Rays score game-winning run on incredible slide when runner looked out by a mile
One of the first things young baseball players learn in Little League is to always listen to their coaches.
Normally, that’s a good idea. Coaches are, after all, in a position of authority for a reason, as it’s their job to make the big decisions that will best utilize their players’ talents.
When players ignore their coaches, things often end poorly. Sometimes, however, ignoring a coach pays off, like when Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria ran right through third-base coach Matt Quatraro’s stop sign on Monday night.
Of course, there might not have been a happy ending to this story had Hechavarria not been able to pull off an incredible slide at the plate that allowed him to score what would end up being the game-winning run.
In the sixth inning of a tied game against the Kansas City Royals, Hechavarria was the runner on second base with Matt Duffy at the plate.
On the first pitch of the at-bat, Duffy singled to right field.
“It was a line drive to right field, and I saw (right fielder Jorge) Soler go to his left,” Hechavarria said after the game via an interpeter, according to MLB.com. “So I figured I had a chance and just went.”
Quatraro opted not to wave Hechavarria around third, thinking the throw to the plate would arrive in time for Royals catcher Slavador Perez to nab him.
But Hechavarria was going anyway. “At that point I was just going 100 percent full speed and kept going,” he said.
Soler’s throw was a good one, and Perez had the ball in his glove with what seemed like plenty of time to tag out the runner.
However, in order to avoid the tag, Hechavarria simply ran around Perez. Then, he slid into home and landed flat on his stomach on the other side of the plate. Perez attempted to tag him, but Hechavarria quickly pulled his right hand out of the way and instead touched the plate with his left hand.
Hechavarria was safe, and the Rays took a 2-1 lead.
Here it is from another angle. You can see how Hechavarria kept faking Perez out until he finally snuck his left hand past the catcher’s glove to score the run.
“That was pure instinct, I went in thinking I’m going in to slide, but he was right there blocking the plate,” Hechavarria said. “So I went around, I was going to put one hand in, and I saw he was going to put one hand there, so I flipped and put the other hand in there just in time.”
Perez, meanwhile, praised Hechavarria for his amazing slide. Perez said he tried to follow Hechavarria’s body movements, but ultimately failed.
“He just moved to the other side,” Perez told reporters. “I tried to follow him, follow his body. He did a tremendous job changing hands. You guys saw that. That’s pretty good for him.”
“I went for the right hand first, but as soon as he saw me go outside, he changed to the left and I was too late. That was a great slide for him. Yeah, in that moment I thought I almost got him a little bit because I felt something. But he was safe,” the Royals catcher added.
Hechavarria even earned the praise of his manager, Kevin Cash, who admitted that things don’t always work out this well when a player ignores his third-base coach. This time, though, was the exception to that rule.
“Running through a stop sign, I guess he felt like being acrobatic,” Cash said, according to The Tampa Bay Times. “That was a really impressive slide. We’re probably not going to benefit from those decisions too often, but it was nice that we did tonight.”
Neither team would score again in the game, and the Rays won 2-1.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.