BOSTON -- Those who stuck around Fenway Park for a high-scoring affair in the nightcap of a doubleheader late Monday night were treated with one of the rarer plays in baseball: an inside-the-park home run.
With the Red Sox clinging to a two-run lead in the seventh inning and the Orioles already using their fifth pitcher of the game, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a deep drive to center field that caromed off the bullpen railing and rolled past charging outfielder Matt Angle. Once Ellsbury saw the bounce, he sped into overdrive, sprinting around the bases and crossing home plate standing up.
"When I hit it, I was hoping it was going to get out," he said after Boston's 18-9 win. "And once I saw it hit the wall, I saw it carom and I thought I had a pretty good shot at getting an inside-the-park home run. And when I saw [third-base coach Tim Bogar] waving me, I knew it was going to happen."
Asked what was more thrilling, his steal of home against the Yankees in 2009 or his first inside-the-park homer, that was an easy decision -- the steal of home. He only had to run 90 feet.
"It's tiring," he said of the home run. "I'd rather it just went over the fence. But it was exciting, obviously my first one. It was fun."
It was Ellsbury's 28th homer of the season, but the first time in his career he hit one that stayed in the park. It was also his 78th extra-base hit of 2011, placing him behind only Fred Lynn (82) for most in a season by a Red Sox center fielder.
Strangely enough, the homer came off Jeremy Accardo, who had also given up an inside-the-park home run to Evan Longoria earlier this season at Camden Yards.
The last Boston player to hit one was Kevin Youkilis, who accomplished the feat on May 28, 2007, against the Indians.
"He was going full speed," David Ortiz said of Ellsbury's hit. "How many [people] can do that here? Not that many. That should be a homer anyway."
Jason Mastrodonato is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.