Isn’t it interesting the difference one player can make?
Victor Martinez was 1 for 4 tonight with an RBI single as the Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-3. But his name in the sixth position of the lineup sure looked good if you’re a Boston fan.
All of a sudden, the Red Sox had an unbroken line of high-caliber players in a row. Scutaro. Drew. Youkilis. Ortiz. Beltre. Martinez. Those six had five runs, 10 hits and six RBIs. Ortiz led the way with two homers and three RBIs.
All of a sudden, it’s not so easy for a pitcher to finesse his way through the lineup and get to the weak hitters. Danny Haren makes a mistake and — bang! — Martinez lines an RBI single into right field.
You want a nice trade deadline pickup? How about a switch-hitting catcher with power?
“Today our lineup was more formidable having Victor back,” Ortiz said. “I give Victor a lot of credit for activating himself without going to a rehab. He looked great to me.”
Martinez was smiling as he spoke to reporters after the game.
“I felt great,” he said. “I was having a lot of fun out there.”
The other big positive from tonight was Clay Buchholz going seven strong innings in his second start since coming off the disabled list. If the Sox make the playoffs, it will be because they have their strong rotation back intact.
Once Buchholz left the bases loaded in the third inning, he clicked back into All-Star form.
“I got the feel for a couple of pitches and everything came back,” he said. “It felt good. If I missed, it was down. If it was over the middle, it was down.”
A few other notes:
* The Red Sox have allowed eight runs in the eighth inning of their last three games. Daniel Bard had pitched three of the previous four games and wasn’t going to be used tonight.
It would be nuts to trade Casey Kelly or Felix Doubront for a reliever. But if the prices come down before Saturday, the Sox desperately need relief help.
* Mike Cameron came out of the game in the ninth inning. His lower abdominal muscle year — “It had been cranky all day,” he said — was giving him trouble.
Cameron said it’s a day-to-day process with his health, but he’s determined to do everything he can to help this team.
“I just kind of made up my mind that I was going to fight a little bit more,” he said. “Sometimes I push probably a little too much and sometimes it affects me and I get weakness and stiffness.”
Cameron said he would work to get ready to play tomorrow.
* When Ortiz homered in the eighth inning, Fernando Rodney drilled Adrian Beltre with a 97-mph fastball two pitches later. Beltre just stood there and stared out at the mound for nearly 30 seconds before walking slowly to first base. The umpires than warned both benches.
Terry Francona said that’s a bad rule and I tend to agree with that idea. Teams should be allowed to take care of business themselves. John Lackey will face his old teammates in the second game of the series and it’s a good bet that somebody gets a heater in the back.
* Scott Boras, who has the suite right behind home plate, was at the game to see his assorted clients. Sox president Larry Lucchino is here as well and spent some talking to Boras.
* Finally, thanks to everybody for reading the blog. We had nearly 500 comments today and there was a ton of good baseball discussion. I know I speak for everybody with the Globe and Boston.com when I say we appreciate your interest and participation.
Extra Bases is your blog, not ours. Feel free to drop me an e-mail with any ideas you have and I’ll do my best to make it happen.