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Big League Stew

Nationals second baseman Steve Lombardozzi ‘knees’ ball to first base for improbable assist

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

Remember when we brought you the clip of Heath Bell belly flopping around on the Chase Field infield while attempting to field Will Venable's bunt on Saturday? The whole awkwardness of those no man's land baseballs that end up between the pitcher's mound, the first baseman and the second baseman was brought up, and I specifically noted how it usually requires an athletic pitcher to scoop the ball up to take it himself or a remarkable effort from a second baseman (ie: glove flip) to record the out.

Well, we saw another one of those plays in Saturday's Phillies-Nationals game at Nationals Park, and it absolutely took a remarkable (and improbable) effort from Washington second baseman Steve Lombardozzi to get the out.

The play happened with Phillies second baseman Freddy Galvis leading off the eighth inning. Galvis has good speed, so his idea was to drag a bunt along the right side to set the table for a big inning. That's exactly what he tried, though his bunt attempt was a little harder than you'd like it to be. In fact, the ball was scooting at a pretty good pace as it went past the pitcher, so Lombardozzi had trouble positioning himself for the aforementioned glove flip attempt.

What happened instead was Lombardozzi ended up fumbling with the baseball just to get control of it, and then in a stroke of pure luck, it ended up caroming off his left knee right to first baseman Adam LaRoche covering the bag and it beat Galvis there by half a step.

That's right, you can credit the assist to Lombardozzi's knee — literally — and all Galvis could do was react in disbelief like everybody else. Just plain crazy, though certainly fitting on a wild weekend that included the first walkoff inside-the-park home run in nine years and a bizarre double play that wasn't.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering, Philadelphia did end up having a big inning in that eighth. They scored twice to take a 5-3 lead and held on to win by that very score.

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