September 07, 2011
Consider it a lesson learned: If Michael Taylor(notes) wants to record more hits when Jeff Francoeur's(notes) rocket arm is playing right field, he's going to have to pick up the pace on his way to first.
The Oakland Athletics rookie became only the fifth American League player since 1974 to fall victim to a 9-3 putout when a throw from Kansas City's right field arrived at first base before he did.
It was a slightly embarrassing moment for the young September call-up, who recorded his first major league hit on Tuesday night and thought he had his second before Frenchy nailed him for the third out of Wednesday's second inning.
"I knew it was going to be a close play," Taylor said. "I hit it and knew I hit it right at him. I took off and it hopped right to him, and he made a strong throw. It was a great play. He did everything he was supposed to do, and I did what I was supposed to do, and he came out on top."
Though this was only the fifth such putout in AL history since 1974 — the furthest these types of records go back — it's a little more common in the National League, where plodding pitchers often dawdle on their way to first base. There have been 31 9-3 putouts in the NL since '74. Perhaps the most famous one came way before that: All the way back in 1880, when a 9-3 putout saved the first perfect game in pro baseball history for Worcester's Lee Richmond.
Several media outlets quoted Francoeur saying this was the second 9-3 putout of his career, but his memory of that play is a little bit fuzzy. He says he got Mat Latos(notes) at first when he played for the Mets, but as this video shows, Francoeur's attempt sailed over the first baseman's head and Latos reached safely.
Taylor wasn't so lucky with this one. Watching Francoeur (and Hosmer) pull off the feat was pretty entertaining, especially since Taylor wasn't exactly jogging on his way to first.
"The ball was just laced at me with the perfect hop," Francoeur said. "You've got to give Hoz a lot of credit, too, because he saw how hard I was charging and he just ran right to the bag and I just let it go. You kind of feel bad because you do it to a guy in his fourth game in the big leagues, but hey, that was really, really fun."
Agreed and maybe even Taylor can eventually look back on this one and laugh. After all, the A's won 7-0 and Taylor did get that second hit of his career later in the game.
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