With Wily Mo Pena ready to return, Willie Harris’s days with the Red Sox could be winding down. One of his final Fenway acts could be getting caught in a run down in the ninth inning of Boston’s 5-4 loss to the Oakland A’s in 11 innings on Thursday night.
Harris, who was pinch running for Trot Nixon who opened the ninth with a walk, was picked off by A’s pitcher Kiko Calero — caught stealing 1-3-6-1-4 if you were scoring at home. He was booed off the field by the Fenway fans, who were hoping he would come around and break a 3-3 tie.
Harris said he wasn’t trying to steal off Calero.
“The hit and run play was on, so obviously I’m not trying to steal a base there,” said Harris. “Personally, I thought he balked. Not only me a couple of guys on the bench said, ‘Willie did he balk?’ I said, ‘I don’t know. I thought he did.’ The umpire didn’t call it, so what else can you do? You’re out.”
Harris has had a tough luck stay with the Red Sox. He’s batting just .159, but only has 44 at bats in 44 games with the Sox and only 10 at-bats since the start of June. Those numbers don’t figure to go up with Pena’s Pawtucket stint expected to end within the next few days.
Harris admitted it’s tough not playing.
“It’s definitely difficult,” he said, his White Sox World Series ring glittering on his hand. “Everybody wants to play, man. Everybody can’t play. You only got nine spots out there. If you get to a point where you don’t want to be on the field you don’t need to be trying to play baseball anymore.
“I ain’t never going to reach that point because I know my abilities. If it’s not here, it will be somewhere else.”
One place it won’t be is Pawtucket, where he started the season before being called up April 20.
“Nah, that ain’t happening. No way am I going back there.”
— Mark Loretta said he simply took his eye off the ball that Bobby Kielty hit to him with one out in the seventh inning. Loretta’ error — his fourth of the season — allowed Oakland to tie the game, 3-3, as both Antonio Perez and Jason Kendall scored. Perez would have scored from third even if Loretta fielded the ball cleanly, but Kendall came around all the way from second.
“I took my eye off it for a second and when I came back it was gone,” said Loretta, who said he peaked at Perez for an instant. “It was a mental lapse. I tried to do too much.”
— This stat courtesy of the Sox crack PR staff — including Boston’s 6-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox in 19 innings last Sunday, the Sox have now played 30 innings of baseball in 10 hours and 42 minutes in their last two games. The Chicago game was played in a tidy 6 hours and 19 minutes. The loss to Oakland took 4 hours and 23 minutes.
— David Ortiz’s ground-rule double in the third was the 250th two-base hit of his career.