Defensive shifts have never been more popular in Major League Baseball, especially for pull-happy left-handed hitters.
Faced with three defenders on the first-base side of the infield on Monday night against the Miami Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter pulled out what every anti-shift sports-talk caller has clamored for: a bunt!
And he delivered a beauty.
With the entire left side of the infield essentially vacant, Carpenter put a little extra juice on the ball and was able to cruise into second base with a standup double as pitcher Elieser Hernandez tracked the ball down in shallow left field.
Now that’s how you beat the shift, folks. Whether more players will begin to follow Carpenter’s lead remains to be seen.
Carpenter, who opened the scoring with a solo homer in the third inning, would make it 2-0 Cards via a Marlins misplay of a shallow fly off the bat of Paul DeJong, the next hitter that inning.
The Cardinals added three more with an eighth-inning long ball from Dexter Fowler and went on to win 5-0. Miles Mikolas tossed six shutout innings to earn the victory.
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