When a fan thinks of the players most likely to make a difference on the basepaths, names like Billy Hamilton and Mike Trout jump to mind. Jose Abreu does not fit that bill. He hasn't stolen a single base since the 2014 season, and he's much more known as a power threat.
That doesn't mean he has bad instincts on the basepaths, though. Thanks to his keen baseball mind (and Trevor Cahill), he achieved an unusual feat in the bottom of the fourth inning on Saturday night's 5-4 win over the Padres by scoring on three consecutive wild pitches in the same at-bat.
Manager Rick Renteria wasn't sure if he'd seen that happen before, but he commended Abreu's baserunning. "Pito did a great job of advancing on balls in the dirt," he said to MLB.com's Scott Merkin. "He got to second, he got to third, and obviously the last one gets completely away. But he did a great job just to put himself in a position to be there."
Players score on three straight wild pitches every now and then. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees' Rob Refsnyder was the last to do it, on Aug. 10 of last year against the Red Sox. However, Abreu became the first White Sox player to turn this trick since another unlikely suspect -- catcher J.C. Martin on July 14, 1961.
Like Abreu, Martin was a first baseman on this particular night against the Yankees. He only ended up with nine stolen bases during his 14 years in the Majors, a far cry from fleet-footed teammates Luis Aparicio and Minnie Minoso.
Martin was in the right place at the right time with the right wild arm on the mound, though. Pitcher Rollie Sheldon was just as erratic as Cahill, and with Martin on first after a single (coincidentally, also in the bottom of the fourth), Sheldon uncorked three wild pitches in a row to allow him to score. The White Sox went on to win, 6-1.
Abreu's run turned out to be even more essential than Martin's, as it helped the White Sox eke out a "wild" one-run victory.