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Two In A Row: Production From Unexpected Places Sparks Red Sox' First Winning Streak

Carl Crawford was bad, Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia were 0-for-7, Jon Lester was shaky, and the Red Sox started their first winning streak of the season with a dominant 8-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, providing Red Sox fans the kind of game they have been expecting from this team.

When the Sox were losing game after game after game, it just seemed as though everything was going wrong for them. Balls were finding the other team's gloves, while small contact produced big results against them. Of course, there were the homers--themselves something of an aberration--and other examples of just plain poor play, but it was certainly something of an example of the universe just piling on.

It's perhaps an encouraging sign, then, that the Sox had so many of those things go their way, for once. For instance, Jed Lowrie reached base in three different ways today:

  1. A weak fly ball that seemed to everyone to be going foul was pushed back in play by the wind, dropping just inside the foul line in front of Toronto left fielder Travis Snider
  2. A swinging bunt trickled past the pitcher before third baseman Jayson Nix failed to make a play on it, coming up with an empty glove.
  3. A weak ground ball towards the first base bag is called fair after Travis Snider boots it into foul territory. This with the bases loaded.
Also of note was Jarrod Saltalamacchia's first significant hit in what seems like forever: a weak ground ball that just made its way through the hole between first and second, driving in a run.

But then there were the things that weren't quite so luck-based. Jacoby Ellsbury turning on a 2-0 middle-middle fastball immediately after Saltalamacchia's weak RBI for a three-run shot well past Pesky's Pole comes to mind.

Of course, some things still reminded us of the Red Sox that we were treated to for much of the first two weeks of the season. Like when the Jays scored their first run on a throw-down to second by Jarrod Saltlamacchia, allowing Aaron Hill to jog home from third with ease. Or when J.D. Drew was thrown out trying to score by a mile in the sixth. Jon Lester wasn't even all that impressive, walking three men and often looking out-of-control at the plate. But when it's April, all that matters is that he kept the runs off the board, which he did.

This team still has its issues, but not nearly as many as the team last year--one that started the season 4-9, eventually pulling to within a half-game of first before being crippled by injuries. The Sox are entering something of a danger zone now with Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey coming up leading into a West Coast trip. But if they can survive the next week with a decent record, they'll be in good shape to start climbing back into things.