Last season's postseason star Randy Arozarena at it again in Game 1

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Tomase: Arozarena does Arozarena things again in Game 1 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

No play better juxtaposed the dynamism of the Rays vs. the Red Sox playing flat-footed than Randy Arozarena's brazen straight-up steal of home.

With the Red Sox in the shift against left-handed hitter Brandon Lowe in the bottom of the seventh on Thursday, third baseman Rafael Devers was stationed well off the bag, allowing Arozarena to take a gargantuan lead. The Red Sox only paid perfunctory attention to the postseason standout, timing reliever Josh Taylor during the first three pitches of the at-bat. When Taylor, with his back to third, held his delivery in a hitch on a 1-2 pitch, Arozarena broke for the plate.

He was probably 15 feet from home by the time Taylor belatedly rushed his delivery, and Arozarena slid in easily with Tampa's fifth run, which loomed large half an inning later when the Red Sox loaded the bases with one out. Thanks to Arozarena's daring, not even a grand slam could've tied the game.

"They did a good job," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "He was playing with him the whole at-bat, right? We were close to him and then he got back to the bag, and then in that one he kind of timed him perfectly, and he took off. It caught everybody by surprise.

"It's a great baseball play. He had a great baseball game today. I think J.T. was actually paying attention, but he had Lowe with two strikes and probably the concentration was with the hitter. Just put him away, and Randy did an amazing job, and that was an amazing baseball play."

The Rays played with swagger and the Red Sox played on their heels, and they'll need to close the energy gap if they're to tie the American League Division Series in Friday's Game 2.

Corralling Arozarena would help, too. One year after making a thunderous playoff debut with an absurd 10 home runs in 20 games, Arozarena picked up right where he left off, blasting a mammoth homer off of Nick Pivetta and then capping his night with the steal of home. He also played an excellent left field, holding Hunter Renfroe to a single on a line drive off the base of the fence in the second.

The steal of home, that was one of the cooler things I've seen on a baseball field. Look, special player. He certainly gets up for the moment. He has proven that day in and day out, and definitely when it's postseason time.

Rays manager Kevin Cash on Randy Arozarena

"I noticed that the pitcher wasn't really watching for me or covering for me, and I saw the third baseman was pretty far away in respect to where I was at," Arozarena said through an interpreter. "I was looking over to (third base coach Rodney) Linares, telling him, 'Hey, I'm going to go, I'm going to go.' Peeked over and saw Cash give him the green light as well, so that's when I decided to take off."

On Thursday, Arozarena seized the moment. He has done a lot of that in his career. The Red Sox will need to match that intensity or they'll making plans for the winter this weekend.

"The steal of home, that was one of the cooler things I've seen on a baseball field," said Rays manager Kevin Cash. "Look, special player. He certainly gets up for the moment. He has proven that day in and day out, and definitely when it's postseason time."