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Daniel Bard showed once again why he loves these sort of moments

08.21.11 at 6:58 pm ET

KANSAS CITY ‘€“ It has become Daniel Bard‘€™s favorite pastime, and for good reason.

As he says, ‘€œYou’€™re saving the game, even though it’€™s not necessarily getting the save.’€

The latest edition of the moment the reliever relishes perhaps above all others came in the seventh inning during the Red Sox‘€™ 6-1 win over the Royals Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.

With runners on first and second, nobody out and the Red Sox clinging to a two-run lead, Bard was called upon to face one of the American League‘€™s best bunters in Alcides Escobar (who has the third-most sacrifices in the majors with 14).

After two failed bunt attempts, and two more foul balls, Bard whiffed the shortstop. That paved the way for an Alex Gordon fly out and Melky Cabrera ground out, ending the inning and the threat.

Bard had done it again ‘€“ come in, with the game on the line, and put out the late-inning fire.

‘€œI enjoy doing it,’€ he said. ‘€œClean innings all the time, they’€™re probably better for your arm and a little less stressful. But it’€™s fun to have one of these every once in a while, to be able to play a big part in winning a game.’€

Since coming into the majors in 2009, Bard has become of the best in the majors at executing such tasks. Perhaps his first signature moment came in Game 3 of the ‘€™09 American League Division Series, when he came on with nobody out in the sixth inning, the Sox holding a 5-1 lead, and the bases loaded full of Angels.

The then-rookie induced a 5-4-3 double play grounder, and infield pop up to limit what could have, at the time, been disastrous.

A trend had been set in motion.

‘€œI think it definitely helps to know you’€™ve done it before. You’€™ve come in, have two or three guys on and gotten out of it unharmed,’€ Bard said. ‘€œKnow you’€™ve done it before definitely lets you pitch with more confidence and lets you be able to pitch for strikeouts in that situation, or at least for that first out. It was big.”

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