Red Sox shortstop adds RBI single, hitting .385 during hot stretch
By Ben Raby
Special to MLB.com |
BALTIMORE -- Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts extended his career-best hitting streak to 26 games in Thursday night's 12-7 loss with a bases-loaded, two-run single in the sixth inning off Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez at Camden Yards.
One night after Bogaerts' only base hit of Boston's 13-9 loss Wednesday came in his fourth at-bat, the 23-year-old connected on a 1-0 fastball in his third at-bat Thursday for his Major League-best 78th hit. Christian Vazquez and Mookie Betts scored on the play to cut the Red Sox's deficit to 4-2. One batter later, David Ortiz connected on a three-run homer off Jimenez to give Boston its first lead.
Bogaerts' hit reached the wall in left-center field, but the 23-year-old was slow out of the batter's box and unable to stretch it into what likely would have been a double. Manager John Farrell said after the game that he addressed the play with his shortstop, noting that with Bogaerts' speed, he was expected to reach second. Bogaerts didn't disagree.
"It was my bad for not running it out pretty hard," he said. "I originally thought it was a sac fly. I knew I hit it a little off the end [of the bat], so I didn't expect it to travel that much. It worked out well, I stayed on first base, they pitched to David, they made a mistake and he hit it out. If I'm on second, maybe they walk him. Who knows?"
Bogaerts owns the Majors' second-longest hitting streak of the season, trailing only teammate Jackie Bradley Jr. who had a 29-game hitting streak snapped last Thursday. Bradley was named the American League's Player of the Month for May on Thursday.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Bradley and Bogaerts are just the second set of teammates in the past 75 years to have each had hitting streaks of at least 26 games in the same season, joining the Blue Jays' Shawn Green (28) and Shannon Stewart (26) in 1999.
"I'm just trying to go out there and put up good at-bats," said Bogaerts, who also drove in a run with a line-drive single to left in the ninth. "The more times I'm on base, the more times we're going to score probably, because we've got David and Hanley [Ramirez] and all those big boys hitting behind me."
Bogaerts leads the AL with a .348 batting average and has hit safely in 38 of his past 40 games. He finished 2-for-5 for with three RBIs and is batting .385/.419/.581 (45-for-117) during the streak.
"I know I have it," he said of the streak. "That's the reality, man. We live in a world where you for sure know when you have something."
Bogaerts's 26-game streak is tied for the second longest in Red Sox history among shortstops. Nomar Garciaparra had a 30-game streak in 1997. Bogaerts will look to extend it to 27 when the Red Sox return to Fenway Park on Friday and face R.A. Dickey and the Blue Jays. Bogaerts went 0-for-2 against Dickey on Sunday in Toronto and is 13-for-36 (.361) lifetime against the knuckleballer.
Ben Raby is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.