All you need to know, in quickie form, about the Red Sox' 4-2 win over the New York Mets, complete with BSJ analysis and insight:
Vazquez keeps mashing: Gone, apparently, are the days when Christian Vazquez was regarded as a defense-only catcher. Last season, he took a big step forward as a hitter, and in the first week of this season, he's picked up right where he left off. After a homer and single in the series opener Wednesday, Vazquez continued to wield the hot bat Thursday, cracking a solo homer in the second and a two-run homer in the fourth, accounting for three of the four runs the Sox scored. "Obviously, Vasky's always been a very good defensive catcher, one of the best in the game,'' said closer Brandon Workman. "Over the last couple of years, watching him come into his own offensively, it's awesome to watch. He's now gone from a defensive catcher to the complete package. He can drive the ball out of the ballpark, hits for average and he's still elite behind the plate.'' In seven games this season, Vazquez has now homered four times.
Perez takes a big step of improvement: The first start for Martin Perez with the Red Sox was entirely forgettable, as he allowed five runs on six hits in just five innings against an inferior Baltimore lineup. Perez couldn't command his cutter early in that one, and that spelled trouble. But Thursday night, Perez was far better, giving the Sox six strong innings while allowing just two runs on two hits. "I threw strikes, attacked the hitters and used a lot of off-speed,'' recounted Perez. "I was able to use my changeup a little bit more. I pounded the zone in, then went outside. Everything was OK. I had fun out there.'' Perez doesn't have the stuff to overpower lineups, and in his defense, he wasn't signed to be the No. 2 starter in the rotation, though injuries and other factors have put him in that spot. But what Perez delivered Thursday is what the Sox were hoping for -- keep hitters off-balance, stay out of the middle of the plate and get them into the sixth with a chance.