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Aviles makes it two leadoff homers in two days

Aviles makes it two leadoff homers in two days

Aviles makes it two leadoff homers in two days
PHILADELPHIA -- Before Saturday, Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles had never led off a game with a home run. Now he's done it two straight days.

Aviles' eighth home run of the season and third in three days Sunday came off Phillies lefty Cliff Lee to left field in a 5-1 Sox win, the same part of Citizens Bank Park he took Joe Blanton out to Saturday during a 7-5 win.

Harry Hooper in 1913 is the only other Red Sox player to hit lead-off homers in back-to-back games.

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"It was definitely fun, just going up there trying to set the tone, trying to get on base and fortunate to get a ball and run into a good part of the bat," said Aviles, who's 10-for-25 (.400) in his last six games, with four doubles, three home runs and six RBIs. "Pretty much, and get one up in the air."

"It's cool because I could say I got one," Aviles said after the first one on Saturday, "It definitely helps. I think it'll change the mood, definitely knowing that the first batter hits a homer and everybody else is, I guess can relax a little bit and get going ... It was cool."

Aviles is on a six-game hit streak and is hitting .275, up from the .254 his average dipped to following an 0-for-4 in a 6-1 win over Seattle on Monday.

"I think it goes in spurts," Aviles said. "I've been feeling good for the past week. It's just about having confidence in yourself and you know the way the spurts go."

Aviles has also played some of the best defense in the Majors at shortstop, according to the statistic Ultimate Zone Rating.

"It's kind of funny, everyone in Spring Training, that's the one thing they questioned about him," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said of Aviles' glove. "Everyone knows he can hit. But defensively, he's been unreal. All of his feeds are great, he's thinking the game out. We're always on the same page."

Manager Bobby Valentine, who's tried to dissuade the idea that a leadoff hitter has to do anything different, lauded Aviles Sunday.

"That's big, to do that two nights in a row here," Valentine said. "Relaxes the offense a little and let's the pitchers know that at least we have one when they go out there."

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