Man of Steal: Ellsbury swipes five, sets club mark

Red Sox center fielder first big leaguer to achieve feat since Crawford in '09

Man of Steal: Ellsbury swipes five, sets club mark

PHILADELPHIA -- The Incredible Hulk -- actor Lou Ferrigno -- got some attention before the game when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch. However, once the game started, it was all about the Man of Steal.

That nickname would be appropriate for Jacoby Ellsbury on many nights, but never more than on Thursday, when he set a Red Sox record by stealing five bases in his team's 9-2 victory over the Phillies.

Ellsbury became the first Major Leaguer to steal five bases in a game since Carl Crawford against the Red Sox on May 3, 2009. He broke his own team record, which was shared by Jerry Remy.

In a classy gesture, the Phillies took the second-base bag off the field following the game and gave it to Ellsbury as a souvenir.

"It's pretty neat," said Ellsbury. "They told me they were going to give me the bag. I wasn't expecting that. I'm sure I'll have the Red Sox make me something nice to put at the house."

Considering how long the Red Sox have been around, Ellsbury understands the significance of outdoing every other baserunner in club history.

"To have a single-game record like that is pretty special," said Ellsbury.

Perhaps this record never would have been set if not for Phillies reliever Jeremy Horst belting Ellsbury with a pitch one pitch after Jonny Gomes smoked a pinch-hit home run.

"It definitely lit the fire a little bit," said Ellsbury. "I knew I was going to try to get to third in the least amount of pitches as possible."

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel thinks his team should have paid closer attention to the speedster.

"I know Ellsbury getting on and the way he was getting a walking lead, I know we definitely can stop that," Manuel said. "I mean, we've got to stop it. All you've got to do is hold the ball or step off. You can do whichever one you want to do. I don't care as long as we stop him. But you cannot not just look over there or just kind of glance and go back, set and throw. Those are things we have to work on. We can stop that from happening."

It was a big all-around night for Ellsbury, who went 3-for-4 and reached base five times.

Of late, Ellsbury has been on fire, going 16-for-40 (.400 average) with six walks in his last 10 games.

The center fielder quietly started to build momentum in Chicago last week. Then, he ripped a walk-off double against the Indians on Sunday.

"I think the biggest thing is my work ethic, how much time I put in the batting cage and whatnot," said Ellsbury. "That builds confidence. I knew it was just a matter of time before stuff starts falling. You just try to continue to grind ABs. I knew over the long haul, good things were going to happen when you work hard and stay confident in yourself."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.