BOSTON -- Since the start of spring training, Red Sox manager John Farrell has urged his team to be "relentless'' on the basepaths. On Saturday, the Red Sox may have taken his advice a bit too far.
In a close game with the New York Yankees -- the Yanks won 5-2, but tacked on the final run in the ninth -- the Sox ran into three outs on the bases.
"It's a fine line,'' acknowledged Farrell in discussing the difference being aggressive and reckless. "Game situation is going to dictate most of it, if not all of it. It worked against us a couple of times today.''
It began in the first inning when, with Daniel Nava on second, David Ortiz lined a sharp, opposite-field single to left with two outs.
Third base coach Brian Butterfield waved Nava in as he approached third, despite the fact that Wells had already fielded the ball by then and came up ready to throw.
Worse, as Nava hit the bag and attempted to make the cut toward home, he stumbled for an instant, slowing his sprint to the plate home. Wells's throw was up the line some, but with Nava slowed, catcher Chris Stewart had time to position himself to apply the tag and end the inning.
"We're looking to put pressure on the defense quickly,'' said Farrell of Butterfield's decision.
"I was just coming around third and I didn't have firm footing,'' recounted Nava. "I knew I was going (home as soon as the ball was hit) -- based on (there being) two outs and the play in front of me.''
Next up was Mike Carp, who was at third base with two outs and Jose Iglesias at the plate. New York starter Hiroki Kuroda skipped a pitch past Stewart and Carp broke for the plate.
But Stewart scrambled to retrieve the errant pitch and tossed to Kuroda covering for the out.
The worst was saved for the last.
Nava was on first with one out in the eighth when Dustin Pedroia hit a foul pop behind the plate. Stewart chased the foul pop and, leaning into the box seats behind the plate, managed to snare the ball.
Nava, sensing that Stewart might need time to set himself, saw an opportunity and took off for second, hoping to get himself into scoring position. But Stewart got back on his feet and fired a pea to second, nailing Nava.
Instead of having Ortiz at the plate representing the tying run with two out, the Sox were out of the inning.
"That was over-aggressiveness on his part,'' said Farrell of Nava. "Down two with David on deck, that was over-aggressiveness.''
"In hindsight,'' said a somewhat sheepish Nava, "I wouldn't have done it. Based on the situation, when you see a guy go into the stands, you think you can take the base. But I shouldn't have tried. Looking back, I wouldn't have done it.''
The worst part, as Nava volunteered, was that first base coach Arnie Beyeler had just finished reminding Nava: "Don't go anywhere.''
"It was one of those times when I wasn't on top of what I should have been on top of,'' said Nava. "I kind of turned things off and reacted. I've got to have more awareness in that situation.
"Unfortunately today was a rough one on the bases for me. But I'll learn from it.''