BOSTON -- In a season full of offensive outbursts that have left opponents shaking their heads, the Red Sox have left no doubt that they have the best offense in baseball. While Mookie Betts, David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez have grabbed most of the headlines, Dustin Pedroia has quietly gone about his business.
Like so many other times this season, Pedroia was the spark plug in a 5-3 win over the Blue Jays on Friday night, going 3-for-5 and picking up his first 200-hit season since 2008, when he won the American League Most Valuable Player Award. With the win, the Red Sox maintained a half-game lead over the Indians, who beat the Royals, for home-field advantage in their AL Division Series matchup. The Rangers clinched home field throughout the postseason with a win over the Rays.
"He's having a heck of a year in his own right. There's been so many individual performances, and Pedey's right in the midst of it," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Right from the first day of Spring Training, you could tell he was in a good place physically and that's carried through to today."
In true Pedroia fashion, his response about reaching the milestone was understated.
"It is tough to do. It's a lot of hits. I'm pretty proud of it," said Pedroia.
Recording 213 hits in '08, he's just the fifth Red Sox hitter to reach the feat in multiple seasons. He joins Wade Boggs, Jim Rice, Johnny Pesky and Mo Vaughn.
Much of Pedroia's success this season has come from hitting the ball to all fields. Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis said the Red Sox's second baseman came into Spring Training with that mindset.
In Friday's game, Pedroia had a single to left field in the third inning, a double to left-center in the fifth and an infield hit in the seventh.
"He said two things coming into Spring Training -- 'I'm going to be a run scoring machine,' and he's done that," Davis said. "Then he said, 'I'm going to use the whole field.' He's done that. He's done it since Spring Training. You talk about being a good hitter, that's a Major League hitter."
Along with Betts, who has 212 hits this season, they are the second duo in Red Sox history to have 200 or more hits and score 100 or more runs in a season.
"If you get 200 hits, you are hitting the ball everywhere. I'm just trying to hit the ball where it is pitched," Pedroia said. "I'm just trying to use my hand-eye coordination."
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.