Steve Pearce continues hard, good play on base paths in Orioles' win

September 08, 2014|By Dan Connolly | The Baltimore Sun

First baseman Steve Pearce had two hits and an RBI in the Orioles’ 4-0 win Monday night against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

His biggest contribution, though, may have been in the sixth inning, when he ran hard to second base and slid toward Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. He not only broke up a potential inning-ending double play, but Bogaerts threw the ball away, basically allowing two runs to score.

“It was a big part of the game,” Pearce said. “That gave us two more insurance runs, so to me, I think that was a big turning point.”

Replays showed that Pearce was close enough to the base that he wasn’t going to be called for targeting Bogaerts. And Boston manager John Farrell said as much Monday night. He said the real problem is that it was a tough throw for Bogaerts to make with the pitcher charging to first base to cover.

"It’s a hard slide. He didn’t go away from the base. He still was able to make contact. He did put his arms up,” Farrell said. “[Bogaerts] sees the pitcher as the backside receiver there. He’s looking for the timing of the play to unfold rather than turn it as he might otherwise with a first baseman there. The throw ends up being short.”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter didn’t like the insinuation that Pearce may have done anything wrong but make a good baseball slide.

“What else would it be? He’s fine. That's baseball,” Showalter said. “We'd feel the same way if they did it. We don't think twice about it, and I don't think they do, either.”

Pearce had a similar situation earlier this year when he slid into third base against the New York Yankees to break up a double play. He actually went hard into Kelly Johnson, who is now with the Orioles, and manager Joe Girardi took some offense. It all blew over, of course.

That’s the way Pearce plays. He’s not dirty at all. Frankly, he’s one of the nicest guys on the team. But if he thinks he can do something to save an out for the Orioles, he’s going to do it.

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