Johnny Damon also pulled it off during a big moment in the 2009 World Series — stealing two bases on one pitch. The stakes weren't as high Wednesday afternoon in Grapefruit League play, but credit Baltimore Orioles star Adam Jones for finding vulnerability in the Tampa Bay Rays' defensive alignment.
With the Rays employing an exaggerated shift because slugger Chris Davis usually pulls the ball to right field, nobody was covering third base during Jones' attempted steal of second with two outs in the first inning. After making it easily to the bag with no throw from the catcher, Jones turned the corner and sprinted to third — with nothing but open territory greeting him.
Cole Figueroa, the Rays third baseman who was at second in case of a throw from the catcher, chased Jones but was no match for his speed. Rays catcher Curt Casali shuffled up the third-base line hoping to throw to someone, but Jones made it to the bag easily for his second stolen base on the play without a throw. Meanwhile, right-hander Mark Lowe stood on the mound flummoxed. After reaching first on an error, Jones had gotten a huge jump on Lowe's delivery for the first stolen base. Lowe compounded his lack of attention to Jones by not covering third base. He's the guy that has to get to the bag when the shift is on.
Davis beat the shift again by finding grass in right field with a two-out RBI single.
The Rays won 7-4 after they got another big day from Wil Myers, but manager Joe Maddon might want to have the team work on its base coverage during the shift — even though the players who got beat weren't front-line players.
Jones gets a gold star for his baserunning.
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