven is powered by David Sabino, who over the last two decades has been a source of statistical analysis on the pages of Sports Illustrated, New York Times, and Chicago Tribune. David has written about all seven recent Boston-area championships for Sports Illustrated Presents commemorative issues, was the creator of such long time features as SI’s Player Value Ranking, NBA Player Rating and long running fantasy football and baseball columns.

He has also authored or made contributions to many books, including the Sports Illustrated’s 100 Fenway: A Fascinating First Century.

Now living in Marblehead, he’s focusing his attention on the Boston sports scene, specifically delving into the numbers affecting the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, with the goal of informing and entertaining real fans. You can follow him on Twitter at @SabinoSports.

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