"I talked to him early before the game," Santana said on Saturday. "I said, 'Don't run. I'm prepared for you.'"
Bonifacio, who entered Friday's action perfect in his first 20 stolen base attempts on the season, decided to test Santana's arm anyway. In the fifth inning of the Tribe's 3-2 loss to the Marlins, Bonifacio sprinted for second base and Santana came up firing, becoming the first catcher to throw the center fielder out this year.
Santana also threw out Omar Infante and Bryan Petersen in the game, marking the first time in the catcher's career that he nabbed three would-be basestealers in one contest. Over the past 15 seasons, only catchers Einar Diaz (July 18, 2001) and Eduardo Perez (May 27, 2002) have accomplished that feat for the Indians.
The Marlins had not been caught stealing three times in one game since 2006.
"Outstanding performance, especially against a team like that," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He has that potential. He has the ability to shut down the running game. [Bench coach and former catcher Sandy Alomar Jr.] deserves a lot of credit for the job he's done with him."
Coming off a left knee injury two offseasons ago, Santana was limited in how much work he could do with Alomar in Spring Training. This past spring, however, the catcher teamed with Alomar on becoming quicker with his footwork and release. Entering Saturday, Santana had thrown out 8-of-25 (32 percent) of baserunners this season.
Santana was tied for the American League lead for the most runners thrown out.
"I feel a lot better. I'm excited," Santana said. "Sandy has helped me a lot. He talks to me every inning. If I'm doing something wrong, he'll see it and tell me about my defense. That's great."
And Bonifacio might hesitate next time he tries to run on his friend.
"We had a bet," Acta said. "I told [Bonifacio] he wasn't going to leave Cleveland without getting thrown out. And, we threw him out."