Nava, Sox rue baserunning miscues

July, 20, 2013
7/20/13
10:23
PM ET
BOSTON -- Outside of the Red Sox clubhouse, no one would have known.

Daniel Nava voluntarily revealed what was the worst part of his decision to try to take second when Yankees catcher Chris Stewart fell into the stands catching Dustin Pedroia's foul popup during the Yankees' 5-2 win Saturday afternoon at the Fens.

[+] EnlargeDaniel Nava
Jared Wickerham/Getty ImagesDaniel Nava removes his helmet after being thrown out at second to end the eighth inning.
No, it wasn't that Nava took the bat out of David Ortiz's hands at a time when the Sox DH represented the potential tying run, Ortiz clearly unhappy as he made his way back to the dugout at the end of the eighth inning.

This trumped that. One pitch before Pedroia popped up, first-base coach Arnie Beyeler delivered a message to Nava.

"I was told, 'Don't go anywhere,'" Nava said. "I just stopped [thinking] when the ball was popped up. It was one of those times I wasn't on top of what I should have been.

"The coaches did their job. I reacted. I would go back and change it if I could."

No mystery, then, that manager John Farrell would declare that Nava was "overaggressive" on the play.

Let's not overlook, however, that Stewart, the Yankees catcher, made a terrific play, boomeranging out of the stands after he toppled in while gloving Pedroia's pop, then turning and throwing a strike to second base. What baserunner doesn't instinctively think about advancing when a fielder falls into the seats?

"A catch in the stands? That's tough," said Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "Not only do you have to make the play, you have to have the smarts and awareness to get out of the stands and know you can throw to second. That's not an easy throw, especially to put it on the money like that."

And to do so as the visiting catcher, unimpeded by what is supposed to be a rabid fan base?

"Our fans didn't do a good enough job, I guess," Saltalamacchia said. "I guess we'll have to start yelling at them like they yell at us."

Opportunities to score were few for the Sox against Yankee starter Hiroki Kuroda -- who limited them to five hits in seven innings -- and two relievers, including The Great Mariano Rivera, which made it all the more painful that three Sox runners were cut down on the basepaths, the other two at home plate.

"Cost us the game," said Mike Carp, who had three hits and scored a run on a wild pitch in the seventh, but also was erased at the plate trying to advance two innings earlier on a ball that skipped away from Stewart, who recovered in time to throw to Kuroda, covering the plate.

Nava also was nailed at the plate by Yankees left fielder Vernon Wells while trying to score from second on Ortiz's two-out single in the first inning. Third-base coach Brian Butterfield was waving him home, but with the play in front of him and two out, Nava already had made up his mind to try to score. What he didn't anticipate was stumbling as he rounded third. He might still have been out, but not by a couple of strides.

"Today was just a rough one on the bases for me," Nava said. "I'll learn from it."

Funny thing is, Ortiz scored Boston's first run by running through Butterfield's stop sign on Jonny Gomes' fly ball to center.

"It's a fine line," Farrell said of the separation between aggressive and foolhardy on the basepaths. "The game situation is going to dictate most of it, if not all of it. It worked against us a couple times today."

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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