Right fielder misses ball, but offense doesn't suffer in Red Sox's win
BOSTON -- Shane Victorino lived up to his "Flyin' Hawaiian" nickname Sunday when, in the third inning, he took off a few feet before the wall down the right-field line and drifted midair toward the stands. As his upper body crossed into the crowd, his left hip violently struck the barrier and the ball tipped off his glove.
The 37,611 fans at Fenway Park let out a collective groan upon seeing the crash, but they were relieved upon seeing Victorino, who has battled nagging injuries throughout the season, emerge unscathed.
"If I get a chance to make an out, sometimes I get carried away," Victorino said. "It was a little dangerous there, but you know, again, I felt like I could make a play. It hit my glove. As they always say, the golden rule is, if it hits your glove, you should catch it. So I was upset with myself for not catching it, but sometimes there's some risk involved."
As he has been for most of the season, Victorino was again productive during the Red Sox's 4-0 win over the D-backs on Sunday, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
But his daring feat in the third inning did alter his approach at the plate.
A switch-hitter, Victorino batted from the right side in all three of his plate appearances following the crash despite facing right-handed pitchers.
Entering Sunday, he had only done that three times in 216 at-bats against righties.
Victorino batted from the left side in his first at-bat against right-handed starter Brandon McCarthy, but he switched over for his at-bat in the bottom of the third inning.
Asked whether his trip into the stands in the third inning had anything to do with him switching sides, Victorino was quick to answer.
"I'm not talking about it," he said.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said part of the reason for the switch is Victorino's swing -- due to a slight adjustment -- has felt smoother from the right side.
"From the right side of the plate, he's moved closer," said Farrell. "He's felt better with it. About a week ago, he felt like he was running out of bat, like the swing was in and out of the strike zone at times. He feels locked in on the right side, that's part of going to the right side today where he doesn't feel as comfortable from the left side. I don't think he's done it since he's probably been 18 or 19 years old, hit right on the right. That's when he started to switch-hit. Part of it is he's a little banged up on the left side and he just feels he's in a stronger position from the right side of the plate."
Victorino has battled injuries for most of the season and has been held out of games due to issues with his back and with his hamstring. He hasn't restrained himself from his customary aggressiveness in the field, and the wall down the right-field line isn't the first one he's met with a thud this season. On Sunday, he was also twice hit by a pitch.
"He's fearless, he slams into the wall trying to run down a fly ball that goes foul," said Farrell. "I think we've come to know over the course of this year he's got an extremely high pain threshold."
Regardless of any pain he's facing, Victorino has been especially hot from the plate as of late. His two hits on Sunday give him 12 over the last six games and six RBIs in his previous 16 at-bats.
"Every day he's doing something to impact the game, and that's our mindset -- just show up that day and try to win a game," said second baseman Dusitn Pedroia. "Shane's been unbelievable. I don't like when he does that when he's almost killing himself, but ... it was a good win for us."
Michael Periatt is an associate reporter for MLB.com.