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April 27, 2009

A steal of epic proportions

BOSTON — Jacoby Ellsbury had better get used to it.

Everywhere he goes, probably for the rest of his life, Boston Red Sox fans will remind him of that chilly night on April 26, 2009 when he scored the third run of a 4-1 win over the New York Yankees.

While they will forget that score and which run it was, they will never forget how he did it — by stealing home.

With two outs in the fifth inning and Ellsbury on third base, the Red Sox speedster took off for home plate as Yankees starter Andy Pettitte nonchalantly went about his full windup.

Almost stumbling about 10 feet from home plate, Ellsbury dove head first and easily scored before catcher Jorge Posada realized what had happened.

"I wish I could tell you how smart I was," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "It was all Jacoby."

Francona basically said a manager would never tell a player to steal home. Rather, the player has to see the opportunity and just go.

Ellsbury is the first Red Sox player to steal home since Jose Offerman did it on Aug. 30, 1999. But that has an asterisk. It was on the back end of a double steal in the 5th inning against the Kansas City Royals.

The real comparison is to ex-Red Sox outfielder Billy Hatcher, who pulled off a "straight steal of home" on April 22, 1994.

Sox hang 10

The Red Sox tonight won their 10th straight game, the longest winning streak in the majors this season and the club's longest since a 12-gamer from June 16-29, 2006. It is the club's longest ever in April and the majors' longest winning streak during the month since Seattle won 10 in a row from April 8-17, 2002.

Home sweet home

The Red Sox were 3-6 and in last place in the AL East when they boarded a late afternoon flight from San Francisco to Boston.

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