BOSTON -- Marco Scutaro found out less than a half-hour before Tuesday night's first pitch that he was being inserted into the starting lineup after Kevin Youkilis couldn't shake an illness.
Jed Lowrie moved from short to third, opening up shortstop for Scutaro. And the veteran responded with a two-hit game which included his first home run of the season. The Red Sox went on to a 7-3 win over the Angels.
"It definitely feels good, especially the way I've been swinging the bat," said Scutaro, who is hitting .197.
After opening the season as Boston's starting shortstop, Scutaro was simply outplayed by Lowrie, and the veteran has tried to keep his swing sharp in a reserve role.
"You don't even enjoy the BP throwers when you're struggling," said Scutaro. "Hitting's so hard, man. It's just weird. It's a weird thing. It's a difficult thing, too."
As for Youkilis, he caught a bug that has been moving around the team the last few days.
"He was really sick," said manager Terry Francona. "We've got it going around. David [Ortiz] had it last night. We came real close last night to taking David out. I'm glad he was OK. Youk was lightheaded before the game and struggling. He wanted to try it and then it wasn't going to happen."
Ortiz sound with his approach at plate
BOSTON -- Despite going 88 at-bats without a home run before clearing the Green Monster on Monday night, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz feels comfortable with the approach he's had at the plate.
"I don't know. I haven't put the right swing on the ball," Ortiz said when asked about the lag between homers. "I've hit some balls that should've been homers, but they weren't going nowhere. I've just got to keep doing whatever I can until they start showing up. When they show up, they show up in bunches."
With a solo homer in the eighth inning of Boston's 7-3 win Tuesday, Ortiz is hitting .286 with four homers and 16 RBIs, a far better start than he's had the last two seasons.
"I don't think he's leaving the strike zone," manager Terry Francona said. "He's hitting the ball to left field. Those are the ingredients that will allow him to have success."
Adrian savors first Fenway Park home run
BOSTON -- Adrian Gonzalez had gone 96 at-bats without putting a baseball over the wall before snapping that drought with a solo blast to right in the bottom of the eighth inning of the Red Sox's 7-3 win over the Angels on Tuesday night.
For Gonzalez, it was his first career homer at Fenway Park, and second as a member of the Red Sox.
"Any concern? I mean, I knew I'd hit one more before the season ended, if that's what you're asking," said Gonzalez.
In truth, Gonzalez will hit a lot more before the season ends. And it's unlikely he'll endure another drought of nearly 100 at-bats.
He definitely felt some satisfaction from Tuesday's homer.
"Yeah, definitely. We won," Gonzalez said. "I wasn't able to savor the first one, because we lost in Cleveland. Today I was able to enjoy it."
Gonzalez is in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak, during which he's hit .405 with 11 RBIs.
Left knee OK, Ellsbury remains in lineup
BOSTON -- There didn't seem to be any lingering effects for Jacoby Ellsbury the day after he bruised his left knee while sliding into Angels catcher Jeff Mathis. In fact, the center fielder, who missed the final two innings on Monday, was feeling well enough to be right back in the leadoff spot for Tuesday night's game.
"He's doing good," said manager Terry Francona. "We checked with him this morning and then he called us back and said he was feeling pretty good. [He] came in and got a little treatment and said he was ready to go. That was good news."
Good news, particularly when you consider the way Ellsbury has swung the bat of late.
In the midst of an 12-game hitting streak -- the last 11 of which have come from the leadoff spot -- Ellsbury is hitting .373 (19-for-51) with eight doubles, five RBIs and 12 runs scored.
"Well, you're seeing success," Francona said. "I don't know about the approach. I just think you're seeing him hit balls maybe he didn't hit early in the season. I think he's always tried to use the entire field and things like that. But when you do that, he's getting to pitches he didn't get to early in the season. Because of that, he's not afraid to hit deeper in the count, so he's probably a better hitter."
Slumping Pedroia due to break out
BOSTON -- After producing a two-run single in a 13-pitch at-bat against Angels ace Jered Weaver on Monday, perhaps Dustin Pedroia is ready to get back in a groove.
The second baseman doesn't slump often throughout the course of a season, but he entered Tuesday's game with a .150 average (6-for-40) over his last 10 games.
Coming off left foot surgery, Pedroia has started the first 28 games of the season. Manager Terry Francona is confident that workload is not an issue at this point.
"I was thinking about [giving him a break] the other day, and he said he was going to kill me," Francona said. "There was an adjective in front of it. He's a really good player. Sometimes we talk about [Jason Varitek] not getting hits but still winning the game. This guy impacts the game all over the field. I will certainly try to get him a day before he really desperately needs it, but right now, I don't think that's the case."
Francona stays confident in Jenks, Wheeler
BOSTON -- When the Red Sox put together their bullpen for the 2011 season, two of the best performers were expected to be Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler. Thus far, that has been far from the case, as Jenks has posted a 9.35 ERA in 11 games and Wheeler is at 9.90 through 10 appearances.
Knowing how important both righties are to the ultimate success of the team, manager Terry Francona is determined to get them back on track.
Jenks, according to Francona, will continue to pitch in key situations.
"We need him to pitch those situations," Francona said. "For us to be the type of team we want to be, he needs to pitch in those situations. We've run into some problems earlier this season where we couldn't do that just because we lost a lot of games. For us to get where we want, we need him to get on a roll."
Of late, Wheeler has mostly pitched when the Red Sox are either winning by a lot or trailing.
"He actually has been better lately," Francona said. "I mean, I know he gave up the home run last night. It's a little bit like [Scott Atchison]. The cutter guy, it's a great pitch until you leave it over the middle. Then it gets whacked. That's kind of what Wheels is. He's not overpowering. It's crisp. He's got that nice cutter, but when you leave it over the middle, that's the pitch that can get hit."
"He'll eat up innings. When guys start out slow, that's why we don't want to run from them. I think you can make some bad mistakes. Certainly maybe you want to pick your spots with them a little bit until maybe they get on a run. The idea is to get them feeling comfortable as opposed to not pitching [them]."