Scutaro hit gives Sox breathing room

April, 11, 2011
BOSTON -- In need of a clutch hit on a night they stranded 16 runners on base, the Red Sox had an unlikely source deliver -- No. 9 hitter Marco Scutaro.

Entering Sunday night hitting .143, Scutaro ripped a bases-loaded, two-run double to left field in the seventh inning of the team’s 4-0 win over the Yankees. Only then could the sellout Fenway crowd of 37,861 exhale.

The Red Sox had been holding on to a 1-0 lead, squandering numerous opportunities to pull away, until Scutaro delivered.

“It was a big hit, not just for us, but for him,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “It was a big spot in the game, kind of blew it open a bit. The way we were pitching tonight, that was all we needed.”

Starting pitcher Josh Beckett was the story, no doubt, twirling eight terrific innings in which he allowed just two hits. Beckett was working with little margin for error until Scutaro pulled a 1-and-0 fastball to left field, knocking reliever Joba Chamberlain out of the game.

“To stay out of a position where a mistake costs you a chance to win the game, it spreads it out and gave us a little breathing room,” manager Terry Francona said.

Scutaro was on base in each of his four plate appearances, walking twice and singling against starter CC Sabathia before the big double against Chamberlain. After the game, he said he’s still working on his timing at the plate, which has been a factor in his slow start.

In the seventh inning, David Ortiz led off with a walk, and one out later J.D. Drew also walked, before Jason Varitek’s single loaded the bases. Scutaro laid off a down-and-away slider before getting the pitch he was looking for -- a 1-and-0 fastball.

“It feels good, especially after all the men on base we’ve left lately,” Scutaro said.

Mike Reiss

ESPN Staff Writer



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