Middlebrooks' focus on helping Sox, not past woes

Middlebrooks' focus on helping Sox, not past woes

Middlebrooks' focus on helping Sox, not past woes

TORONTO -- Will Middlebrooks can't control the hitting problems or the health woes he had earlier in the season, two things that contributed to his stunning return to the Minor Leagues.

All the third baseman cares about now is fueling the Red Sox for the stretch run. And that's exactly what he did Tuesday night at Rogers Centre, coming up with two key hits and some big plays on defense in a 4-2, 11-inning win over the Blue Jays.

This was the third game back for Middlebrooks since his recall from Triple-A Pawtucket.

"It's been a grind of a month and a half," Middlebrooks said. "It feels good to get some results after you go down and work your butt off."

After the 2-for-5 performance, Middlebrooks has a .205 average on the season.

"I'm not even looking up at the scoreboard," Middlebrooks said. "I've put away all individual things. I want to be here with these guys, and I want to do something to help us win."

Influenced by a cast of determined veterans, Middlebrooks is looking to help the Red Sox complete their push to the postseason.

Following Tuesday's win, the Sox led the Rays by four games in the American League East.

"Someone asked if I had any individual goals, and I said no. I want to win a World Series," Middlebrooks said. "I want to do something every game to help us win. If I can do at least one thing to help us win a ballgame, that's what it's about."

Middlebrooks was in from Pawtucket from June 25-Aug. 9.

His manager has already noticed a difference since his return.

"He looks more relaxed, a little more confident," said John Farrell. "Makes a handful of good plays down at third base. He played a solid game for us tonight."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.