BOSTON -- It was less than 24 hours earlier that Carl Crawford had a night of baseball taken away from him due to an upset stomach that led to multiple incidents of clubhouse vomiting.
By Saturday, Crawford made a most dramatic recovery. Not only did he play, but the left fielder delivered a grand slam which fueled the Red Sox to a 12-7 thumping of the Rangers.
"Just glad to be back in the lineup," said Crawford. "I was glad I didn't feel sick like I did yesterday. I just was happy. I was feeling much better. I took some medicine, and later on last night, I was fine."
With the win, the Red Sox stayed a half-game behind the Yankees in the American League East.
Coming off a 10-0 loss in the series opener, Boston got many big hits. But the game-breaker came off the bat of Crawford, who swatted a 1-0 changeup from side-winder Yoshinori Tateyama over the Boston bullpen and into the bleachers in right-center.
It was Crawford's fourth career grand slam and first in a Red Sox uniform.
The inconsistency Crawford has had in his first season after signing a seven-year, $142 million contract to come to Boston has been well advertised. But moments like the one he experienced Saturday is a reminder of how quickly things can turn around.
"A grand slam, it definitely helps your confidence out a little bit," Crawford said. "I'm just hoping that's something that can get you going."
The speedy left fielder is hitting .252 with 11 homers and 52 RBIs. But in Boston, seasons are generally viewed based largely on the events of September and October.
"The games that have passed, I don't really worry about it," Crawford said. "I just try to take the approach of trying to do well the next day and the day after that."
For the Red Sox, there were a lot of things to like in this one. Josh Reddick, in a month-long slump, broke out with a 4-for-4 performance.
"That was good. So many times he's given us such a lift, and that's hard for young players to do that," said manager Terry Francona. "We're in the middle of the pennant race and this kid comes in like when Carl wasn't playing and gave us a lift there. Now he's playing the majority of right field, and he's had some pretty good days. He had a little time there where he kind of came back, they made some adjustments, but he still has that ability to put some sock in his bat."
Erik Bedard, making his sixth start for the Sox, finally got a win to show for his effort. The lefty settled down after a shaky start and went six innings, allowing five hits and three runs while walking four and striking out six.
"It's nice," said Bedard. "At the end of the day, it's for the team. If we win the game at the end of the day and I pitch good and we play good, that's all that counts."
Bedard labored early, throwing 62 pitches over the first three innings. In that time, he put his team in a 3-0 deficit. The Rangers got their first run on a two-out single up the middle by David Murphy in the top of the second.
In the third, Bedard walked the Rangers' 1-2 tandem of Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus. With one out, Michael Young smacked an RBI single to right. Adrian Beltre got another run home on a groundout.
The Sox got one back in the third, as Jed Lowrie ripped an RBI single up the middle. Lowrie would later leave the game with tightness in his left shoulder, an area that has troubled him for much of the season.
After Yorvit Torrealba led off the fourth with a double and moved to third on a groundout, Rangers manager Ron Washington tried to play small ball. Twice he called for a suicide squeeze. Craig Gentry fouled off the first attempt. The Red Sox then called for a pitchout, but that didn't deter Washington. On the third pitch, Gentry went squeeze again, but first baseman Adrian Gonzalez snuffed it out by catching it in the air. Torrealba had no chance to retreat back to third in time and was tagged out by Gonzalez.
It was the second unassisted double play made by Gonzalez in the first four innings.
"We'll take them," Francona said. "They probably got Bedard an extra inning. We're looking at a first and third and one out, and all of the sudden we're coming off the field one pitch later. That's huge."
The game turned emphatically after that, as the Red Sox came roaring back with an eight-spot in the fourth. Jarrod Saltalamacchia got things started by hammering a two-run shot to right to tie it at 3.
"I had Salty struck out on a 2-2 pitch and didn't get the call," said Rangers righty Colby Lewis. "Then I came in with more of a strike and he hit it out."
Dustin Pedroia belted a one-out single to left, and just like that, Washington had seen enough of Lewis.
Tateyama came on and walked Gonzalez. With two outs and a 3-1 count on David Ortiz, Washington ordered for the intentional walk. It was the logical thing to do, given that utilityman Mike Aviles, a right-handed batter, had to pinch-hit for the injured Lowrie.
Tateyama entered the game holding right-handed hitters to a .169 average. Aviles was hitting .213 off right-handed hitters. This time, however, the trend went the other way, as Aviles lined a clutch single to right, scoring Pedroia.
"It was just one of those situations where I knew I had the bases loaded, so I knew at some point in the at-bat he was going to have to throw something for a strike," said Aviles. "I was just trying to be as patient as possible and wait for a good pitch that I knew I could handle and not swing at his pitch."
Crawford then struck with his slam, and a rout was in motion. As Crawford rounded the bases, Fenway Park shook with approval.
"That's a good feeling when the stadium is cheering for you like that and everybody is happy," Crawford said. "It's a nice feeling."
Jacoby Ellsbury capped the damage in the inning with an infield single that scored Reddick.
"We needed seven batters to get one out," Washington said. "When that happens, damage will be done. We just didn't get it done."
The Sox came back with three more in the sixth. Crawford (double), Reddick (single) and Ellsbury (walk) got the table set. Pedroia then cleared it with a three-run double off the wall in center.