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Youkilis' defense is as good as gold

Youkilis' defense is as good as gold

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BALTIMORE -- With no fanfare to speak of, Kevin Youkilis put his name into the American League record book on Friday night by playing his 179th consecutive errorless game at first base.

Youkilis broke the mark set by Mike Hegan, who played 178 games at first without a defensive snafu from Sept. 24, 1970-May 20, 1973.

Steve Garvey holds the all-time record by playing 193 straight games at first without an error from June 26, 1983-April 14, 1985. Youkilis could conceivably break Garvey's record this season, as the Red Sox have 20 games left to go.

What does such an accomplishment say about Youkilis?

"I think it says he should win a Gold Glove," said Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell.

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was also equally impressed.

"That's awesome," Pedroia said. "He plays a Gold Glove first base over there. He makes my job a lot easier. He takes away that hole and does a phenomenal job. Anytime you throw a ball in the dirt, everyone has confidence he's going to pick it. It's huge."

Never one to talk about an individual accomplishment, Youkilis -- Boston's first baseman in the past two seasons -- was low key about the record.

"I don't even think about it," Youkilis said. "I just try to play first base as well as I can and do my job out there. I worked a lot in the Minor Leagues on my defense and tried to improve dramatically. [I] felt like I made a lot of strides at third base. Making strides at third base and learning how to play the position allowed me to play better across the bag. It means a lot to play defense. Even if you don't hit that day, you could make one great play to save a game."

Red Sox manager Terry Francona noted that Youkilis set the record while playing an aggressive style of defense.

"I don't think it's just consistency," Francona said. "I think that's a good word. But there's guys that go out and not make errors, and that's good, but he makes all the plays. He doesn't shy away from making plays. He'll make a throw to any base. He's done a very good job. He's very reliable. Again, he shows up for every play. He always does. I think that kind of shows."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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