On a night when the club would match a franchise record by blasting eight home runs, and score 15 runs over its final three at-bats, the tally that broke a 4-all tie in the fifth inning wa born from a steal. After singling to center, Shane Victorino swiped second base, took third when the throw got away, and scored on a sacrifice fly.
A night later, this time in New York, speed killed again for the Sox. The run that tied the game in the ninth, as well as the run that won the game in the 10th, both came after the winning run reached scoring position by way of a steal.
And as October approaches, bringing with it the type of tight baseball where every extra base can make a critical difference (hello, Dave Roberts), these past couple nights have shown just how much of a weapon the ability to steal bases could be for the Red Sox.
Lately, though, they haven't given up any. The Sox haven't been caught stealing since Ellsbury was nabbed on Aug. 8. Including three more Thursday, their last 27 steal attempts have been successful. According to the Globe's Peter Abraham, that's the longest streak any Sox team has experienced since folks started tracking the stat, which is a span of 85 years.
But what makes that even more impressive, and the stolen base even more of a weapon, is that these steals haven't been hollow. They haven't been three seconds of action and excitement and riskiness that winds up all for naught.
With Quintin Berry and Ellsbury crossing the plate, the Sox have now converted 15 of those 27 steals directly into runs.
That's 56 percent. By comparison, Boston has scored 32 percent of its baserunners overall this season
-- so in the instances where they've attempted to steal a base over the past month, they've improved their chances of scoring by roughly 75 percent.