BOSTON -- When it comes to role players, you usually think of the Boston Celtics. But if there is an award for the "Super Sub" in the American League, the honor has to go to Carlos Quintana.
No further proof of his credentials is necessary after an amazing performance yesterday in which The Q made his debut in leftfield in flawless fashion and spiced the day by driving in six runs -- all in the same inning -- in an 11-6 victory that ended the worst Red Sox victory drought at Fenway Park since 1927.
Boston had lost nine straight at home, going winless since before the All-Star break (July 6).
All six of The Q's RBIs came in the third inning as the cornerstone of a season-high 10-run splash by the Red Sox. His big blow was a grand slam off Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd, who had walked the bases loaded. For good measure, Quinta
na drove in two more runs with a double off Wayne Rosenthal on his second turn at bat in the inning.
It hadn't happened in the American League since Jim Lemon did it for the Washington Senators on Sept. 5, 1959.
"The sarsaparilla should taste better tonight," said manager Joe Morgan, whose elation was tempered by the pregame collapse of reliever Jeff Gray in the clubhouse. Gray was taken to Beth Israel Hospital, where preliminary tests indicated he suffered symptoms associated with a migraine headache.
"I made a prediction that we'd score eight runs in the fourth inning," said Morgan. "To whom? Somebody within muttering distance. We came through with that one big inning. But they kept pecking away. In the ninth inning, I came within one batter of having my closer in there."
Dennis Lamp came through in a mop-up role for Kevin Morton, though, leaving the spotlight squarely on The Q. Quintana was playing left in place of Mike Greenwell, who was given a few days off with a sprained wrist.
"It's a new day in the ballpark," said Quintana, when asked if he had any preference. "I don't care. I want to play. First base or outfield. I feel good. I see the ball good. I give 100 percent every day."
Quintana, batting third, brought a simple approach to hitting against Boyd.
"I'd faced Oil Can in Texas," said Quintana, "and I know what he throws -- a lot of sliders. I looked for the slider and I got it. But I didn't hit the ball too good."
Good enough to get it into the screen, though, and wipe out a 2-1 Texas lead. Boyd lasted three more batters.
"It is so strange," said Boyd. "I come back to the AL and my first game is against the Boston Red Sox. My second game is against the Boston Red Sox. I don't want to pitch against the Boston Red Sox.
"I didn't make a good pitch to Quintana. But it wouldn't have been a good day for me if I pitched a no-hitter. I didn't have intensity out there. I didn't have desire."
Texas took a 1-0 lead on a home run by Juan Gonzalez in the second
inning, his third in two days. But a solo shot by Ellis Burks, who had three hits, tied it before Texas edged ahead when Morton balked home a run in the third.
The 10-run explosion brought a huge sigh of relief to the Red Sox
"It's way overdue," said designated hitter Jack Clark, who singled and scored in the inning, and also had the distinction of being booed for making the final out. "We've got too good a team, with so many good players, to be having a season like this.
"Joe has done everything he can. He's mixed the lineup. We just haven't done what we're supposed to have done. It's good for one day to relieve a little pressure."
The juggling by Morgan, added Clark, should continue if it results in the Red Sox breaking loose the way they did yesterday. And The Q should get major attention.
"The man has had a great year," said Clark. "We've got to find a way to keep him in the lineup. I mean, if it's a guy like me or somebody else who has to not play, that's the way it goes.
"He's hitting better. So you've got to go with the guys who are hitting and playing the best. He's one of our best hitters, one of the best in our league. You can't have a guy like that not in your lineup."
Quintana is a streak hitter, and if he gets hot, maybe the rest of the bats will come to life, third baseman Wade Boggs said.
"There is no explanation when you can go through seven games and get no hits, then all of a sudden get them all in one inning," Boggs said. "You just have to take one game at a time, and go after that."