BOSTON -- Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro was adamant about the fact that the reason he produced a four-hit night, including a leadoff double off Mariano Rivera in the ninth that led to the game-tying run to force extra innings, had nothing to do with fellow infielder Jed Lowrie set to be activated from the disabled list on Monday.
“Come on, man,” he said. “We’re just trying to win games here. It doesn’t matter who is in the lineup, we’re just trying to win games. I don’t care.”
Scutaro would never publicly admit it, but of course he wants to stay in the lineup, especially since Lowrie has proven he can produce when he’s playing every day.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said prior to Boston’s 3-2 walk-off victory over the Yankees that he doesn’t need to make that decision immediately because Lowrie’s not ready for that type of workload.
Lowrie just finished a five-game rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket during which he went 7-for-17 with four doubles, five RBIs and two walks. He deemed himself ready to go.
“He’s not ready to play every day, but he doesn’t have to,” Francona said. “He swung the bat well [in Pawtucket] and when guys are out for a while you just don’t know how they’re going to swing the bat. Jed has proven that when he’s healthy, he’s a really good hitter and when he’s not, that’s when he makes outs. I think it’s good we took the slower route and got him healthy because he can really help us.”
Scutaro’s performance helped Boston take two of three from the Yankees this weekend.
The Red Sox trailed 2-1 when Scutaro stepped into the batter’s box in the bottom of the ninth against Rivera and provided a double off the left-field wall. Prior to that at-bat, Scutaro had been 3-for-15 with one double, one home run and three RBIs in his career against the future Hall of Fame closer.
“The first couple of pitches he kind of painted away and I was looking for something middle in,” Scutaro said. “I noticed he liked to throw the front-door cutter after two strikes, so I was aware of that pitch and he left it in the middle.
“It’s not like I’ve got big numbers against him. The guy is probably the best closer ever. I’ve just been lucky, I guess.”
“They’re professional hitters. They pretty much know the situation and they go to the plate with an idea and they stay patient and look for a pitch to drive,” Scutaro said of Boston’s 1-2 punch at the top of the order.
That course of events allowed the Red Sox to win it in the bottom of the 10th on Josh Reddick’s walk-off single. But none of that would have happened without Scutaro's night at the plate.
“I felt good, man,” he said. “I’ve been battling the whole year with my mechanics and my timing. I’ve been inconsistent and today, during batting practice, I kind of felt something clicking in and I just took it to the game.”
Scutaro said he really couldn’t describe exactly what it was he felt during BP, but whatever it was it worked and he hopes he keeps going. If it does, he’ll keep his job as the starting shortstop.