BOSTON -- It seems as though the Boston Red Sox have been on the receiving end of some unfortunate plays this season.
The trend continued Saturday night.
With the Red Sox trailing the Toronto Blue Jays by a run in the bottom of the ninth inning, rookie outfielder Ryan Kalish provided a one-out single to start a possible rally. Then teammate Victor Martinez, Boston’s No. 3 hitter in the order, stepped into the box against Blue Jays closer Kevin Gregg.
During Martinez’s at-bat, Gregg threw a pitch in the dirt and Kalish was caught leaning toward second when Toronto catcher Jose Molina snared the ball and made a quick throw to first to get the runner attempting to get back.
That pickoff proved crucial for the Red Sox as Martinez followed with a triple off the left-center field wall. Adrian Beltre grounded out to leave game-tying run 90 feet away as the Blue Jays finished with a 4-3 victory.
“The ball is in the dirt and Molina makes a great play,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “He didn’t reach out to block it, he went out to stab it. Kalish got a good secondary lead, and if it glances off [Molina’s] glove, he’s at second. Molina catches it and a good snap throw gets him. The result was unfortunate, but I thought Kalish actually did a pretty good job.”
With Blue Jays’ John McDonald on second base, Molina provided a sacrifice bunt to move the runner over. The ball tickled the first-base line and remained fair with Beckett and Saltalamacchia waiting to see what it did.
Finally, Saltalamacchia picked it up and threw the runner out. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, McDonald never stopped running because he noticed no one was covering the plate and he scored easily, giving the Blue Jays their fourth run, which proved to be the eventual game-winner.
Beckett should have been covering the plate.
“That would have been a pretty heads-up play on his part,” Francona said of Beckett. “If he had the wherewithal to get there, that would have been great, but I don’t know how many times you’re going to see a pitcher [cover home] on that.”
“It’s not a situation that comes up very often,” admitted Beckett, who took full responsibility for the run scoring. “Nobody but me has to have the plate. That has to be my play. Salty is running after the ball and I’ve got to figure out what to do there. I sit there with my thumb in my [butt] and follow Salty. We don’t need two people fielding the ball. I need to figure out what I’m supposed to do there.”
“The ball is going foul and it gets in the lines with a little bit of a divot, so it’s a tough play,” added Beckett. “Salty didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to do. I certainly thought the ball was going to go foul, and I think Salty thought the same thing, but it stayed fair.”
Saltalamacchia could only shake his head after the game.
“It’s was of those plays that we didn’t know it was going to be that close of a play on the line,” Saltalamacchia said. “I saw it starting to go foul, so I was just starting to pick it up and then it started coming back fair. I just picked it up and threw it, but nobody was at home.”