With the Boston Red Sox infield shifted to the right side during the first inning, Cano laid this unconventional bunt down the third-base line (courtesy of MLB.com):
Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe tweets that Boston might've secretly been satisfied with the result:
Lackey fans Soriano, now 5-38 against him. #RedSox probably didn't mind the bunt double given Cano's ability to put a ball across the street— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) September 13, 2013
Since 2009, the New York Yankees second baseman has nearly 29 home runs per season. Although Red Sox starter John Lackey was facing him with the bases empty, the team recognized that Cano could single-handedly turn a scoreless game into a 1-0 deficit.
The Red Sox wisely deterred him from taking a full swing by employing a shift and leaving shortstop Stephen Drew alone on the left side (h/t CBS Sports):
Cano often sees extreme shifts but seldom decides to outsmart his opponent.
Doing so in this situation could be interpreted as an act of selflessness, as he passed up the opportunity to put the Yankees ahead in order to get on base in front of Alfonso Soriano. Cano probably trusted Soriano to deliver considering the 37-year-old's second-half hot streak. Entering that game, he had driven in 47 runs in 45 games since accepting a trade to New York.
Then again, perhaps Cano actually had the most selfish of intentions, attempting the bunt to impress the media outlets and generate nationwide reaction. If that was the case, mission accomplished.
Regardless, most of the Twitterverse was impressed:
Robinson Cano with a bunt double against the shift. Pretty nifty.— D.J. Short (@djshort) September 13, 2013
that was the BEST double i've ever seen #Cano— vinny milano (@baldvinny) September 13, 2013
Cano's bunt for a double is the best thing ever.— Raquel (@Numbrocker02) September 13, 2013
That's right! Cano bunted for a double.— Kyle Robinson (@KyleDRobinson18) September 13, 2013
The biggest takeaway might be the fact that the superstar hustled for this two-bagger. The YES Network's Michael Kay—and countless others—have blasted Cano for jogging out of the batter's box rather than emulating Derek Jeter's run-like-your-hair-is-on-fire style. This perceived "laziness" occasionally prevents him from reaching base on grounders or stretching singles into doubles.
Could he have been conserving his energy all year for the urgency of the September playoff race? Prior to first pitch, the Yankees were a game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the American League's second wild-card spot and a mile behind Boston for the AL East lead.
Cano's bunt ultimately didn't result in a run, but his team will need to continue thinking outside the box to rally for a postseason berth.