BOSTON -- The plan this season was to bat Marco Scutaro at the bottom of the Red Sox order.
But with Jacoby Ellsbury out of action most of the season, Scutaro was thrust into the leadoff role. And despite battling injuries all year, notably a bad right (throwing) shoulder, Scutaro has been very valuable at the top of the order.
In Monday night's 6-3 win over the Mariners, he had one of his most productive games. Scutaro, who signed a two-year contract as a free agent last offseason, came through with a two-out, two-run single through the right side in the fifth to erase a 1-0 deficit and sparking the Sox to a three-run flurry. In the seventh, Scutaro drilled a tie-breaking single to center over the drawn-in Seattle infield, putting Boston on top 5-3.
The four RBIs matched Scutaro's career high, something he has done four times, including once this season, on July 28 in Anaheim.
His first two-run single came with the bases filled, improving his recent bases-loaded success surge to 5-for-5 with a sacrifice fly and 12 RBIs. For his career Scutaro is batting .321 (25-for-78) with the sacks filled with two homers and 66 RBIs.
“You just want to make sure you get a good pitch, try to hit the ball in the air. It doesn’t always happen, but you try,” Scutaro said with a shrug when pressed about the reason for his good fortunes with the bases loaded.
His overall contributions this season have not gone unnoticed.
“He has given us stability all year,” said manager Terry Francona. “He’s played through a lot. We know that. I’ve appreciated him from the beginning. We were real excited when we got him and we still are. He pretty much gives you the same player every game and I mean that in a good way.”
“With Ells going down, he has really stepped up, giving us a good presence at leadoff,” winning pitcher John Lackey said of Scutaro. “He was always a tough out. He never gives away an at-bat.”
Scutaro says his game plan has never changed.
“Since Day 1, I just try to get on base and score runs, no matter where I hit,” said Scutaro, who is batting a solid .276 with seven homers and 44 RBIs.
Hideki Okajima's rehab outing didn't go well. He recorded only one out and was tagged for four runs on four hits, including a two-run homer for Triple-A Pawtucket in Buffalo. He is scheduled to be re-evaluated in Boston on Tuesday ... The Red Sox had 10 hits -- all singles. It was Boston’s first game with at least 10 hits and none for extra bases since a 12-inning, 6-3 victory in Seattle on July 23, 2008. The Sox had 11 hits in that game ... Lackey was the first Red Sox pitcher to notch at least 10 strikeouts since Jon Lester, who fanned 13 Mariners in Seattle on July 24 ... Rookie Ryan Kalish failed to come through with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth, popping the first pitch weakly to shortstop. But he also dropped down an important sacrifice bunt in the seventh, setting up a go-ahead three-run rally, and he recorded an assist from center field, gunning down Casey Kotchman trying to stretch a hit into a double in the second inning ... Mike Lowell's single in the eighth inning was his 1,600th career hit.