On sac fly, Duran scoots home ... from second?

March 27th, 2022

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Jarren Duran knew he had a limited time to impress who he needed to in camp this spring, so he’s kept the pedal to the floor since Day 1.

On Sunday against the Twins, he cranked it up a notch.

Duran entered the game as a pinch-runner for Kiké Hernández in the top of the sixth inning after the latter took advantage of a fielding error on his fly ball to center field, ending up at second base. Duran wasted no time in showing why Boston is so high on him, tagging up as the next batter, Rafael Devers, boosted a sacrifice fly to deep center field.

Duran scored on the play.

You read that correctly: Duran scored from second base on a sacrifice fly. He took off from second the instant the ball met center fielder Derek Fisher’s glove and he slowed just long enough to dive headfirst into home, gliding across the dish just inches ahead of catcher Ryan Jeffers’ tag.

Devers’ fly carried Fisher to the warning track in a dead sprint, but Fisher still managed to wheel around and fire the ball to shortstop Daniel Robertson, who caught the relay on the lip of the infield, spun and delivered a spot-on laser to Jeffers.

Any other day, it would have been an out. Any other runner would’ve probably held at third.

But not Sunday. And not Duran.

“That's what he brings,” manager Alex Cora said.

Boston’s No. 4 prospect, Duran has created quite a stir in Triple-A with his plus-plus speed -- enough so that MLB Pipeline has rated the 25-year-old the best athlete and fastest runner in the Red Sox's system. Duran had an outside shot at breaking camp with the team, but the outfield is already crowded with talent, and following Sunday’s 6-3 loss to Minnesota, the speedster was optioned to Triple-A Worcester.

Even so, they’ll no doubt be talking for a while about Duran’s final hurrah.