Brewers swipe Ellsbury's history attempt
Sox speedster gets caught stealing for first time in his career
BOSTON -- A few weeks ago, a clubhouse visitor informed Jacoby Ellsbury that he was second all time to Tim Raines in consecutive stolen bases to start a Major League career, catching the young Red Sox speedster by surprise.
"Oh, really?" Ellsbury said at the time. "Oh, Major League? All time? I did not know. Now the pressure's on me to get that."
While he was joking about the pressure, any focus on Raines' record is now off as Ellsbury was caught stealing on Sunday for the first time in his young career. Since making his big league debut, Ellsbury had recorded 25 consecutive stolen bases -- 16 this season -- until he was caught trying to steal second base in the fourth inning of the Sox's 11-7 victory.
After a throw over to first base by Brewers starter Carlos Villanueva, who was attempting to hold Ellsbury at first, catcher Jason Kendall called a pitchout with a 1-1 count to Dustin Pedroia. Kendall's perfect throw to second baseman Rickie Weeks caught Ellsbury near his ankles before he slid into the base.
"At some point, if you're a base stealer, you're going to get thrown out," said Sox manager Terry Francona. "We talk a lot about not running into outs.
"But we don't want to take his aggressiveness away. He's been phenomenal. They picked the right pitch and got him. That'll happen from time to time. He's the type of runner that's making teams alter their approach, and we're OK with that."
While Ellsbury remains second all time to Raines, his 25 swipes are the Sox's record for consecutive stolen bases to start a career since caught stealing became an official statistic in 1920.
Ellsbury, who has the green light most of the time, admitted that it was strange to be caught. In three Minor League seasons, he recorded 105 stolen bases, getting caught 27 times for a 80 percent success rate.
"Yeah, I didn't know what to do," Ellsbury said of being caught. "It would have been nice to continue it. But if you steal enough, you're going to get caught.
"I knew I hadn't been caught. I wasn't sure how many I had up to that point. It was just a matter of time."
But if all good things must come to an end, there's always tomorrow.
"I guess if you're stealing enough, you're going to be caught eventually," Ellsbury said. "So I'll start a new one tomorrow."
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.