Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals is the definition of a grizzled veteran.
But as the saying goes, “You see something new at the ballpark every day,” even if you’ve been around the game for a couple of decades.
Such was the case Tuesday when Wainwright found himself benefiting from an unusual play to end an inning.
The pitcher put himself into a jam by allowing two hits and walking one batter to fill the bases up in the second inning against the Washington Nationals.
His counterpart, pitcher Anibal Sanchez, came up to bat and hit a liner right back to the mound.
Wainwright didn’t have time to react, but the line drive was at the level of his feet. The Cards veteran simply watched the ball bounce off his right leg and deflect straight to the first baseman.
Paul Goldschmidt moved a few feet to scoop up the ball and calmly stepped on first to end the inning.
By escaping a bases-loaded jam through sheer luck, the Cardinals’ win expectancy jumped 7.5 percent, per FanGraphs.
St. Louis ended up beating the Nationals 3-2 with Wainwright (3-2) earning the victory. Afterward, he talked about the play of the game.
“He didn’t hit it. It might have looked like he hit it harder than he did,” the pitcher said. “It was off the very end. I had kind of timed it to where I could move my foot or not move my foot, but I wasn’t sure if that was going to get through or not. …
“Obviously, I got a very good bounce off it. … It couldn’t have worked out better on the bounce. … It was completely planned,” he joked.
— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) May 1, 2019
Wainwright also said since it wasn’t hit that hard, he took his chances by deflecting it and “it might have had the best bounce I’ve ever seen off a pitcher’s leg.”
That game was the fourth straight win for the Cardinals, who have won nine of their last 10 contests.
The Redbirds have the National League’s best record at 19-10, and they are three games ahead of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.