Perfect relay highlights Pedroia's eventful night

Perfect relay highlights Pedroia's eventful night

Perfect relay highlights Pedroia's eventful night
ANAHEIM -- Erick Aybar sprayed the ball into the right-field corner to open the bottom of the eighth inning on Thursday night and the Red Sox appeared to be in big trouble.

As Aybar motored around second base, Dustin Pedroia hauled in J.D. Drew's relay throw in short right field. All Pedroia did was make a perfect peg to third to nail Aybar.

Instead of a leadoff triple, the Red Sox had a leadoff out. The game was tied at the time, and Boston went on to beat the Angels, 4-2, in 11 innings.

As far as Red Sox manager Terry Francona was concerned, it was typical Pedroia.

"Pedey just wills himself," Francona said. "I've said this about [Derek] Jeter. They want him to have something to do with the outcome of the game. That's how we feel about Pedey. Whether it's offensively, defensively, he's a great player. But you see the best of him when the game is close and on the line."

To Pedroia, the throw was a payoff to the monotony of Spring Training.

"That's why in Spring Training, I don't screw around with that," Pedroia said. "I always try to get my legs underneath me. I don't ever go 50 percent in those drills. It's going to come down to three or four games a year that if we make a good throw, we win. Tonight was one of those games, so practice pays off."

The Red Sox were just happy to have Pedroia in the game during crunch time. In the top of the third, Pedroia jammed his left foot while stealing third. That wouldn't be such a big deal if it wasn't the same foot he fractured last June.

After a visit from the trainers, Pedroia was able to stay in the game.

"I'm all right," Pedroia said. "I just landed awkwardly. It was nice that [Francona and trainer Mike Reinold] came out there and gave me a minute to get feeling back in my foot, so it was good."

Did Pedroia fear the worst?

"Not really," Pedroia said. "The worst has already happened. I've already broken my foot. I don't play scared. To be honest with you, it was just kind of a stinger. My leg, kind of, I don't even know what it was. It took a couple of minutes to get the feeling back in there. Once that half inning was over, I felt fine. I just landed weird."