Yankees C Stewart enjoys unusual day

July, 20, 2013
7/20/13
9:58
PM ET
BOSTON -- With well over 900 professional games under his belt, there isn't much that New York Yankees catcher Chris Stewart has yet to see in his career. However, one play in the eighth inning of the Yankees 5-2 win over the Red Sox on Saturday was a first for the veteran backstop.

On what seemed like a no-chance popup behind the plate off the bat of Dustin Pedroia, Stewart was able to dive into the stands in order to make the tough catch. Daniel Nava, tagging at first base, took off for second on the catch, but Stewart fired a one-hop strike to second baseman Robinson Cano to turn the double play and end the inning.

[+] EnlargeDaniel Nava
Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY SportsRobinson Cano tags out Daniel Nava to cap Yankees catcher Chris Stewart's heads-up double play.
"I don't think I've ever seen it turned," Stewart said. "It's one of those rare things that happened and fortunately all the stars aligned right then for us."

With David Ortiz on deck representing the possible go ahead run, Stewart's heads-up play took on extra significance.

"That's an extremely tough play," Yankees manager Joe Girardi explained. "And it's a huge play because of the guy who's on deck and you have a two-run lead. It's not how you plan rolling up the double play, but we'll take it."

Despite a sellout crowd in the stands behind him, Stewart said that he surprisingly had no trouble getting to the pop out for the first out. As for the throw to get the second out -- that was all reliant on the catcher's quick thinking.

"It's all reaction, instinct," Stewart said. "I just picked him up and I saw him not on first base anymore, heading to second base. At that point I just got rid of it as quick as I could."

Girardi, an All-Star catcher when he played the game, felt the same way.

"I think it's instinct to check the runner all the time, similar to when a pitcher covers first and there's a runner on second and he checks the runner on third. It's just instinct as a catcher."

The play in the eighth wasn't the only highlight for Stewart on the day. He tagged out Nava trying to score on a single in the first and made a great throw to pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to nail Mike Carp trying to score on a wild pitch in the fifth. All things considered, the 31-year-old catcher was just happy to contribute to the team's big win.

"It was kind of an unconventional day of outs today. We'll take it, though. It was a good win for us and hopefully we get on a little roll now and get back in first place."

Kyle Brasseur is an intern for ESPNBoston.com.

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