After muffing Mike Trout's hit to left field, Yoenis Cespedes seemed on the verge of handing the Oakland Athletics opponent a one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. Trying to take advantage, Howie Kendrick of the Los Angeles Angels raced around third base and appeared a sure bet to cross home plate and break a tie.
That's when Cespedes uncorked an astonishing throw, from about 310 feet away, that reached the mitt of catcher Derek Norris on the fly — and just in time for him to put the tag on a stunned Kendrick.
Out at the plate!
Cespedes' throw seemed impossible, but it happened, and was perhaps the most impressive throw a major league outfielder has made since Bo Jackson's legendary BB at the Seattle Kingdome to nail Harold Reynolds at the plate in 1989.
Brandon Moss, the A's right fielder, also threw out a runner at the plate. But that play wasn't anything like what Cespedes did, A's manager Bob Melvin said:
"Cespedes's one, I mean, you don't expect something like that. We know he's got a great throwing arm. That's just a, heh, there just aren't too many guys in the game that are able to have that kind of arm strength to throw it the whole way on the fly. And, kind of, on the run and off balance."
Cespedes had saved the A's bacon at the moment, but not in the long run. Collin Cowgill homered in the bottom of the 14th to give the Angels a 2-1 victory. Why Cespedes couldn't scale the fence, jump into the bullpen and catch Cowgill's homer, nobody will ever explain.
But we'll always have his throw, which the husband of San Francisco Chronicle reporter Susan Slusser dubbed:
"Throw-enis Cespedes." You wish you had thought of it!
Perhaps you prefer this angle:
Umpires took a few minutes to double check via replay review, but that just gave fans watching on TV extra opportunities to see Cespedes do his stuff again — and to look for details.
• Batting Stance Guy — also known as Gar Ryness — happened to be in the stands at the "Big A" in Anaheim and noticed that Cespedes looked toward home plate before picking up the ball, to see if Kendrick was going to try to score.
Perhaps he was just baiting all of us, including Kendrick. How do we know how far Cespedes was from home plate? It's a guess, but this seems right:
That would be about as far as Bo in '89, right?
Although more exist, no doubt, two other throws come to mind: Rick Ankiel against the Rockies in 2008...:
...And Jose Guillen, also against the Rockies, in 1998:
"Mutant throw," indeed. But Cespedes gets extra points for the timing and location.
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