Berry hopes for more 'Dave Roberts moments' with Sox

Berry hopes for more 'Dave Roberts moments' with Sox
September 6, 2013, 1:30 am
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NEW YORK - When the Red Sox obtained Quintin Berry from the Kansas City Royals a week ago, there were plenty of comparisons made to Dave Roberts.
     
In 2004, the Sox picked up Roberts in a late-season deal with the Dodgers with the idea that he could be a valuable pinch-running option off the bench. Roberts, of course, would validate that with the most important stolen base in Red Sox history in Game 4 of the ALCS.
     
On Thursday night, with 3 1/2 weeks still to go in the regular season, Berry had his "Roberts moment.''
     
Inserted as a pinch-runner for Mike Napoli, Berry stole second and took third when the throw by Yankees catcher Austin Romine skipped into left-center field. Berry then scored the tying run when Stephen Drew blooped a single to right.
     
The Sox capped things with another run in the top of the 10th for a 9-8 win.
     
"The stolen base by Berry was key,'' said John Farrell. "We needed that speed off the bench [when he was obtained], that one component. We felt like, from a team standpoint, that was the one area where we were a bit short and tonight was the first time he's been pressed into that specific spot and he came through.''
     
Berry started his preparation a few innings before, getting into a routine to loosen and stretch in the dugout and the runway, hoping for
a chance.
     
"He's anticipating it, getting ready in the cage,'' said Farrell. "He had the benefit of watching Mariano [Rivera] for the two hitters previous
to get a read on his delivery. Even though there was nobody on base, we were able to get a clock on it and get a sense of what he'd be looking at. There was no hesitation -- first pitch, he was off.''
     
Berry was thrilled to make a contribution. Until Thursday night, he had made two appearnaces since joining the Sox: one as a defensive replacement for Jacoby Ellsbury on Sept. 1, and on Wednesday night, as a pinch-runner in a blowout game, after which he had two hits and two RBI.
     
Still, Thursday was different. This was his speciality, after all, and Berry fully realizes he won't have a lot of chances.
     
"Because of the offense we have and the ballclub we have,'' he said, "there's not going to be a lot of opportunities, because we pitch so well
and hit so well. So when I do get that opportunity, I try to make the most of it.''
     
Berry's prepration began in the fifth, and included running stairs, using a stationary bike and what he termed "pliometric'' exercises "to get
my muscles firing because it's kind of tough, coming off the bench and have to do something to jump-start your body. So over the last year, I've really kind of understood to prepare myself.''
     
Berry has never before attempted to steal against Rivera, but felt confident as he took off.
     
"I could tell when he went up, he definitely didn't go with his slide step,'' said Berry, "so I continued running, got a good jump and felt like I was going to make it.''
     
When Berry slid into second safely, the ball squirted away into left-center field and he faced a moment of indecision -- whether to advance to
third or not.
     
"I stopped for a second,'' said Berry. "When the ball [gets away],  everybody's screaming, everybody's yelling, you don't know what that means.
Especially guys with experience like [Derek] Jeter, they try to deke you and get you to come off the bag, but luckily, it bounced to left-center and when it does that, you can pick the ball up pretty quick.''
    
As for the Roberts' comparisons?
     
"If it leads us to where Dave got,'' quipped Farrell, "we'll take that, too.''