Jacoby Ellsbury was shading Freddy Galvis to left field, playing him to go the opposite way, but when Galvis shot a ball to the gap in right-center with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Ellsbury knew he had no choice but to get on his horse and make the grab.
“If I don't catch that ball, probably three runs score,” he said. “Fortunately I was able to track it down.”
He ran a mile to make a grab that would preserve a solid one-run, six-inning performance in spot duty by Alfredo Aceves in the Red Sox' 9-3 win over the Phillies, adding a gem in the field to his 3-for-5 day at the plate and continuing to work himself out of a sluggish start to the season.
“I take pride in all facets of the game,” Ellsbury said.
After me made the snag, Aceves tried to hide his ear-to-ear grin with his glove. Between Ellsbury's catch, three double plays the Sox turned, and his own self-preservation grab on a come-backer, the Sox’ glovework helped Aceves pick up his second win of the season.
“We all take great pride in our defense and that's one thing that we feel we can always do well at is defense,” Ellsbury said."Tonight we were able to flash the leather a little bit.”
Over the past week, Ellsbury has seen his bat come to life. He’s gone 10 for his last 25 (.400) as he has patiently waited for some of his hard-hit outs to start dropping in.
“Just got to stick with the approach -- always talking about that -- and the game plan and I just know it's just a matter of time before things start falling and getting some results.
“Everybody goes through a little something where maybe it's not falling, but I look at everything. Everything looks good. The swing's there. So it's just a matter of time. The results are going to come in bunches.”
Throughout his career, Ellsbury has generally gotten off to lukewarm starts (.278 in March and April, .275 in May) and heated up as the season chugged along (.290 in June, .315 in July).
In the meantime, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said Ellsbury has found other ways to leave his mark on games.
“Ells has been doing a great job,” Saltalamacchia said. “His numbers aren't showing what he's been doing for us. Defensively-wise, he's been doing an unbelievable job. When he gets on base, things happen. It's a whole different ball game. Tonight he was able to put some hits together, and hopefully that gets him going. But he's been hitting the ball hard, just right at people and it gets frustrating sometimes.”
After coming through with the game-winning double Sunday and a three-hit night on Monday his average for the season ticked up to .257.
“It's good to see, especially at the top of the lineup,” said shortstop Stephen Drew. “He's swinging the bat good and taking good swings at good pitches and driving the ball. He's got a lot of power and I think it's coming around for him.”