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Drew shining on defense while bat comes around

Drew shining on defense while bat comes around

Drew shining on defense while bat comes around

BOSTON -- Jon Lester was a ground-ball machine during the Red Sox's 8-1 win over the Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.

Lester had just a 45-percent ground-ball rate during the season, but that jumped to 58 percent as he carved his way through the Cardinals, throwing 7 2/3 scoreless innings.

Stephen Drew was gobbling everything up behind him.

Drew is 4-for-39 at the plate this postseason. At shortstop, he's been nearly immaculate.

"That sums up this team," said outfielder Jonny Gomes. "We pick each other up better than I've seen any other team do. There are two L's in this game: leather and lumber. Not all nine guys are going to hit; not all nine guys are going to field; but when we have nine guys working together, it makes it that much easier."

While Drew has struggled to gain any momentum offensively, he's proud of his ability to forget.

He has struck out one inning and fielded a one-hopper on the run with an on-the-money throw minutes later.

"The great thing for me is I don't take it to the field," Drew said. "I focus out there and feel like I do a pretty good job of it.

"It's going to be a big part of this whole series -- starting pitching and defense."

Shane Victorino, who is 9-for-42 this postseason, has been going through a similar slump.

"As a player, I've always taken pride in my defense, from an individual standpoint," Victorino said. "And Stephen does the same thing. There are parts in the game that you just have to stay and keep battling mentally. It's not easy, struggling at the plate. And I'm right there with him, other than that one big moment."

Drew and Victorino, whose "big moment" was a grand slam in the Red Sox's American League-pennant-clinching victory in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series, continue to find their names in the lineup every day despite their struggles. They appreciate their manager's trust.

"That's the kind of stuff that keeps you going," Victorino said. "You stay after, you keep swinging your way out of it. [Manager John Farrell] has faith in us and that's the most important thing, that that guy has faith in us to go out and continue to play.

"Again, it's not about one side of the game. You can help a team by also playing good defense. On the bases, you can somehow help the team. All these kinds of things collectively help the team. It's not fun, but Stephen is great, he's a professional, he goes about it the right way and that's the most important thing."

Drew feels like his slump is nearly over.

"It's just a matter of time coming at the plate," he said. "I'm getting behind balls and seeing the balls good. I'm going to come out of this."

Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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