BOSTON (AP) -The public address announcer had already gone through the lineups and the first strains of the national anthem
were about to follow when Boston's scheduled No. 4 hitter, first baseman
, was scratched with back spasms.
There was only one place for manager
The diminutive second baseman filled in at cleanup for the third time in four games and delivered a career high-tying five
RBIs on Tuesday night to lead Boston to a 14-2 victory over the struggling
''It was a quick move tonight,'' Francona said. ''We put Petey in the four-hole and he just continues to get hits.''
Pedroia had a double, a homer and a single, and is batting .600 (18-for-30) over the last seven games to raise his AL-leading
average to .330. A year after hitting eight homers and winning the AL rookie of the year award, Pedroia has 16 homers for
The numbers are typical of a cleanup hitter, but not the kind that were expected from a feisty, 5-foot-9 second baseman. But
with Youkilis ailing, Pedroia has gone 7-for-12 while providing protection for slugger
''It's funny to see him come up after Ortiz, a big burly guy,'' teammate
also had three hits on Tuesday, and Ortiz added four RBIs as the
won for the 10th time in 14 games. Boston cut its deficit in the AL East to four games behind Tampa Bay, which lost 7-2 to
New York Yankees
lead the wild-card by four games.
(13-5) allowed one run and six hits, striking out five and walking four in five innings.
, who was called up from Triple-A Norfolk before the game, gave up nine runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings and dropped to
5-4. The Orioles lost for the 10th time in 11 games. Baltimore pitchers have allowed 55 runs and 42 walks in their last five
games, all losses.
''You hope you get it out of your system,'' Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. ''You've hit rock bottom and you would think
that sooner or later it's going to turn for you. That's the only approach I think you can take.''
Pedroia hit .374 in August, scoring 33 runs in the month and convincing
fans that he should be the AL MVP. Pedroia is doing his best to tune out the ''MVP!'' chants when he is in the batter's box.
''I just come to the park and do the same thing I've done all year,'' he said.
Ortiz hit a two-run double in the third, and Pedroia followed with a sacrifice fly that made it 4-0. With the bases loaded
in the fifth, Ortiz bounced one over the right-field wall for another two runs, chasing Liz, and Pedroia followed with a three-run
Pedroia popped up with the bases loaded in the fifth, but he drove in another run in the seventh with a double to match his
career high for RBIs.
Notes: The Orioles scratched Wednesday's starter
due to arm fatigue.
will replace him. ... Youkilis was replaced at 1B by
. ... RHP RHP
will pitch a rehab assignment in the minors on Saturday and be penciled in for one of Boston's game in a doubleheader on Sept.
13. ... The game was the 454th consecutive sellout at Fenway Park, one short of the major league record set by Cleveland from
1995-2001. ... The Orioles also called up RHPs
from Norfolk before the game. ... 3B
missed his fourth consecutive game with a strained left hamstring. ... The
moved to a season-high 24 games over .500.