Farrell plays matchup, pinch-hits for Victorino

While lefty-hitting Nava flies out in sixth, his sacrifice bunt helps set up winning run

Farrell plays matchup, pinch-hits for Victorino

BOSTON -- Though pinch-hitting for Shane Victorino doesn't figure to become commonplace, Red Sox manager John Farrell did just that in Friday's 3-2 win over the Orioles.

Farrell simply felt that the left-handed-hitting Daniel Nava gave him a better matchup against tough Orioles side-winder Darren O'Day than the right-handed Victorino, so he made the move in the sixth inning.

Still, it isn't always easy just playing matchups when you're talking about a player who has accomplished as much as Victorino in his career.

At this point of the season, Victorino (.125) is still trying to regain his timing after missing much of 2014 with injuries.

"That's a difficult decision," said Farrell. "I fully respect Vic, what he's gone through, what he's done for us. But many times I have to make decisions that are about us as a team. Vic is going to be an important guy for us. I don't doubt that one moment. But the way we were battling to score some runs tonight, we felt like that might be the only opportunity we have with a man in scoring position."

Nava squared the ball up well in that at-bat, but flied out to right. In the ninth, he helped set up the winning rally by dropping down a sacrifice bunt that put Mike Napoli in scoring position. Xander Bogaerts got Napoli home with a walk-off bloop to right.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.