Heady hustle by Bogaerts sparks comeback
Red Sox shortstop goes from first to third on grounder, scores on error
TORONTO -- The baseball was behind Xander Bogaerts in the fourth inning Sunday, and all he could do was go by what he saw. The result was a key hustle play on the bases by the shortstop, one that helped reverse the momentum for the Red Sox as they came from three runs down to beat the Blue Jays, 4-3.
Here was the situation: Bogaerts was on first with nobody out, and David Ortiz hit a bouncer to first baseman Chris Colabello.
Bogaerts figured he was going to be thrown out at second, only because he couldn't see that Colabello bobbled the ball.
As Colabello gathered himself and recovered enough to get the slow-footed Ortiz at first, Bogaerts noticed that Josh Donaldson was slow to get back into position and cover third base.
So Bogaerts roared into third, and pitcher Mark Buehrle, who had recorded the out at first on the throw from Colabello, fired across the diamond in a desperate attempt to prevent a two-base advance on a little ground ball.
The throw from Buehrle was a wild one for an error, and as it skipped away, Bogaerts scored easily.
"I was just going to go in and slide and then I saw Donaldson break late to third," Bogaerts said. "I don't even know what happened back there, so I went. I only saw Donaldson. If the guy fields it clean and throws to second, I'm out. But when I saw the video, he didn't field it clean and that's why Donaldson took off late."
Instead of being shut out by Buehrle, the Red Sox now had some life, down 3-1.
"It kind of set a different tone for us," said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo. "Maybe [we were] a little flat. We fell down 3-0 and we're playing uphill baseball. Bogey makes a heads-up play and we encourage that type of baserunning if we feel the circumstances are right. In this case, it led to the first run. I think it changed the complexion of that inning and it opened our eyes a little bit in our dugout and gave us a little lift, and we look for moments like that."
The momentum continued to shift to Boston's side in the fifth, when Travis Shaw came up with a two-out, two-run single to tie the game.
Jackie Bradley Jr. continued the comeback with a sacrifice fly to medium-depth center field, in which Pablo Sandoval was safe only because catcher Dioner Navarro dropped the throw home from Kevin Pillar.
The Red Sox are 19-11 since Aug. 18.
"You know, we're growing up right before our very eyes," said Lovullo. "Our young kids are rising to the challenge with some pretty difficult circumstances and pretty difficult environments. There's a lot of bright things on the way for the Boston Red Sox and it's fun to watch right now."