Sox middle infielders do damage at plate

Lugo, Pedroia combine for nine hits

ANAHEIM -- Amid an exhausting 5-4, 12-inning defeat to the Angels, the Red Sox did get a couple of standout performances from the offense.

Julio Lugo, playing in his 13th game of the season after right knee surgery, went 5-for-6. It was the fourth five-hit game of Lugo's career and first since 2004.

"You still enjoy it," Lugo said. "Not as much as if we had won. It's a performance that sometimes it goes out of sight because we lost."

Not to be outdone, Dustin Pedroia, after missing the past two games with a right groin strain, went 4-for-6 with two doubles.

It could have been an even better day for Pedroia if not for a magnificent running catch by Torri Hunter in front of the center-field wall in the 10th inning that would have given the Red Sox the lead.

"That's why he's the best in the game," Pedroia said of Hunter. "There's no surprise about that. He made a great play and saved the game for them. It was an unbelievable play."

The Red Sox have seen plenty of those type of heroics -- on both sides of the ball -- from Pedroia. They were just happy to have their spark plug back in the mix.

"Swagger is not the right word, but when he goes out there, he goes out to win," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "I think he energizes everybody."

Pedroia, who had caught fire before the injury, was glad the momentum seemed to carry over.

"It felt good just to get back in there," said Pedroia, who is hitting .336. "I had been swinging the bat well, but I felt good running, and for me, that was the biggest part of the day."

Lugo is still getting back to game speed on defense but has swung the bat well ever since returning. In this one, he made a fine leaping catch to go with his big day at the plate.

"I feel much better now," Lugo said. "It's just a matter of time before I get to game speed again."

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.