As frustrating as it was to drill a fly ball to center in the first inning of the Red Sox’s 5-0 win over the Orioles Sunday in Baltimore only to watch Adam Jones track it down at the wall, then shoot another one Jones’s way in the third, work a walk in the fifth, line hard to left in the eighth, and ground into an inning-ending double play in the ninth, Dustin Pedroia shook his 0-for-4 day off.
“That’s the thing,” Pedroia said. “You get a little frustrated sometimes when you square the ball up and don’t get hits. They made some good plays, but that’s a part of the game. When you’re a good hitter, you hit balls at people sometimes. So I’ve got to keep grinding.”
He’s in the middle of a 3-for-38 slump in his past nine games dating to July 19. His batting averaged has dived from .316 to .297, falling below .300 for the first time since May 7.
“He squared up a couple of balls that just didn’t find any green pasture,” manager John Farrell said. “He’s grinding a little bit right now, but who isn’t.”
In the sixth inning, playing in shallow right field with the shift on for Orioles slugger Chris Davis, Pedroia fielded a ground ball cleanly but fired a wild throw to first that allowed Davis to reach on an error. It was his third in the past 36 games after going error-free in the first 69.
But he made up for it three batters later by taking a nosedive after making a leaping throw at second to turn a double play on a JJ Hardy ground ball to end the inning.
“It was a little different because Davis was running and I couldn’t really see the throw [from third baseman Jose Iglesias],” Pedroia said. “But it’s a part of the job.”
The play got Jon Lester out of a first-and-second, one-out jam.
“Pedey is fearless when it comes to turning the double play,” Farrell said. “He hangs in tough when the runner’s bearing down on him. Iggy’s got such quick hands and a quick release, he gets it to him in pretty good fashion there, but in that part of the game where it’s still just a three-run game, it was a pretty good [play] for us.”