August 12, 2011
Given barely enough time to react, Arizona Diamondbacks lefty Joe Saunders(notes) raised his glove and knocked down a screaming line drive by Houston's Carlos Lee(notes) on Thursday night. In return for using keen reflexes, the ball knocked Saunders' glove clean off his right hand.
Despite being stunned, Saunders quickly located the ball, recovered it and threw to first just in time to nip the not-so-speedy Lee by a whisker at first base.
Way to get some leather on it, Joe! That's great presence of mind, if not glove.
Considering how the fifth inning was going — the Astros had taken a three-run lead — Saunders keeping the ball in the infield and retiring Lee might have been the difference between winning and losing. A run came into score, yes, but Lee's rocket really should have scored two. The D-backs, the National League's surprise team, roared back later to tie the score in the ninth before winning 8-5 in 10 innings on Chris Young's three-run homer.
Saunders pitched poorly, all things considered, but being alert during a vulnerable moment certainly paid dividends later.