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Bay finds spotlight again


Bay finds spotlight again
RED SOX 7, Rays 3

Jason Bay's 2-year-old daughter Addison recently added a new phrase to her vocabulary, and it couldn't have come at a better time: ``Home run, da da.''

``She says it about 50 times a day when the game's on,'' Bay joked. ``She's bound to be right sometimes.''

Sometimes? Red Sox fans would agree it feels like she's right all the time. Bay was again the hero last night, blasting his team-leading ninth home run to guide the club back from a 3-0 deficit and to a 7-3 win against the Tampa Bay Rays.

All nine of Bay's homers have come in the sixth inning or later as he continues the kind of run that supposedly disappeared when Manny Ramirez packed up his medicine kit for Los Angeles.

``He's right smack in the middle of the game when we need him,'' Sox manager Terry Francona said. ``It seems like he's getting huge hits.''

That Bay's heroics came in the sixth inning felt like deja vu. One night after exploding for 12 straight runs to open that frame against the Indians, the Sox blitzed the Rays with five straight.

The fifth and final hit was the game-winner. J.D. Drew followed Bay's three-run homer by blasting a belt-high James Shields changeup into the bullpen. It was a towering shot from a player more known for his line drives.

``Yeah, the ball was a little up in the zone,'' Drew said. ``I was able to get the barrel up there to it and get enough carry to get it out.''

While Drew and Bay playfully argued in the clubhouse over who should address the media first, the bigger crowd surrounded Bay, who would be the five-week MVP of the American League if such an award existed. He's hitting .323 with nine homers, a team-leading 32 RBI and a Ruthian OPS of 1.154 - not that he'd know.

``I don't like to look at my numbers,'' he said. ``Occasionally, I'll accidentally glance at the scoreboard and see my average, but it's not something I focus on. I don't jump on the Internet every morning or tear through the stats pages. It's a long season. It would be counterproductive to focus on today.'' It somehow seems fitting that in the 48 hours since Ramirez was suspended 50 games for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, Bay further cemented his status as the anti-Manny, who nonetheless is hitting like Manny. ``I came in here last year, and it was a big trade, especially coming to Boston,'' he said. ``Once I played a little, it felt kind of normal. For the rest of the season and the playoffs, I still kind of felt like the new guy.

``This year, it was nice to go to spring training. I wasn't a novelty anymore. I was just the regular left fielder of the Red Sox . I relished that. I really liked just blending in with the team and just being another guy rather than the standout news story.''

But his daughter recognizes, at the moment, he's the biggest story in town.

- jtomase@bostonherald.com


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 9, 2009

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