CHICAGO -- Arguably the most unlikely event in the Red Sox 6-2 win over the White Sox Wednesday night – and perhaps this season – occurred in the first inning. Something that had not happened in the previous 16 seasons.
David Ortiz stole third base. Yes, Ortiz entered the game with 11 steals in 19 attempts over his 17-season career. But, he had never stolen third base before.
“You saw that?,” Ortiz deadpanned after the game.
His reaction to receiving the steal sign from third base coach Brian Butterfield was surprise -- pretty similar to what those watching felt when they saw him take off.
“I was like, ‘You sure?,' ” Ortiz said.
“But momentum in the game, it happens. And I don’t’ have a zero in that category anymore.”
Ortiz -- who was on base after a two-run single, moving to second when Mike Napoli walked -- caught the White Sox so off-guard, third base was unprotected and catcher Tyler Flowers didn’t even attempt a throw. Napoli, though, was likely not expecting the play, because he didn’t break for second. And, Daniel Nava, at the plate, took a called strike three from Hector Santiago.
But, for Ortiz, who went 2-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI, attempting a steal like that is a sure sign that he and his heels and right Achilles, which had caused him so much trouble to start the season, are fully healthy.
“I’ve been running well lately," he said. “I’ve been feeling better, and you guys know me. If I feel well, I'm going to run. Not stealing bases, but try to take advantage of whatever is happening."
Does this mean he now has the green light to run at will?
“No, let's not go that crazy,” he said.