BOSTON (CBS) – While the Red Sox dropped their second in a row to the Oakland Athletics 4-2 Wednesday night, it was a promising debut for third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

Called up from Pawtucket for the injured Kevin Youkilis, Middlebrooks debuted at the hot corner for Boston and hit eighth, going 2-for-3 at the dish with a double and a stolen base.

The 23-year-old, ranked Boston’s top prospect by, walked on four pitches in his first at bat and later stole second, but was stranded when Marlon Byrd struck out to end the inning. Middlebrooks picked up his first Major League hit on a chop single to third in the fifth inning.

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He followed up his first hit with a double to right, but struck out in his final at-bat of the evening to end the eighth inning with a runner on second.

Middlebrooks also looked steady in the field, handling both of his opportunities at third. He easily took care of a slow roller off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes in the second, and made a nice 5-3 play on a Brandon Inge hard-hopper with two on and two out in the fourth inning.

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“I wish we could be in there all celebrating, sharing the delight that he would really have if this was a victory, but this was a terrific game he played,” manager Bobby Valentine said of Middlebrooks after the game. “Nice defense, the walk, the hustle on the stolen base; he was one of the right-handers to go with that cutter to right field (on his double in the seventh). He did a good job.”

Middlebrooks hit .333 with nine home runs and 27 RBI in 24 games for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox before being called up.

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