High-powered offense clicking on all cylinders

High-powered offense clicking on all cylinders

High-powered offense clicking on all cylinders
TORONTO -- The Red Sox arrived in Toronto around 6:30 a.m. ET on Friday, groggy and restless from a three-game series in New York that featured a final game Thursday that didn't end until five hours earlier.

Roughly 60 hours later, the Red Sox boarded a plane for Florida with three wins after outscoring the Blue Jays 35-6 and outhitting them 46-12. Not bad for a quick trip across the border.

"That's a good weekend. You can't count on that very often," manager Terry Francona said of his team's dominance of the Blue Jays. "We've gotten contributions from pretty much one through nine [in the batting order.] It's a good way to play."

The three wins also gave Boston a nine-game winning streak, which is the longest in the Majors this season. It shouldn't be a surprise, considering the excessive amount of talent the Red Sox field every night. But even some veterans have been taken aback by the extended run of success.

"I've been fortunate enough to be part of some streaks here and some good times as far as swinging the bat and pitching well, but I don't think I've ever seen a stretch like these last nine games," said Jon Lester, who allowed just one run on two hits en route to his American League-leading ninth win.

It's been an all around effort for the surging Red Sox, who own the best record in the AL at 39-26. Seemingly every player in the lineup is on a hot streak.

Adrian Gonzalez has at least one RBI in nine consecutive games, which is the longest streak by a Red Sox player since Manny Ramirez went 10 games in 2002.

Jacoby Ellsbury has six straight multihit games and a 10-game hit streak with a .429 batting average over that stretch. Dustin Pedroia has a seven-game hit streak of his own with a .444 average and 10 RBIs over that span.

David Ortiz has been turning back the clock with 30 extra-base hits, 115 total bases and 15 homers since the start of May -- all Major League highs.

The list goes on and on as the Red Sox have emerged as one of the most potent offensive units in the big leagues.

"Over the years, there's been a lot of great teams in here and we've gone on a lot of runs," third baseman Kevin Youkilis said. "Throughout the year, you're going to have times like this where you're scoring a ton of runs, and then there's sometimes where you're not scoring any runs. The biggest thing is to capitalize when you can."

The hot streak has more than made up for Boston's early season struggles when the team went 2-10 out of the gate and had some pondering whether it would even challenge for a playoff spot. Now, with a 37-16 record since that early low point in the season, the high-powered Red Sox and their expensive roster have more than proven they're for real.

"That's why everybody was going crazy when we were losing all those games at the beginning of the season," Ortiz said. "If you go position to position, you can match this team up against anybody in the league."

Ortiz, Youkilis, Pedroia and Carl Crawford have all emerged from early season slumps while even the role players have been making timely contributions. Utility infielder Marco Scutaro went 6-for-10 in the weekend series with four runs scored, while catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia -- playing through a nasty stomach virus -- went 4-for-8.

Even 39-year-old backup catcher Jason Varitek went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer in his start Saturday. Up and down the lineup, the entire team has contributed.

"That's how the game goes. 'If you don't pick him up, I'm going to try. If I don't pick him up, you're going to try.' If he doesn't pick him up, we've got Crawford, etc., etc.," Ortiz said. "That's just how it is. It's a team unit."

Even former Red Sox pitching coach and current Blue Jays manager Jon Farrell, who spent four years with the organization and won a World Series with the team in 2007, was left in awe with what Boston did over a cool weekend in Toronto.

"We're glad to see them leave town," Farrell said after the weekend series. "I think the numbers on the scoreboard indicate that they are swinging the bat as good as they have at any point in time of the year. "You combine patience, selectivity, power, speed, that's an explosive, deep and very diverse offense -- and we saw that for 18 innings the last two days."

Arden Zwelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.