"All good baserunners know where the defense is," manager Terry Francona said. "If you are a hair late, it isn't going to work. His instincts are so good.
"When he took off I actually thought he thought the ball went into center field," Francona added. "I thought he had one too many Red Bulls. It was great baserunning, and we really needed it."
Pedroia later stole another base in the third and tripled to lead off the eighth. He took the joke one step further, saying he would have tried for third even if the ball hadn't gotten away at all.
"I was going to go anyway," he said. "Just because. Red Bulls."
As a middle infielder, Pedroia knows how surprising a runner trying for the extra base can be.
"I think I did it a couple of years ago," he said. "Your first instinct, as a defender, you're not even thinking about that, so if you're able to steal a base and the throw is kind of up the line, you might as well go. It's such a tough play for them to catch it and tag you on the run, so you might as well take a chance."
With such a shift on, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Kuroda needed to be at third base.
"The pitcher is supposed to go over there," Torre said. "He's the only one who can. The catcher can't get there because he's throwing the ball. If it's a batted ball, he can. A stolen base, the pitcher is the closest guy."
The play resembled one involving former Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon, who ignited the Yankees in Game 4 of the 2009 World Series against the Phillies. With Mark Teixeira, another shift-inspiring hitter, at the plate, Damon stole second and then third when he ascertained it was uncovered. Damon received two stolen bases because his play, unlike Pedroia's, did not involve an errant throw.
But that play wasn't on Pedroia's mind.
"I wasn't watching. I was barbecuing," he said. "I have a life. If I'm not in it, I don't watch it."