Pedroia on Lee's popup: 'Has to be caught'

April, 27, 2011
BALTIMORE -- It went into the scorebook as a double. But there was little doubt that by the reckoning of second baseman Dustin Pedroia and manager Terry Francona, someone should have made the play on Derrek Lee's pop fly into short center field in the fourth inning of Wednesday night's 5-4 loss to the Orioles.

The man who looked like he had the best shot at catching the ball, center-fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, was a bit more vague in his take on the play, other than to say that for a split second he broke back on the play.

The mishandled hit had a significant impact on the course of the game. Had it been caught, it would have been the second out of the inning. Instead, Lee was on second when Vladi Guerrero broke his bat on a soft liner to short, and Luke Scott and Adam Jones followed with home runs off Josh Beckett that gave the Orioles a 4-0 lead.

"Obviously that was a huge play,'' Francona said. "Any time you give extra outs, it doesn't just have to be an error. It looked like Jacoby broke back, because he was coming hard. But the ball was up there a long time. You could see Pedey fighting it. Again, it's not an error, but you give them an extra opportunity, it ends up being three runs.''

Pedroia was still peeved after the game. Asked what happened on the play, he said: "It fell.''

A miscommunication?

"I don't know, man. It's got to be caught, though. I'm not sure. You got to ask him [Ellsbury].''

It was noticeable that Pedroia, as stand-up as anyone in the Sox clubhouse, didn't say he should have caught the ball.

"It sucks,'' he said. "We want to win. We're upset. We want to win every game. We hit the ball pretty good, but other than Youks' home run, we had nothing really to show for it.''

Kevin Youkilis had pulled the Sox back from a 4-0 deficit with a three-run home run in the top of the eighth, but the Orioles scored the deciding run in the bottom of the inning off Daniel Bard.

Ellsbury's take on the play? He said he was playing Lee toward the gap in left center when he initially broke back on the ball, which was hit on the right side of second base. Did that cost him a chance at making the catch?

"It fell in between us,'' he said.

Did either player call for the ball?

"I haven't talked to him about it,'' Ellsbury said. "Obviously we'd have liked to make that play for Josh.''

Did he call for it?

"No, it just kind of fell in there. That's about it.''

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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