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MLB: Crawford steals show against Sox

By Fred Goodall
Associated Press
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. ó Carl Crawford slid into second base, tying a modern major league record with six stolen bases. The crowd of 32,332 roared, and the Tampa Bay Rays immediately flashed a message on the scoreboard acknowledging the feat.
Everybody in the building seemed to know what was going on. That is, except Crawford, who was aware of how many steals he had but had no clue that just three other players had accomplished the same since 1900.
“I found that out late. I wish I had known during the game,” said Crawford, who got No. 6 in the eighth inning of the Rays’ 5-3 win over Boston.
“I probably would have broken it if I knew. I’d have definitely tried. I didn’t even try. I don’t know if that will ever happen again.”
Crawford, who was 4-for-4 at the plate with an RBI, joined Eddie Collins, Otis Nixon and Eric Young as the only players to steal six bases in a game. Collins did it twice in 1912, while Nixon and Young did it in 1991 and 1996, respectively.
“We don’t really talk stats during the game. Everybody’s focused on the game, so nobody said nothing,” Crawford said.
So, what about the message on the large video screen and the loud ovation from the crowd?
“Oh, that’s what they were cheering about,” Crawford said. “I thought they were just cheering. I didn’t look. I was paying attention to the game.”
James Shields shrugged off a shaky start to pitch into the eighth inning, and Tampa Bay won three of four in the series, outscoring the Red Sox 30-15 to improve to 5-2 against their AL East rivals this season. The Rays had dropped six consecutive series since taking two of three from Boston when the teams met at Fenway Park the opening week of the season.
Jason Bartlett and Michel Hernandez stole bases for the Rays, who finished with a franchise record eight. Crawford moved ahead of Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury (13) as the major league steals leader with 17.
“He’s good,” Boston catcher Jason Varitek said, “and he’s got the speed to go along with it.”
Crawford’s second infield single of the day, coming after Bartlett stole third, drove in an insurance run in the eighth.
The four-time AL stolen base champion had an uncontested steal of third in the fifth inning. With two outs in the eighth, he swiped second for the fifth time.

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