Mike Napoli on home run: 'It felt good to do something like that'

Rob Bradford
August 14, 2013 - 10:39 pm

TORONTO '€“ Mike Napoli'€™s day at Rogers Centre started with an early-afternoon meeting in John Farrell'€™s office with the Red Sox manager. From there he would go from the batting cage, to meeting with the media, to a get-together with the hitting instructors, to computers for video work and finally into the somewhat unfamiliar seventh spot in the Sox'€™ lineup. By the time Napoli stepped to the plate with two outs in the ninth inning Wednesday night, the vibe hadn'€™t really changed all that much. He was 0-for-3, making him hitless in his last 15 at-bats with nine strikeouts during the stretch. Then, out of nowhere, the script was flipped. With the Red Sox down to their last out, trailing by a pair and Jonny Gomes at first via a walk, Napoli launched a Brett Cecil offering over the right field wall for his first home run since July 24. By game'€™s end, he couldn'€™t be classified as a hero considering the Blue Jays pulled out a 4-3, 10-inning win. But considering the depths Napoli found himself earlier in the day, the turnaround was certainly noteworthy. '€œObviously, you'€™d like to win the game. But, I mean, it felt good to do something like that, to come through in that situation,'€ he said. '€œObviously I'€™ve been struggling a little bit. I'€™m going to keep grinding. I got a pitch I could drive and put a swing on it.'€ He added, '€œToday was, I mean, I got out a couple times, but I felt good about my approach and where I was at. Just get out here tomorrow and try to repeat it and do the same drills and try to stay comfortable.'€ The moment wasn'€™t lost on Napoli'€™s teammates, either. '€œYeah, encouraging. Certainly what he'€™s been going through of late, to come up in a key spot to tie it down to the last out,'€ Farrell said. '€œYou know, as we said before the game, he'€™s streaky. We know it. We have to ride it with him and he came up big in the moment.'€ '€œA guy like him, we get him going, it just lengthens our lineup, so hopefully that puts him in a good frame of mind,'€ said the Red Sox'€™ starting pitcher Wednesday night, Jon Lester. '€œHe'€™s pretty excited. Hopefully we can get him going. Once we do that, like I just said it lengthens our lineup, makes us that much stronger. So that was a good thing to see from him, especially going the other way with it.'€ As for Napoli'€™s intentions for that ninth-inning at-bat, he admitted this wasn'€™t about simply blooping a base-hit. '€œI'm trying to drive the ball to the gap somewhere, hit a double, get in scoring position,'€ he said. '€œI'm always up there trying to drive the ball. I'm not trying to really hit a single. You guys see me swing all the time. But yeah, I'm trying to drive the ball to the gaps.'€