Sure, there’s the bad news: Boston went 3-4 on the first two stops of the three-city road trip that ends in Toronto on Thursday.
But there’s also the good news: shortstop Stephen Drew has been holding a hot hand for Boston recently, and despite the Sox dropping a 4-3 decision to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, Drew extended his hit streak to 12 games with a single in the second inning.
Overall, Drew went 2 for 4 on the day, adding a double in the sixth. It ties Drew’s career-best stretch at the plate — he also put together a 12-game run while with Arizona back in 2010.
Meanwhile, in Toronto, Oakland’s Eric Sogard went 0 for 5 in his team’s win over the Jays, meaning Drew now holds the longest active hit streak in the majors. It’s the longest streak by a Sox shortstop since 2009, when Alex Gonzalez also went a dozen.
While he’s had an up-and-down year so far, battling concussion and hamstring issues as well as position competition from Jose Iglesias, Drew has been an anchor rather than an albatross at the bottom of the order for Boston since Iglesias was sent to Detroit for Jake Peavy in a three-team swap at the deadline. After Iglesias' exit, Drew hasn’t gone one game without at least one hit, posting a .422 average with three doubles, two homers and nine RBI.
Since returning from a 17-game stint on the disabled list with a hamstring injury July 20, Drew has hit .324 with four doubles, four homers and 15 RBI.
He saved Boston’s bacon on Aug. 7, hitting a clutch three-run homer in the top of the ninth off Josh Fields to give the Red Sox a late 7-5 edge over Houston. It held up to give the Sox their 18th win in 2013 in their final at-bat.
The next night, Drew went two for four and drive in Boston’s lone run in a 5-1 loss to the Royals.
“To have that kind of bat at shortstop in the bottom third of the order, not only does it lengthen things out, but he’s swinging with a lot of confidence right now against both lefties and righties,” said manager John Farrell, who has moved Drew up from eighth to fifth in the batting order in the midst of his hot streak.
Drew said that his struggles with concussion symptoms at the start of the year played a part in his late start — in April, Drew batted .154 in 16 games but raised his average to .244 in 26 games in May.
“Early on with that concussion and stuff, the first month, 80 at-bats or whatever, it was kind of my spring training,” said Drew, who signed a one-year, $7.75-million contract with the Sox in the offseason. “It was unfortunate. I’m feeling good right now. Hopefully I can keep it going, and everybody else around me is putting good at-bats together and getting on, and that’s what this team has done all year.”
Twitter: @jan_doh Jan-Christian Sorensen 8/12/2013 06:00:00 PM Tweet