10/07/2004 4:32 AM ET
Varitek helps give Sox a leg up
Boston catcher prefers to let his defense do the talking
By Paul C. Smith / MLB.com
|Jason Varitek rounds the bases after drilling a two-run homer in the sixth. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Varitek's two-run homer
Varitek's two-run home run: 56K | 350K
ANAHEIM -- Jason Varitek doesn't really like to talk about his hitting. His thoughts are usually elsewhere.
"My job is 110 percent behind the plate," Varitek said after the Red Sox beat the Angels, 8-3, in Game 2 of the ALDS on Wednesday night. "Everything else is a bonus."
Well, he's just going to have to adjust his thinking. Varitek's two-run home run off Bartolo Colon in the sixth inning tied the game at 3-3 and pretty much finished off the Angels' ace for the evening.
"I wanted to get my legs under me," Varitek said. "I wanted to get a ball to drive to center and I got a ball to pull. I just happened to get a pitch to hit."
Varitek hit the first pitch he saw in that at-bat, but it was Colon's 110th pitch of the night. Varitek's teammates had seen to it that the big right-hander would not be around anywhere near the end of the game.
"We put together a lot of good at-bats without a lot of hits," Varitek said.
After Varitek's home run took the momentum away from the Angels, the Red Sox took the lead, 4-3, the very next inning. Then the really piled it on in the ninth.
The veteran catcher may not like to talk about his prowess at the plate but it is becoming a trend. His dinger on Wednesday night was his seventh postseason home run in 86 at-bats. He also has three home runs in his last eight post-season games.
Varitek hit two big solo homers against the A's in last year's ALDS when the Red Sox came back from being down, 2-0. And he hit two more homers, and hit .300, in the ALCS against the Yankees in 2003.
But Varitek really doesn't enjoy talking about his hitting. He felt he needed to spend most of the postgame discussion defending his starting pitcher, Pedro Martinez.
"A lot of people doubted that man," Varitek said. "I don't doubt the man. Pedro is pitching for his teammates. He wanted the ball. He wanted to do this for his teammates and he did it. You just sensed that Petey never gives in."
Once he felt he had stated his case on Martinez, Varitek allowed himself to look ahead a little. But only one game ahead.
"We know what it's like to be down [2-0]," Varitek said. "So, when you are ahead, you just have to stay focused and play solid baseball. Worry about the game at hand and nothing else."
The good news is, Varitek said, the next two games will be played in very friendly surroundings. And that always helps, especially in the playoffs.
"We're happy to be going back to Fenway Park," Varitek said. "No matter what happens, whether we're ahead or behind, the fans are behind us all the way."
Paul C. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.