When was the last time you saw a 5-8 forceout at second base on a bunt? Anyone? Bueller?
Watch this bit of baseball wonder above and you'll see the aforementioned abnormality courtesy of the St. Louis Cardinals. The play started with a mental lapse, but ended with enough hustle to make you forget something was wrong in the first place.
Here's how it unfolded: Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Edinson Volquez squared around to bunt with two runners on in the sixth inning. The Cardinals had put a play on for such an event, sending their shortstop to cover third base and their second baseman to cover first while the corner infielders charged. So far, so good.
When Volquez popped up the bunt and didn't quickly leave the batter's box, Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter decided it was better to let the ball drop and try to turn a double play. The ball hit the ground, he grabbed it and threw to second base. Did you pick up on the problem here? No one was covering second.
As the ball flew past second base, an alert Jon Jay rushed in from centerfield to grab the ball on a hop. He then sprinted toward second base to get the forceout that Carpenter had wanted but didn't completely think through.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny praised his guys after the game, brainfart and all. From MLB.com:
"That's just a heads-up play wanting to make something happen," Matheny said. "It was heads-up with Carp, too, except for the fact remembering what bunt play we had on and whether we do have coverage at second base."
Matheny's counterpart, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, said he'd never see anything like it on a pro field:
"Maybe in sandlots somewhere," Hurdle said. "But never in a Major League game."
The Pirates won the game 9-1, but at least the Cardinals can say they made the most memorable out.
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