OAKLAND, Calif. –- With Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein actively seeking a catcher on the trade market, Dusty Brown wanted to prove his worth.
Epstein is on this West Coast trip with the club, and Brown, who was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on July 17, was in the lineup on Wednesday, serving as Clay Buchholz’s batterymate.
Brown went 0-for-3, but he provided a couple of key defensive plays, sacrificing his body to block the plate twice, preventing a pair of runs for Oakland.
“He did a very good job,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “He’s always been sturdy. He’s not afraid to stand in there and those were huge plays.”
Brown said he prides himself on making those type of plays.
“It’s something we work on a lot,” he said. “[Bullpen coach Gary] Tuck stresses it a lot, especially in spring training when we get a lot of drill work in, and I just try to get there early and take away the plate to try to give us a chance to get an out.”
With a runner on third, Boston’s infielders were playing in on the grass when Oakland’s Coco Crisp hit a chopper to second base. The Sox’s Bill Hall made the play and quickly made the throw home. Brown blocked the plate, forcing Rajai Davis to slide around him, but the runner never touched the plate. Brown tagged him for the out.
In the bottom of the eighth, the A’s were holding on to a two-run lead when Crisp led off with a triple. Cliff Pennington followed and lifted a high fly ball to center field. Mike Cameron positioned himself perfectly, made the catch and unleashed a cannon to the plate.
The throw was a one-hopper and again Brown put his body in front of the plate and the tandem recorded an 8-2 double play.
“It was unbelievable,” Brown said. “You couldn’t ask for a better throw. It was a perfect one-hop right where I’m set up.”
“It was good, man. He did a good job,” Cameron said. “I had the wind in my face and I just tried to grunt and throw it as hard as I could. It was a good play, but we didn’t make enough good plays on the field and it probably cost us the game.”