The last time Shane Victorino smacked two home runs in a game — in fact, the only other time he had smacked two in a game — was more than five years ago.
But he had good reason to remember all the details.
“I remember it,” Victorino said, “because it was Randy Johnson.”
At the time, Johnson was 44 years old and a year from finishing a career that will eventually land him in the Hall of Fame.
Victorino was 27, it was just his third full season and they were two of his 14 homers that season.
Five years and two teams later, he got a chance to reminisce after hitting a pair of homers off Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen, the exclamation points on a 3 for 3 night that saw him reach base five times, drive in a career-high seven runs, and score four runs in the Red Sox’ 13-2 win.
He came in fighting his own body, pushing it through injuries that have nagged him all season — the result of playing right field like like stuntman. It got to the point that this month he decided to hit exclusively from the right side of the plate.
Exactly how much trouble is his body giving him? He wouldn’t let on.
“That’s for me to know and you not to know,” Victorino said.
The injuries may have seemed to validate some of the offseason chirping from outside observers about whether Victorino could be healthy and productive. But after igniting the Red Sox offense with one of the best games of his career, Victonio admitted it was nice to be able to prove them wrong. He’s hitting .292 with 11 homers, 48 RBIs, and 17 stolen bases. Only David Wright and Alex Rios have hit at least 10 home runs and stolen at least 10 bases in every season since 2007.
“It’s very satisfying,” Victorino said. “But for me, I don’t look at that. I don’t pay attention to those types of people. There are always going to be doubters no matter what. You can’t please everybody. But if I can come inside, look myself in the mirror and say I gave 100 percent, that’s the only person I need to answer to.”
The last Red Sox to drive in seven runs in a game was J.D. Drew in 2007, and they were the most by a Red Sox player at Fenway since Nomar Garciaparra drove in eight in 2002.
“He’s been playing great all year,” said Dustin Pedroia, who went 3 for 5 behind Victorino in the order. “The plays he makes in the outfield, I’ve never seen anything like it and offensively he’s driving the ball. Anytime he gets on, he’s creating a run. His speed, everything. He’s hitting the ball out of the ballpark, and he’s playing great for us.”