"Wow!" ESPN broadcaster Dan Shulman said after Boston Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski and rookie third baseman Brock Holt! teamed up — in a way — for a putout on a pop up to retire Victor Martinez of the Detroit Tigers for the final out of the seventh inning Sunday night.
Pierzynski tracked Martinez's weak pop over to near the front row of Fenway seats, perhaps 15 feet to the left of the visitor's dugout and just in front of the fence. Holt came over too, just in case, and it was a good thing because the ball slipped out of Pierzynski's mitt and went right toward Holt, who reached out with his bare hand for the catch. Pierzynski propped himself up against the padded fence to stop his momentum and raised his right fist in team triumph. It definitely was a "Wow!" moment.
Shulman then said something odd, asking if both players could get credit for the catch. And not credit in the sense of the baseball rules for statistical purposes (it's a 2-5 putout) but in the sense of the "award" that his network passes out periodically for great defense. He was half-joking, but only half and analyst John Kruk — in a stunning role reversal — responded as the voice of reason:
"A.J. dropped it! That ain't a Web Gem" for him, Kruk said.
Kruk, while a curmudgeon in this case, also is right. That's a mitt, not a cesta.
Holt is at least the second guy this year to benefit after a catcher lost possession of a pop up. Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox made an even more impressive catch on a rebound from Adrian Nieto in April. Yes, between the legs with no hands trumps bare hand and no thighs.
Still, let's not short Brock Holt! on his due credit. For his head's up, hand-out play, The Stew can only exclaim:
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