Varitek's bat still holds plenty of wallop
Red Sox's captain goes deep twice from five-hole of lineup
PHILADELPHIA -- From the damage he did to the place in the order he did it from, Jason Varitek had a game the Red Sox hadn't seen in some time Thursday.
The pair of solo homers the Red Sox's captain hit in a 5-2 win over the Phillies marked his first two-homer game in nearly 15 months, the last coming April 10, 2010, in Kansas City. It also made Varitek the oldest Sox hitter to go yard twice since Andre Dawson, also 39, did it June, 25, 1994.
It all came out of the five-hole, a spot Varitek hadn't hit in (or anywhere higher) in nearly four years, since July 8, 2007. He was in the fifth spot that day, too.
"We've had the luxury, when we're at home, we've been hitting our catchers most of the time ninth, sometimes up in the order," manager Terry Francona said. "But when he's hitting fifth, you're hitting behind [Dustin Pedroia]. The fact that he took those swings was huge."
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Homer No. 1 for Varitek came on a full-count slider from Phils right-hander David Herndon with two down in the sixth, and it extended Boston's lead to 3-0. The long ball, Varitek's first since June 11, didn't clear the wall in right by much.
His second shot, though, was a no-doubt job to right. Varitek went back-to-back with Pedroia in the eighth off righty Drew Carpenter, with Varitek finishing the relay. He jumped on a 2-0 fastball, three pitches after Pedroia's long ball.
"I've been having a lot of starts against some lefties lately," said Varitek, who's hitting .248, with five home runs. "I was trying to have quality at-bats. I was choked up and battling in the first one, and got the ball up in the air enough here and was able to get it out. The second one, I hit well."
Varitek and the Red Sox as a whole were helped by the early exit of Cole Hamels, who came out after four innings after suffering a bruise on his right hand on an Adrian Gonzalez liner in the fourth.
Varitek, meanwhile, guided starter Jon Lester through seven innings of two-hit shutout ball.
"Any time 'Tek's swinging the bat like that," Lester said, "it's always a good thing."
The first home run for Varitek marked his 500th career extra-base hit, and the second gave him 10 two-homer games lifetime.