MINNEAPOLIS -- Bearing down on second base, Xander Bogaerts wasn't slowing down or preparing to slide as the Twins looked to make him the first out of a double play.The Red Sox shortstop wasn't thinking about the potential of being out at second base. He saw the Twins' Brian Dozier
MINNEAPOLIS -- Bearing down on second base, Xander Bogaerts wasn't slowing down or preparing to slide as the Twins looked to make him the first out of a double play.
The Red Sox shortstop wasn't thinking about the potential of being out at second base. He saw the Twins' Brian Dozier bobble the ball. On the fly, Bogaerts started to round second base and continued sprinting to an unmanned third base.
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Dozier's miscue kept the Twins from turning a double play. Bogaerts' heads-up baserunning put him in position to score the game-winning run on Hanley Ramirez's sacrifice fly in Boston's 15-4 victory.
Bogaerts had four hits and a home run for the second straight game, and is 8-for-10 in the series, but his baserunning might have most demonstrated the confidence and instincts with which the energetic 23-year-old is playing.
"It's a lot of fun," said center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who hit a three-run homer in the first. "That's Xander for you. I don't want to say we've become numb to it, but it's still impressive what he's doing. That's just who he is."
Bogaerts said the baserunning maneuver wasn't premeditated. After a hard single to open the sixth, he wasn't thinking about third base. When he saw Dozier misplay a grounder from David Ortiz, Bogaerts used some quick thinking to turn and run with Minnesota playing a shift against Ortiz.
"It's just instincts, I guess; just being aware in the game, being into the game," Bogaerts said. "I mean, have your head up at all times and just see the game."
It's a situation Bogaerts has seen before with Ortiz facing shifts from opposing teams. Bogaerts and the Red Sox are hoping to make teams pay for the tactic.
"The thing that we continually stress is trust what you see, and that play is anticipated even before it unfolds because of the overshift," manager John Farrell said. "Our young players, particularly, are not only trusting it, but are executing it very well. Their decision-making on the bases is spot on and they're doing an outstanding job."
Baserunning is one small part of Bogaerts big series and season. He leads the American League in batting average at .358 and has eight homers and 43 RBIs.
Ortiz and Farrell believe he belongs in the conversation of the Majors' elite shortstops.
"Bogey's exciting to watch each and every day," Farrell said. "He's durable. He stays strong throughout every outing or every contest that we play, and hitting in the three-hole at that position is a premium guy. He's in the conversation with a very good group that's in the big leagues right now."
Brian Hall is a contributor to MLB.com based in Minnesota.