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Screened on play, Varitek makes costly mistake

The Sports Xchange
Notes, Quotes · Screened on play, Varitek makes costly mistake · Roster Report

Jason Varitek has been around for a long time, but he never saw a play like this.

With the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth inning Wednesday night, Varitek was at the center of a critical play that led to a four-run inning and helped Cleveland beat Boston 8-4. Indians center fielder Michael Brantley hit a soft liner to third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who dropped the ball, stepped on third base to record a forceout, then threw home to Varitek to get a double play.

One problem: Varitek, the Red Sox' backup catcher, never tagged the runner, allowing Travis Buck to be safe at the plate.

Later, Varitek indicated he was fuzzy on the rule.

"I'm trying to figure out -- it's probably the weirdest play I've ever been part of," said Varitek, the 39-year-old veteran who was making his first start of the season. "I'm trying to see and learn what I could have done different besides, obviously, tagging him. But I didn't actually see the play."

In truth, Varitek didn't see Youkilis touch third base. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez and pitcher Dan Wheeler said they tried to yell to Varitek to tag Buck, but the message didn't get out quickly enough.

"For me, it looked like, when he threw the ball, it was from behind the base, so I just tried to secure an out," Varitek said. "Obviously, he touched the bag as he threw the ball."

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