Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Rangers revisit Memorial Day play at the plate
By Calvin Watkins
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Matt Harrison said he was just standing there waiting.
He wasn't sure if Seattle's Brendan Ryan was coming around third to try to score. He thought Ryan was going to get held at third.
But Monday night's Memorial Day play from deep center field to behind second base to home plate highlighted the Rangers' 4-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.
The play started when Craig Gentry dove for a ball hit in front of him by Ryan. The ball skipped past him to the wall. Nelson Cruz did the right thing by backing up the play to retrieve the ball.
Cruz, with one of the strongest arms in the game, made a perfect throw to Ian Kinsler, who was standing on the outfield grass near second base.
Kinsler said he peeked before the throw came to see where Ryan was.
"It takes three people," Kinsler said of the play.
Kinsler said he had to make a perfect throw to an awaiting Mike Napoli at home.
Napoli, blocking the plate with his left leg, made the catch and tagged Ryan on his left arm for the out. The play kept the Rangers lead at 4-2 instead of 4-3.
"The play was really made by Nelson Cruz," manager Ron Washington said. "He backed up that play when Gentry dove for that ball. He hit Kinsler with a strike, and Kinsler made a tremendous relay throw and Mike blocked the plate. Nelson Cruz is the one who saved that run by backing up. He could have been watching what was going on but instead he got where he was supposed to be and made the play. He hit the cutoff man and the cutoff man did what he had to do."
The little things made that play; Cruz backing up Gentry, Kinsler setting his feet and Napoli blocking the plate.
"He had his leg right on top of the plate when I was standing there," Harrison said. "If he slides into him he's out, and that's what he ended up doing. It was a great play by Nap there blocking the plate."