Over the last month, the Red Sox bludgeoned so many opponents into submission that it was easy to forget there are, indeed, other ways in which to win.
Thanks to their propensity for jumping out to early leads -- with multiple runs in the first inning in roughly a third of their games to date -- and a deep, powerful lineup, the Sox have simply roughed up and run over a lot of pitching-thin teams.
That's why Tuesday's 5-3, 10-inning win over the San Francisco Giants represented a refreshing change.
Though the Red Sox scored first with a single run in the second and another in the third, this was no slugfest. This was a game they had to grind out.
They weren't matched against an ace -- that comes Wednesday night, when they draw Madison Bumgarner -- but they had to struggle. Rather than hammer their way to a win, they had to execute.
"We did a number of small things in this game extremely well,'' noted John Farrell.
Indeed. Among them:
-- A deft bit of baserunning on the part of Chris Young, who managed to avoid a tag on the basepaths between first and second in the seventh inning. When Young eluded shortstop Brandon Crawford, he escaped a double play, advanced to second and allowed a run to score in the process.
-- A perfectly executed bunt from Mookie Betts, who pushed a ball just up the third-line in the 10th inning, moving two baserunners over and reaching first to load the bases. From there, Xander Bogaerts dumped a two-run single into shallow center to provide the margin of victory.
-- A manufactured run in the third, with Betts (double) being advanced to third on a groundout to the right side and scoring on a hustle, infield hit to short by Bogaerts.
-- Three successful steals in three tries -- one of which led directly to the Sox' third run in the seventh -- making the Red Sox an incredible 41-for-46 in stolen-base attempts this season. That's a success rate of 89 percent.
Further, the Red Sox used 12 of their 13 position players, with only Rusney Castillo, still under house arrest, failing to get off the bench. That included a leadoff double in the fateful 10th inning from Sandy Leon.
(How rare was that from Leon? Last season, he hit two doubles in 114 at-bats. He had a total of five in his career in 209 at-bats. Yet Tuesday night, in his first at-bat of the season, he roped a double to right to get the Red Sox' winning rally started).
There will be more opportunities like this, when the Sox are required to pull out low-scoring wins against teams with good pitching. It's not reasonable to expect that they can score eight, nine or 10 runs at will.
In September, and, if they're fortunate, October, there will be more challenges like the one they faced Tuesday night.
Figuring out how to win games like isn't just admirable -- it's absolutely mandatory.