Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez may have just come up with the best defensive play he’ll have all year and it’s not even May.
In the sixth inning of a 2014 World Series rematch between the Royals and San Francisco Giants, and with the game tied at one, Buster Posey connected on an infield single with Brandon Belt already on second. It would’ve been a routine play had the Royals not botched an attempt to field the ball cleanly — giving Belt an opportunity to dart around third — but that’s not the point here.
When Raul Mondesi came up with a throw to the plate that landed just a bit short, it forced Perez to make a play that needed a slow motion replay to truly appreciate his tag on a sliding Belt.
Perez could’ve let this play get away from him four separate times but miraculously hung on.
First he had to scoop up the ball as it hit the dirt in front of the plate. Then Perez had to hope gravity didn’t pull the ball out of his glove as he swept it back towards Belt. Most importantly, the catcher had to make sure Belt didn’t kick the ball out of his glove. The Royals caught a huge break here as the contact with Belt actually pushes the ball further into Perez’s glove. But even then the ball comes dangerously close to getting knocked out of the mitt.
It’s such a fast play that even in slo-mo it’s worth taking a few extra looks.
Perez did everything right here and got lucky. That combination usually leads to so amazing sports moments. It’s early in the season, but this is definitely one of them.
The Giants wound up defeating the Royals, 2-1, in 11 innings anyways.
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