We’ve seen our share of unusual double plays this season. Those would include two unassisted efforts by outfielders — yes, outfielders — which were the first of their kind in Major League Baseball in over ten years. We've also seen the Tampa Bay Rays pull off a double play by utilizing the old hidden ball trick, which days later Juan Uribe of the Dodgers still can’t seem to live down.
To be honest, you would think those double plays would be impossible to top due to their unique nature — and they probably are — but hats off to Colorado Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba nonetheless, because he gave it his best effort on Wednesday afternoon. With an emphasis on effort.
The great play happened during the sixth inning of Colorado's 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres. With runners at the corners and nobody out, San Diego's Logan Forsythe hit a soft one hopper in the direction of Colorado's third baseman Nolan Arenado to set the wheels in motion. On a harder hit ball, Colorado would have been fine taking a routine around-the-horn double play to squash the potential of a big inning, but Arenado knew instantly that wouldn't be possible.
With the runner at third base, rookie Jedd Gyorko, committing to the plate on contact, Arenado knew the play was at home. It wasn't a close play, either, as he hit Torrealba with a quick throw. Gyroko was a dead duck hung up between third and home, and thanks to the hustle of Torrealba — and maybe some interference by Arenado? — was unable to get himself caught in a pickle to extend the play.
What followed was pretty extraordinary. Not only does Torrealba chase Gyroko back to the base to apply the tag, he notices Jesus Guzman — the runner on first — attempting to steal an extra 90 feet. Without losing stride, Torrealba makes the initial tag about three steps short of third base, and then slides in position to block Guzman's path and applies the second tag.
Incredible hustle with a touch of craziness is how I'll describe it. As for the scoring, it's simply a 5-2 double play. We've seen them before in bases loaded situations where the third baseman steps on the bag and throws home, but I'd be willing to bet it has been a long time since a catcher has tagged out two runners on the same play while more than 80 feet away from home plate.
Here's Torrealba's explanation of the remarkable play courtesy of the Denver Post:
It was just reaction from me," Torrealba said. "It was a big play, but it was just my reaction. I wasn't really thinking about it."
The Coors Field crowd shrieked, laughed, cheered and awarded Torrealba a standing ovation.
"I appreciate that from the fans," he said. "Obviously we are playing a little better baseball and I think they appreciate the effort we show, and we appreciate them."
Speaking of appreciation, considering the situation and the timing in the game — Colorado held a slim 3-2 lead — it may have been the difference between a no-decision or loss instead of a win for Jorge De La Rosa. That certainly wasn't lost on Colorado's left-hander following the game.
De La Rosa on Torrealba's double play: "I owe him a dinner." #Rockies
— Ian McCue (@imccue) August 14, 2013
Make it two dinners and I'd say you're even.