Chavis, Bogaerts, Dalbec halt Red Sox’s skid

Chavis, Bogaerts, Dalbec halt Red Sox's skid thumbnail

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BOSTON — A three-game offensive slump — which turns into a three-game losing streak — can send Red Sox Nation into a state of panic.

But slumps are going to happen for any team, and the good ones make sure they don’t last very long.

By all indications so far, these 23-16 Red Sox are a good team, and they broke out their big bats and proved it in Thursday’s 8-1 victory over the Athletics at Fenway Park that contained, quite fittingly, three signature hits.

Signature hit No. 1: In the bottom of the first, Michael Chavis belted a sinking liner to center. Ramón Laureano, a superb defender, came racing into to try to make a diving catch and nearly did. But the ball glanced off his glove. Chavis took advantage of the fact that the strong-armed outfielder was on the ground and he motored into second headfirst. It is the type of play that can spark a team, and it did. Chavis, who was recently recalled from Triple-A Worcester, is noticeably leaner this season. It’s doubtful he would have even attempted the double on that hit in previous years.

Signature hit No. 2: Still in that first inning, Xander Bogaerts stepped to the plate. And the steady shortstop was at the forefront of the team’s recent slump, going 1-for-12 in his previous four games. Rather than being tentative, Bogaerts was aggressive, attacking the first pitch he saw from A’s lefty Sean Manaea and hooking it just fair down the left-field line, where it glanced off the foul pole for a homer. Bogaerts didn’t do any demonstrative, Carlton Fisk-type of body language as the ball soared in the air, but he did stand sideways and watch it, hoping it would stay fair, and the Sox had an early 3-0 lead.

Signature hit No. 3: Bobby Dalbec, who was out of the lineup the previous two nights so the Red Sox could get a more extended look at Chavis, was back in there on Thursday. And in his first at-bat, he hammered an 0-1, 89.7 mph sinker to center field at an exit velocity of 110 mph and a projected distance of 432 feet for a two-run homer. The only thing stopping that baseball was the back wall to the left of the flag pole. It was the third homer of the season for the rookie, who is trying to gain more consistent footing. His blast fueled the Red Sox to their second straight three-run inning and starting pitcher Garrett Richards, who was solid all night (six scoreless innings), had a 6-0 lead.

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