For anyone who simply glanced over Sunday’s box score, your eyes did not deceive you. Mike Napoli indeed stole home.
Napoli’s theft wasn’t a conventional steal, as the Red Sox slugger raced home from third base after Jonathan Herrera nearly got picked off first base by Oakland Athletics starter Tommy Milone in the third inning of Boston’s 7-6, 10-inning win. But it still counted the same as a straight steal in the box score — and on the scoreboard — and was the result of an excellent slide by Napoli.
“I don’t know how I slid like that to avoid the tag,” Napoli said after the game. “I came in there and did some ninja move to get under the tag. But once I saw (first baseman Brandon) Moss throw the ball, I just took off.”
Napoli also homered as part of a 2-for-4 effort, making him the first Red Sox player to hit a home run and steal home in the same game since Rico Petrocelli on Sept. 9, 1967.
“That’s awesome,” Napoli said. “I’d never think I’d steal home.”
The Red Sox eventually won after David Ortiz bailed out Koji Uehara, who surrendered two homers in the ninth inning, with a game-winning blast off Fernando Abad in the 10th inning.