Dustin Pedroia was in the thick of the action Saturday.
Pedroia was involved in several notable plays during the Boston Red Sox’s 5-4, 19-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. The 14th inning was especially eventful for the Red Sox second baseman.
Pedroia, who broke up Garrett Richards’ no-hitter in the seventh inning en route to scoring Boston’s first run, led off the 14th with a single into center field. He then aggressively took off for second base with David Ortiz batting. That’s when the fun began.
Pedroia slid in safely at second, popped up and astutely looked toward third. Recognizing that no one was covering the bag — the Angels were in a defensive shift — Pedroia immediately took off running. He dived head-first into third base, giving him two stolen bases on one play.
The heads-up baserunning was crucial, as Pedroia scored the go-ahead run moments later on Ortiz’s sacrifice fly to left field.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, their fourth run didn’t hold up. Reliever Junichi Tazawa, pitching for the fourth time in five days, immediately ran into trouble in the bottom of the 14th inning. The Angels tied the game on a strange play again featuring Pedroia.
Mike Trout dug in with the bases loaded and no outs. Red Sox manager John Farrell opted to keep his infield back at double play depth, conceding the tying run. Trout hit a sharp ground ball to shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who made the play and flipped to second base. Pedroia, rather than turning two, then fired home in an ill-advised attempt to cut down the tying run. It was a head-scratching decision that had everyone trying to figure out who was to blame for the Red Sox coming away from the play with just one out and a run scoring.
“I told Bogey before, if he smokes a ball, try to give it to me out in front of the base so we could try to get that out at home because Trout runs so good,” Pedroia explained to reporters after the game. “(Chris) Iannetta just got a great jump (from third base).”
Tazawa ended up escaping a first-and-third, one-out jam to extend the game. Albert Pujols finally ended the marathon contest six hours and 31 minutes after the first pitch with a walk-off home run.
Pedroia always puts it all on the line, for better or worse. Saturday night — especially the 14th inning — was no exception.