Sports

As weather heats up, so does Pablo Sandoval

Average is up 30 in June hot spell

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval has had lots of success at the plate, even as the team falls farther behind in the AL East.
Orlin Wagner/Associated Press/File
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval has had lots of success at the plate, even as the team falls farther behind in the AL East.

It’s safe to say that Pablo Sandoval has had some rough going over the last week.

First he was benched for Thursday’s game in Atlanta for going on social media during the previous night’s game.

Then Saturday in Kansas City, Sandoval sprained his left ankle trying to field a grounder and came out of the game in the fifth inning. He sat for Sunday’s series finale.

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Sandoval said it felt good to get back home this week, and he proceeded to pace the Red Sox lineup Tuesday, going 3 for 4 with an RBI, though Boston fell to the visiting Orioles, 6-4.

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It was the latest effort in what’s been a productive stretch at the plate for him.

“I just try to do my job,” Sandoval said. “Calm down myself a little bit more, don’t try to do too much on the home plate. Try to get a pitch that I can hit to try to put a ball in play.”

Sandoval had an eight-game hitting streak leading up to the benching.

Over that span he hit .452 with 1 home run, 1 triple, 5 doubles, and 6 RBIs. The streak extended to nine when he went 2 for 4 Friday with a double in Kansas City. However, it came to an end with an 0 for 3 outing Saturday before the injury.

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Sandoval said he tested his ankle before Tuesday’s game and that it was still a bit painful, but he’s OK.

“Feel better, feel better, feel a lot better,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval had the Red Sox’ first hit of the night off the Orioles’ Ubaldo Jimenez, a single to left field in the second inning.

In the fourth inning, Sandoval drove in the Red Sox’ second run of the game on another single to left field. Hanley Ramirez had led off with a single to right, made it to second base on a wild pitch with Xander Bogaerts at the plate, and came around on Sandoval’s hit, sliding home to make the score 5-2.

Sandoval started the sixth inning with a sharp single to left-center, but he was stranded after a pair of strikeouts and a pop-up.

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Sandoval’s night ended with a routine fly out to left field in the eighth inning.

Sandoval now has a seven-game hitting streak at Fenway Park, hitting .500 (14 for 28) during that span. For the season, Sandoval is hitting .352 at home.

In the month of June, Sandoval is hitting .356 with 6 doubles, 7 RBIs, and a home run in 16 games. During that time, Sandoval has had his batting average for the season creep up from .249 to .279.

He downplayed his recent stretch.

“I just try to do my job out there,” Sandoval said. “I don’t worry about my own numbers, I worry about what the teams do.”

These days though, individual hot streaks continue to be overshadowed by the Sox’ disappointing year.

Tuesday’s loss dropped the team to 10 games under .500 (31-41) and 9½ games behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays.

The Red Sox are now 10-22 against the AL East, but Sandoval is hitting .342 against AL East opponents this season.

“It’s part of the game, you have to keep fighting, you have to keep fighting,” Sandoval said when asked about the Red Sox’ struggles against its own division.

The Red Sox now have nine more games in a row against AL East opponents. There’s two more against Baltimore then three at Tampa Bay and four at Toronto.

They’ll certainly be looking for Sandoval’s continued production during the upcoming stretch.

Wayne Epps Jr. can be reached at wayne.epps@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @wayneeppsjr.