BOSTON - Austin Jackson was out, and he knew it.
He had been sneaking off first base in the seventh inning of the Red Sox's 5-2 win over the Tigers in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday.
A player who consistently adds at least 1.0 wins-above-replacement per season in baserunning ability, Jackson was looking to steal a bag with the Tigers leading, 2-1. He had reached base more than 200 times during the regular season and been picked off just once. Jackson took a confident lead and got ready to go.
But Red Sox rookie pitcher Brandon Workman knew it.
Workman, who started the year in Double-A Portland, made Jackson look like a rookie. The pitcher got set, held his position long enough to make Jackson uncomfortable, and fired back to first base.
Jackson didn't see it coming. He was picked off for just the second time in 2013.
"Just trying to be too aggressive right there," he said afterward.
The Red Sox hadn't hesitated in putting their faith in Workman in big spots. He's pitched 5 1/3 innings this postseason and has yet to allow a run.
"Work's been one of those guys who comes in, any situation, and he throws strikes," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "He's never feeling antsy. He's always calm. It's tough to have a young guy come in the game like that in that situation, act so calm and throw strikes."
A starting pitcher his entire Minor League career, Workman has adapted to a relief role due to team needs.
"For this to be happening right now in my first year, it's absolutely unreal," he said.