In baseball, double plays are nearly as common as pine tar and sunflower seeds.
But on Tuesday, the Blue Jays turned the kind of double play you don’t see every day — and it helped them preserve a victory over the New York Yankees.
With the Blue Jays up 4-2, the Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu doubled to lead off the seventh inning and put a runner in scoring position.
That’s when Blue Jays’ second baseman Eric Sogard and shortstop Freddy Galvis got together to discuss the possibility of turning two, according to Sportsnet, even though first base was open and they wouldn’t be able to get a force out at second.
With a slow runner in Luke Voit at the plate, the two middle infielders concocted a plan where they would try to catch LeMahieu napping at second and tag him out before throwing the ball to first to complete the double play.
For that to happen, there would have to be a sharply hit ground ball to either one of the infielders, as well as quick reactions by both to ensure the timing was right.
But Voit ended up striking out, which put the plan on hold. However, the next Yankees batter, catcher Gary Sanchez, was another heavy-footed runner.
And with Sanchez at the plate, the plan worked to perfection.
Sanchez hit a sharp one-hopper right at Galvis, who barely had to move before collecting the ball in his glove.
LeMahieu’s first instinct was to run on contact on a grounder, so he took a step toward third base before trying to turn around and go back to second.
However, Sogard fulfilled his end of the deal, as he beat LeMahieu to second base, received the throw from Galvis and tagged out LeMahieu.
He then completed the double play with a strong throw to first base to get Sanchez.
“The situation’s going to dictate when you do it,” Galvis said later, according to Sportsnet. “Especially with a slow runner at home plate, that’s when you do it.”
“Sure enough, it worked on the next batter,” Sogard, a 9-year MLB veteran, said. “It was definitely one of the cooler double plays I’ve been a part of. It’s something I’ve never seen.”
“I’ve literally never seen that,” Sogard said. “Now we know at least it’s possible.”
Thanks to the rarely-before-seen double play, the Blue Jays’ win probability jumped from 79 percent before Sanchez’s at-bat to 89 percent after the double play.
Blue Jays starter Clayton Richard, who’s been in the big leagues since 2008, echoed Sogard’s sentiment.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a play like that,” Richard said. “That’s two guys thinking ahead of the game and being on the same page. That’s pretty special.”
The Yankees would score one more run in the game, but Toronto held on for the 4-3 victory to put an end to their six-game losing streak.
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