If Tuesday night's storylines were laced in billboard-sized neon, on Wednesday the most telling moment was delivered with a whisper.
Sure, there was drama surrounding the Red Sox' second straight walk-off win -- an 8-7 decision in 12 innings over the Rangers at Fenway Park.
David Ortiz didn't play. Mike Lowell did, and hit a home run. The staff's ace allowed seven runs. There were three more Texas stolen bases. Darnell "The Microwave" McDonald went deep … again. And Kevin Youkilis ended the three-hour, 49-minute affair by banging a 3-2 pitch from Dustin Nippert off the center field wall for the game-winning RBI.
But when the player who most of the media is waiting to hear from finally emerges and responds to the question about the defining play of the game with, "Which one? I don't remember," then it becomes clear that for a change the Red Sox were soaked in subtlety.
Perhaps Marco Scutaro's daring tag-up from first base with one out on what appeared to be a seemingly routine fly ball to center field off the bat of J.D. Drew was just what the doctor ordered: Less chaos, more baseball.
"That," said Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale, "was the game. What a great play!"
The end result of the play did lend itself to the post===game highlights, with Scutaro scoring from second on Youkilis' two-out blast, setting off an on-field celebration for back-to-back nights. When you haven't had such consecutive nights of dugout-emptying in nearly two years, the scene is going to carry some juice.
Still, was about a player in Scutaro whose value finally wasn't questioned, but highlighted. And it was all because he just did what he thought he was supposed to do -- tag up from first base.
"I always think I can make it," the Sox shortstop said. "But nobody is faster than the ball. I just, like I say, I was just trying to get in scoring position."
And he did, and because of it, the Red Sox won.
For a change, the talk when it came to running the bases didn't center around the Rangers or their stolen bases. Sure, Julio Borbon had two more steals, but he also was outwitted when it came to the ultimate baserunning maneuver. It was a jaunt down the basepaths that did something no stolen base could -- win the game.
"I wasn't in a good position to make the throw. He caught me off-guard," said the Texas center fielder. "That's on me. The throw wasn't all that bad, but if I was able to get behind it, he would have been out or it would have been closer."
"You know the strengths of Borbon's arm, but as soon as he caught it on his back foot he was going to take a chance," said Red Sox third base coach Tim Bogar. "That's Scutaro. He knows how to play the game. He's intelligent. He's going to make good decisions. As soon as he went back I looked over to see if he was tagging and as soon as I saw him catch it flat-footed I was thinking, 'Go, go, go,' and he did, … That's how he plays the game. He's a smart guy."
What it did was lead Texas to intentionally walk Dustin Pedroia, leading to Youkilis' rocket over the head of Borbon.
"That," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona, "was just great baserunning."
Even while carrying his two-year, $12.5 million deal, Scutaro has given off the vibe of the utility player he had been labeled as for most of his professional career. Quiet. Unassuming. Punching in, and punching out.
Scutaro is 14th among major league starting shortstops in batting average (.273), and sixth in on-base percentage (.365).
There has been times he has seemingly got caught in the sometimes soap opera that are Red Sox games, roadblocks that have mostly been attributed to uncharacteristic uneven play in the field.
But perhaps Scutaro's good fortune of a year ago is starting to surface once again. He has had moments of luck, such as when he requested an elbow pad from the trainers because of some tendinitis in his left elbow only to have a fastball find that exact spot (with the protection bracing the impact) one day later.
And even earlier in the game Wednesday night, Scutaro found a routine grounder start creeping up over his glove. But instead of losing control for what would have been fourth error of the season, the shortstop pinned the ball against his body in time to regroup and make the out.
They aren't big deals, but they are deals, nonetheless. And for one game anyway that small deal meant the world to the Red Sox' big picture.
"Like I say, it's one of those plays where if you make it, everyone's happy," Scutaro said. "If you don't make it, a lot of people are going to be mad."
Here are four more things we learned on Walk-Off Wednesday:
-- Daniel Bard vs. Neftali Feliz
-- The bullpen finds some respect
-- Mike Lowell is re-introduced to his home run trot
-- Things start leveling off for J.D. Drew
BARD HAD REALLY GOOD LINE(S)
The lines were identical, and so were the impressions.
Daniel Bard: Two innings pitched, no hits, no walks, three strikeouts.
Neftali Feliz: Two IP, not one hit, not a single walk, and three punch-outs.
Feliz, the Texas reliever who came on for the 10th and 11th innings, did have one advantage: He hit 102 mph on the radar gun.
But Bard, who topped out at 99 mph, won the battle of witticisms.
"If radar gun readings won the game, I'd definitely be pitching in that league for sure," the Sox pitcher said. "But they don't, and we were the ones who came out on top."
All the same, it was hard to ignore the dominance of Feliz, the 21-year-old who has allowed just two hits in his 6-2/3 innings this season.
"He's impressive," Bard noted. "I was out there for his first inning. I knew he throws hard, but the first pitch he threw it didn't pop the mitt or anything and to the naked eye it looked like it was 91-92 and then I look up and it says 99. He's definitely something special."
ABOUT THAT BULLPEN
Some might not have noticed, but Gary Tuck has made sure that those sitting out in the Red Sox bullpen have.
The Boston bullpen coach usually makes a point in bringing stat sheets out to his group of relievers, pointing out all the good that might get swept under the rug among an evening of home runs and chaos.
Thursday the motivation will reside in this factoid: Red Sox relievers now have tossed 16-2/3 scoreless innings over their last three games. On Wednesday the accomplishment came in the form of two scoreless from Bard, two innings of no runs out of Jonathan Papelbon, and one inning from Hideki Okajima, in which he struck out two and didn't allow a hit or walk.
"We've been throwing the ball the whole season, and while the results were rough at the beginning, everybody was making good pitches. We take pride in keeping the team in the ballgame," Bard said. "Gary takes pride in the things we do and points out things like scoreless streaks, not for any individual but for the group. That's what we've done there, so we might as well focus on it."
YES, HOME RUNS ARE NICE ...
Mike Lowell had gone through a lot on the way to hitting his second-inning home run off Texas starter Matt Harrison. The injuries, almost-trades, and cut in playing time ate of a span of time in the offseason, spring training and 14 regular-season games that didn't include an opportunity to trot around the bases.
Wednesday night the payoff came. Lowell manned designated hitter, notched a pair of hits (including one that went over the left field wall), and finds himself back in the lineup Thursday. So, did it feel good?
"Absolutely," Lowell said. "But I don't think you ever have a home run that doesn't feel good."
Fair enough. But for Lowell and J.D. Drew, their Wednesday night homers might have offered a bit more satisfaction than most.
Fighting off the rust that had allowed for just 14 plate appearances entering the game, Lowell got the Red Sox on the board with his first long ball of the season. After all the wondering and intrigue, he finds himself with a .375 batting average and 1.036 OPS in five games.
"I didn't know what to compare it to because there's a big difference from the beginning of the season like when you're in the middle of the season because then you have that flow. So I was curious to see how it would turn out," Lowell said of executing his part-time role. "Guys have done it, so it's possible, but I really didn't know what to base it on. But I'm happy with the way I'm seeing the ball. I'm looking to get my pitch and drive it. Whatever happens, happens."
… JUST ASK J.D. DREW
Actually, that wasn't an option as the Red Sox outfielder executed his usual early postgame exit from the clubhouse once again Wednesday night. (Just for reference sake, on contests that are played at Fenway Park Drew usually is long gone before reporters are granted access to the clubhouse following the game.)
But it can be surmised that Drew's third-inning homer -- which, it just so happened, came in the form of a grand slam that gave the Red Sox the lead -- was fairly therapeutic.
He still is hitting just .140, but Drew's fifth career grand slam offered a glimpse as to why panic hasn't followed the outfielder like some others. He might have the third-worst batting average of any regular outfielder (besting only Florida's Chris Coghlan and Melky Cabrera of Atlanta), but history suggests days like Wednesday will even things out.