InDrewbitably: Sox shortstop busts slump

AP photo Chris O'Meara

Jan-Christian Sorensen
Contributing Writer

The moral at the end of Wednesday night’s story: If the Drew fits, wear it.

The Stephen Drew Haters Club lost a few more members last night when the Red Sox shortstop busted the Beantown club out of a three-game losing skid in a big way, going two-for-three with four RBI and helping starter Jon Lester improve to 6-0 on the year in a 9-2 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field. 

Drew began the third inning with a walk and came around to score the game’s first run on a Dustin Pedroia single. He went back to the plate that same inning with two out and the bases packed and teed off on a Jamey Wright cutter, depositing it into right center field to put the Sox on top 8-0.

It was Drew’s second career grand slam.

Even considering the creative ways the Sox have been giving up leads of late and stranding men on base, it put the game well out of reach.

Drew added a double in the top of the sixth off reliever Cesar Ramos to boost his plate average to .245 and hand back to his detractors a few of the lumps he’s been taking after posting a .154 average in April.

And how: in his last ten games, Drew is hitting .361 with a pair of homers and nine RBI. Dig a little deeper: in 18 games since April 24, Drew has ripped eight extra-base hits and driven in 17 for a .317 average.

He not only helped the Sox scratch a three-game losing stretch and break up the Rays’ six-game win streak on Wednesday, he also helped fling the runners-in-scoring-position monkey off the team’s collective back. Heading into Wednesday the Sox were hitting .189 with RISP and had left 78 men on base in the past 11 games after hitting .302 with RISP in April.

“It’s just a matter of baseball’s a funny game sometimes and things don’t go your way and you’ve got to just keep grinding,” said Drew after the game. “It’s a long season. It’s still May.”

“It’s a good thing that we turned it around tonight and had some great (at bats). Everybody did. The pitching’s doing well. That’s what it takes to win games.”

Drew is no stranger to adversity. He had to battle through a concussion after being hit by a pitch in the helmet on March 7 in spring training and fought his way back to the bigs after suffering a gruesome ankle injury sliding into home while playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011.

It was while he was with Arizona that Drew hit his first grand slam, and it came off now-teammate Ryan Dempster, who was then pitching for the Cubs.

When Drew walked off the field after his big bomb on Wednesday, Dempster was quick to note the narrative.

“Dempster was laughing about that when we came in,” said Drew. “He’s like, ‘I ain’t the only guy now’.”

While Drew has spent the bulk of this season bouncing between the eighth and ninth spot batting for the Sox, he’s demonstrating to his critics that there’s a more fitting term for bottom of the order — the foundation.

And Wednesday night, Drew proved it was rock-solid.

Twitter: jan_doh