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Davis' disruptive style on bases paying off

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BOSTON -- Edward Mujica made three pickoff throws to second base Saturday night before he threw his first pitch to the plate. If there was any further example needed of how Rajai Davis can dispupt an opponent while on the basepaths, that was it.

"We were talking about it," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. "I don't think I've ever seen someone pick [off] to second three times in a row."

Davis couldn't remember that happening before, either.

"That's amazing," Davis said. "I can't remember [another] time. But I did play under John Farrell, and they have an idea what kind of guy I am on the bases. They know."

They should. Farrell, now the Red Sox manager, managed Davis in Toronto two years ago. Davis stole 46 bases that season, though he also was caught 13 times.

More importantly, when Farrell took the Red Sox job in 2013, Davis swiped 10 of his 45 bases against Boston, easily more than he did against any other opponent. It was the first time he stole double-digit bases against one team in a single season.

The only other opponent to give up at least five stolen bases to Davis last season was the Yankees (six).

Ironically, the extra attention Saturday backfired. After Mujica finally delivered to the plate, he picked off to second again. This time, he misfired. The ball ended up in center field as Davis moved easily to third base, from where he scored on Ian Kinsler's sacrifice fly to earn Detroit its sixth and final run of the night.

It was an example of something Ausmus has mentioned since Spring Training, that a basestealer's effectiveness can also be tracked by how much he can get a pitcher off his game.

"It worked into our advantage," Davis said. "If they're focused on me, you can't focus on two things and be successful at the highest level. You can get one guy or the other."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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