Fresh off a pep talk from GM Ben Cherington, Mookie Betts recorded two hits against the Angels on Saturday.</span></p>
<div class=



When C.J. Wilson is paying Mike Napoli a compliment, you know he means it.

Mike Napoli tosses his bat aside after crushing his second homer of two homers Saturday night against C.J. Wilson. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Mike Napoli tosses his bat aside after crushing his second homer of two homers Saturday night against C.J. Wilson. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

When C.J. Wilson is paying Mike Napoli a compliment, you know he means it.

The two rivals from their bitter tweet dustup of 2012 met again Saturday night and safe to say, Napoli got the last laugh. He homered twice off the pitcher who took offense to Napoli proclaiming that he can’t wait to make the Angels pay.

Napoli homered in the second inning, a laser beam that literally hit a target sign hanging on the facade of the second row of Monster seats down the left field line. His second homer off Wilson came on a hanging curve that Napoli put over Monster seats entirely, snapping a 2-2 tie and putting the Red Sox ahead for good in an 8-3 win Saturday night at Fenway.

“He was teammate of mine,” Napoli said. “Yeah, it’s nice to have a good night. I’m glad I just had a good night and feel better at the plate. He has good stuff. He’s handed it to me before this night. It was nice to get him tonight.”

Revenge? “Nah. That was a long time ago,” Napoli said in taking the high road.

Napoli has three homers in the first two games against the Angels and four homers in five games on the homestand. His seven homers lead the club since April 25.

“He was really locked in tonight,” Wilson said. “Obviously, this is the guy tonight, or last two nights, was more like the guy I saw hit .300-plus or .325 in Texas, not the guy on the scoreboard hitting a buck-80 or whatever it is. He’s obviously a very talented hitter and everybody goes through slumps. He’s obviously found his stroke so buyer beware for the rest of the league for the rest of the season if he stays there.”

As for his relationship with Napoli, whom he played with in 2011, Wilson initially scoffed at the question before offering perspective.

“What does that have to do with anything,” Wilson added. “We only played together for one year so it’s not like we know each other that well. We played together for one season in Texas. He caught me. We had really great results with him catching me. But other than that, him and [Jered] Weaver are buddies but there’s guys that I’m friends with on other teams that I’ve never played with because we got to hang out at a video shoot or commercial or something like that. I’d say Nap and I have different interests on and off the field.”

Any exchange of words on the field?

“We have it in for each other,” Wilson quipped sarcastically. “We’ve been playing on opposite teams for 10 years. Just like [other players]. Who have I been against for 10 years? Everybody good. Everybody that’s still in the league from 2005, we’ve all been trying to get each other out or get hits off each other or whatever. That’s just the way it goes.”

Before Saturday, Napoli was just 6-for-31 (.194) lifetime against Wilson with one of the six hits being a home run in 2011. He doubled that total Saturday night.

“My numbers against Nap I’d say are good overall,” Wilson said. “So, it’s an anomaly to give up two home runs. He’s got one homer off me before tonight. It was because I threw him like six backdoor cutters in a row in Anaheim in 2011. So that’s the last time he hit a homer off me. Obviously, we don’t play in the same division any more.

“You try to challenge guys and go at them with your best stuff. Sometimes, you throw a borderline pitch and he either doesn’t chase it like in the first inning.”

Napoli was his normal reserved self after his 14th career multi-homer game.

“I need to have a swing to where I can do damage,” Napoli said. “I think I was a little tentative to where I was just trying to put the ball in play and make something happen. I don’t like to strike out but I think I have to be able to go up there and be able to swing and be able to do damage. I’ve kind of taken that approach, do that and it’s been working.

“I feel pretty good. This is a time where I have to maintain what I’m doing right now in the cage and in my BPs. I know where my hands have to get. It’s a good feeling to go in there [batter’s box] and be able to compete and not try to think what’s going wrong with my swing or anything. I’m going to try to keep that muscle memory and be able to go into the game and compete.”

As for crushing two different pitches (fastball and curve), Napoli said that’s a sign that his timing is getting closer to where it needs to be.

“It means my foot is getting down in time to where I can recognize and fire in the zone,” he added. “That’s where you work to, to be able hit a strike in the zone, no matter what it is. It’s definitely a good feeling. I’m going to try to keep that going with my pregame work and go out there and play hard.”

“Probably the first day we played Texas [Tuesday]. Just being able to get my hands back to where I want them and feel comfortable. I still wasn’t there. I was still working on it. It was something new but each day that goes by I feel better and better.

“The way I was hitting, it wasn’t helping us. We’ve got a lot of good hitters in this lineup. We’re definitely better than what we’ve been doing out there. We’ve just got to keep going, keep grinding and everyone in this clubhouse is going to do that. We know that we can be a great offense but we’ve got to be able to go out there and do it. I’m going to get pitched, if I’m in first or ninth, the same way. It doesn’t matter. Whatever, I come in here and check the lineup and wherever I’m at, I’m happy I’m in the lineup. I’m going to have the same approach, no matter what.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Steven Wright earned his first major league win as a starter Saturday night.  (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Steven Wright earned his first major league win as a starter Saturday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Following the Red Sox‘ 8-3 win over the Angels Saturday night, you would never know it was Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright’s first major league win as a starter.

Standing in front of over a dozen reporters, the right-hander was calm, cool and collected, barely even cracking a smile, calling it just another day at the office.

“For me, it’s just another day,” Wright said. “If you try and put too much pressure on yourself you’re just going to disappoint and you’re going to try and over do things, over work. For me, I am going to try and go in there and throw quality knuckleballs in the strike zone. They are going to put it in play, it’s a contact pitch. Today we were fortunate to get balls right at some guys, guys made some good plays. I went as deep as I could.”

The 30-year-old has made one big league start each of the last three seasons before finally picking up his first win Saturday. He did earn three wins in 2013 as a reliever and another earlier this year in the 19-inning game against the Yankees.

Wright went 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, only needed 75 pitches, as he threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of the 24 batters he faced, including the first 11 straight to open the game.

Manager John Farrell noted Wright’s stoicness, but also how he used being calm to his benefit.

“The one thing about Steven is sometimes you wonder if he’s got a pulse,” Farrell said. “He’s very even-keeled. There was no buildup into tonight after the start out in Seattle. Whether he’s pitched out of the bullpen, whether he’s started, he’s been the same guy.

“The strike-throwing was excellent, Number of first-pitch strikes. I think about 75-percent first-pitch strikes. He was very calm and it’s such a unique pitch coming off a conventional night last night when you have a number of guys with some power arms, it fit in well.”

Things didn’t get off to the best of starts for Wright as he allowed two first inning runs on back-to-back doubles by Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun, but the knuckleballer settled down, and settled down in a big way, retiring 17 of 18 hitters from the second inning until he walked Matt Joyce with one out in the seventh. In all, he retired 18 of the final 20 batters he faced.

“It’s one of those things where talking with [catcher Blake Swihart] — I’ve worked with him quite a bit,” Wright said. “He was saying it was staying up a bit, so that kind of tells me that I am rushing a little bit. It could have been a little bit of adrenaline, but after that I was just concentrating it on getting it down and finding my release point.”

Wright has made two starts in the place of Justin Masterson since he was placed on the disabled list, and he’s made the most of them as he was solid last Sunday against the Mariners, allowing two earned runs in five innings, taking a tough loss. He’s done very well in his last five outings (three starts) in the majors overall, posting a 3.00 ERA over 27 innings.

His performance would seem to put him in line to make at least another start, but like earning his first win as a starter, the relaxed pitcher isn’t worried or thinking about it.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” Wright said. “The only thing I can control is put myself in a good position to make a quality pitch and everything else is out of my control.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox first baseman, who hit two homers at Fenway tonight in the win against the Angels.
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox first baseman, who hit two homers at Fenway tonight in the win against the Angels.

[0:00:23] ... us the other night that you felt like you're getting your your launch position in line again you weren't Lyon man snuck four home runs on this homestead and you look like you're locked back in again. Yeah I feel good. You know I'm just gonna try to maintain this try to maintain its going in and occasion in my peak season. No go to go out there compete for myself in good position don't fire why you work deep counts you homered data ...
[0:01:19] ... the way the red sex hit situations six for twelve men in scoring position that. The hit and run work was trying hard then post scoring the first not a single little things really have the ...




Losing two straight and four of five, the Red Sox offense, which came in averaging 2.45 runs per game in May, and team in general needed a spark — someone to insert some life into the group.

Mike Napoli to the rescue.

Mike Napoli went deep twice in the Red Sox' win over the Angels. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Mike Napoli went deep twice in the Red Sox‘ win over the Angels. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Losing two straight and four of five, the Red Sox offense, which came in averaging 2.45 runs per game in May, and team in general needed a spark — someone to insert some life into the group.

Mike Napoli to the rescue.

The first baseman hit two monster home runs, as the Red Sox beat the Angels 8-3 Saturday night at Fenway Park.

His second home run came in the sixth inning with two outs and Hanley Ramirez on first base as he took a C.J. Wilson offering and crushed it over everything in left, snapping a 2-2 tie at the time.

Napoli owns the Angels as he entered the game with the best all-time slugging percentage (.679) and OPS (1.120) against them. He has reached base in 14 straight games against them.

The Red Sox added to their lead in the seventh inning when Xander Bogaerts delivered a two-out, two-run single to right with the bases loaded. They struck for two more in the eighth when Blake Swihart and Brock Holt perfectly executed a hit-and-run where Holt scored from first on a ball that died in the outfield grass, and then Mookie Betts added a two-out RBI single.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright was terrific for the Red Sox, as after allowing two first inning runs he retired 18 of the next 19 hitters before walking Matt Joyce with one out in the seventh inning and manager John Farrell took him out of the game. Alexi Ogando retired the next two batters to get out of the inning with no damage.

Wright finished the night going 6 1/3 innings, allowing the two first inning runs on four hits, while walking one and striking out two to pick up his second win of the season. It was his first career win as a major league starter.

After trailing 2-0, the Red Sox scored once in the third and once in the fourth. They got on the board in the third inning on a rocket of a homer by Napoli into the Monster seats. They then scored the following inning on an RBI single to left from Betts, who was pinch-hitting for Shane Victorino (more on that later).

Things didn’t start so well for Wright and the Red Sox as the Angels scored twice in the first inning on back-to-back doubles by Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun. The Red Sox have now been outscored 32-14 in the first inning this year.

Victorino, after missing the last two games, returned to the lineup, but left prior to his at-bat in the bottom of third inning with left calf tightness. That was part of what has kept him out the last two days.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Napoli. He put the team on his back with the two homers. He now has four home runs in his last five games and was his 14th career multi-homer game. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— As a team the Red Sox scored seven runs, which was the most they’ve scored in a game since April 28 and spanned 21 games.

— Wright gave the Red Sox exactly what they needed from their starter following Friday’s poor outing from Rick Porcello. He only needed 75 pitches in his 6 1/3 innings, a very impressive feat.

— Taking the place of Victorino, Betts went 2-for-4, extending his hit streak to five games. He is hitting .348 in that span. He also made a tremendous leaping catch against the wall in center in the ninth.

— Rusney Castillo went 1-for-4 in his second big league game of the season. He looked much better in the outfield than he did Friday when he dropped a routine fly in rightfield. He started the game in center, but switched to right when Victorino was forced from the game.

— Koji Uehara threw a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation, although he did walk two batters. It was his first appearance since Tuesday.

WHAT WENT WRONG

David Ortiz went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and grounded into a double play. He also popped out to shallow left with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. His average is now down to .115 against lefties this season.

— Junichi Tazawa allowed a run in the eighth inning, his only inning of work. The right-hander has appeared in 22 of the first 43 games of the season and it was the first run he’s allowed in his last 10 appearances.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Shane Victorino just can’t seem to stay 100 percent healthy.

Shane Victorino just can’t seem to stay 100 percent healthy.

After going back awkwardly on a fly ball in the top of the third inning of Saturday’s game against the Angels, the rightfielder was removed from the game prior to his at-bat the next half inning. The team announced it as left calf tightness.

He had missed the previous two games with “general soreness” centered around the left calf.

Since the start of the 2014 season, Victorino has played in just 50 games.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable