Crawford bats 2nd, Gonzalez 5th in Red Sox order

The Boston Red Sox hoped a revamped batting order would lift

them out of their September slump.

Manager Terry Francona moved Carl Crawford into the No. 2 hole

for just the seventh time this season and batted Adrian Gonzalez

fifth for only the second time in Saturday’s game against the New

York Yankees. Dustin Pedroia hit third for the sixth time this

season.

”I think it puts Carl in a position where maybe he feels like

he can impact us,” Francona said. ”His on-base percentage isn’t

typically what’d you’d have someone in the two-hole, but we’re in a

smaller sample size now.”

Francona talked about the moves with coaches and players after

Friday’s rainout and received interesting suggestions. Crawford

said several teammates came to him with the idea before he even

talked to his manager.

Crawford, who signed a $142 million, seven-year contract as a

free agent during the offseason, was hitting .259 with a career-low

18 stolen bases. He spent the majority of his career batting at the

top of the lineup with Tampa Bay but has hit mostly sixth, seventh

or eight for the Red Sox. His .295 on-base percentage is 39 points

lower than his career average.

”It’s cool to be back at the top of the order, haven’t been

there in a while,” Crawford said. ”They asked me about it and I

agreed to it.”

In a 4-14 slide, Boston’s AL wild-card lead over Tampa Bay had

shrunk to 2 1/2 games from nine. During the slump, the Red Sox had

scored just 54 runs in the losses.

Crawford hoped to change that with his style of play.

”I can cause a little more havoc, play the way I’ve always

played,” he said. ”You know steal bases, get on base for the guys

behind me. Don’t have to try to hit a home run.”

While Gonzalez has spent nearly all his time in the three spot,

Francona wasn’t worried about his slugger moving down.

”There’s give and take. I don’t think it’s going to affect

him,” Francona said. ”I just think the positives outweigh the

negatives.”