Four Real? Red Sox vs Phillies 5-30-13

AP photo Laurence Kesterson

Jan-Christian Sorensen
Contributing Writer

Yes, as the entire Nation — and anybody who happened to flip past ESPN tonight — knows, Jacoby Ellsbury stole the show on Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park, pacing the Red Sox to a 9-2 rout of the Phillies and a split of the four-game, home-and-away series.

Ellsbury went three-for-four at the plate, walked once and was hit by a pitch, but it was his prowess on the basepaths, not in the hitter’s box, that got him the accolades, stealing a team-record five bags during the game to give him an MLB-leading 21 on the year, two ahead of San Diego’s Everth Cabrera and four ahead of Baltimore’s Nate McLouth.

Lost in the baserunning glitz? A solid, five-inning, four-hit outing by Franklin Morales in his first big-league start of 2013. Jarrod Saltalamacchia going two-for-five at the dish and actually managing to throw out a runner at second base in the first inning. Jose Iglesias further stating his case to stay at the big-league level, going two-for-five at the plate with an RBI despite being thrown out at second base trying to stretch a single into a double in the sixth.

So many good angles, so little time. This one was the full-meal deal.

Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:

1) With David Ortiz at second and Mike Carp — who earlier brought home Daniel Nava for a 2-0 Sox advantage — at first, Saltalamacchia doubles to right to drive in both runs and give the Sox a 4-0 lead. It would be all they would need.

2) In the bottom of the fourth with the Sox holding on to a two-run lead, Morales walked Jimmy Rollins, gave up a single to Domonic Brown and walked Kevin Frandsen to load the bases with only one out. However, after a quick coaching pep talk, Morales got Erik Kratz to ground into an inning-ending twin killing to stymie the threat.

3) In the top of the sixth, after Ellsbury got hit by a pitch from reliever Jeremy Horst, he saddled up and rode the Horst hard: with Nava at the plate, Ellsbury stole second and then third in bang-bang succession for his third and fourth thefts of the night.

4) Let’s stick with Ells. In the top of the eighth after singling off Michael Stutes, Nava got zero attention at the plate from Stutes, with Ellsbury dancing around first. Ellsbury then swipes second for his fifth stolen base of the night and a new Sox record. (Check out the larceny here) According to the esteemed Gordon Edes, the last man to steal at least five in a game was (cough, cough) some dude named Carl Crawford, who, ironically, nabbed six bases against Boston at Tropicana Field on May 3, 2009.

Crawford… Crawford… Nope. Name doesn’t ring a bell.

The Sox now swing over to Gotham for a three-game set against the Yankees starting Friday before heading back to Fenway to take on the Rangers and Angels for six.

Twitter: jan_doh