Lowell's errors prove harmless
Third baseman commits three miscues in Boston's first victory
KANSAS CITY -- At the end of the worst defensive night of his career, Mike Lowell was afforded the luxury of a deep breath and an ice cream sandwich.
Typically a star on defense -- maybe the best glove-man the Red Sox have -- Lowell made a career-high three errors in Wednesday's contest.
But there was a catch on a night Lowell wishes he made a few more of them. His errors, two of which were back-to-back fielding miscues in the third inning, led to zero runs. Even better than that, the Red Sox downed the Royals, 7-1.
To put Lowell's night in perspective, consider that he made six errors all of last season. Not to mention the fact he won the National League Gold Glove Award at third base in 2005.
"I guess the only saving grace is that no runs came in after my debauchery at third," said Lowell.
And for that, Lowell would have to hand out two assists. The first would go to Josh Beckett. The second belonged to J.D. Drew.
With runners on first and second and one out, Beckett froze Mark Teahen on a 94-mph heater.
Then, Mike Sweeney smashed a liner toward the gap in right-center. But before you could say "two-run double," Drew, off with the crack of the bat, made the type of running catch the Red Sox envisioned when they signed him to a five-year, $70 million contract in December.
"I almost kissed J.D. Drew after he made that play in the gap," said Lowell. "I can deal with the errors. That's part of the game. But when runs come in after that, you really feel bad. J.D. made a great play. That's part of the game, guys picking each other up and it made me feel a lot better, it really did.
"No one is happy when you make an error, but for J.D. to make that play ... When he came in, I said, 'Nobody loves you more than me right now.' That's the mark of a good team."
In fairness to Lowell, it's not as if the two balls he misplayed were gimmes. The first was a hard-hit liner off the bat of David DeJesus that sort of deflected off the bottom of Lowell's glove. The second play was more of a spinning grounder that Lowell got caught in between on.
"I kind of played an in-between hop on the grass," said Lowell. "That's a bad judgment. I put myself in the wrong position right there."
But Beckett was thrilled to be able to take Lowell off the hook. The two share a friendship that goes back to their years in Florida together. It is the type of bond that can only be formed between men who have won a World Series together, as Lowell and Beckett did with the Marlins in 2003.
"As many times as he's picked me up in my career, I wanted to pick him up so bad," Beckett said. "That's why I was so pumped when we got that third out. It's not going to happen very often."
When Lowell completed the infamous trifecta, the Red Sox were one out away from victory. Instead, Lowell's throw short-hopped Kevin Youkilis. Not to worry though, Joel Pineiro finished off the game with a groundout by Tony Pena Jr.
In typical Lowell fashion, he made no excuses for his performance.
"I have no one to blame but myself," Lowell said. "Everyone is playing in the same conditions. There were plenty of plays to be made out there and I didn't do it."
Still, on manager Terry Francona's list of things to worry about, Lowell's defense is nowhere on the radar.
"His quota is done for a couple of months, so he'll be all right," said Francona.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.