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How did they do that? Crawford, La Stella break down ‘special’ double play

© Neville E. Guard | 2021 Oct 8

It’s one of those jaw-dropping plays we’ll remember no matter how long this Giants playoff run lasts.

With one on and one out in the fourth, and the Giants holding a 2-0 lead, Logan Webb threw a 2-1 changeup to Justin Turner that caught the outside-bottom corner of the zone. It was enough for Turner to induce weak contact up the middle, causing second baseman Tommy La Stella to break to his right towards the bag, as Brandon Crawford broke towards second from the other side to cover.

By the time La Stella tracked down the ball he was to the right of second with Crawford behind him. Making a transfer to his throwing hand would’ve been awkward and wasted precious time. So La Stella improvised, executing a backwards flip to Crawford with his glove hand. The shortstop gathered it quickly, tagging the base to get the sliding Corey Seager before firing it to first for the double play.

It’s one you have to see to believe.

Though the degree of difficulty for La Stella seemed to be extreme, the second baseman heaped praise on Crawford.

“I think initially I broke to the bag and he went for the ball and then we kind of switched as I was much closer to it,” La Stella said postgame. “But he made that play. That’s a really difficult read on his part to go for the ball and then to redirect his momentum to find the base on a high flip and then still turn it. It was pretty awesome.”

Crawford said he initially broke deep to try and make sure the Dodgers didn’t get more than a single out of it. When he saw La Stella’s jump, however, he audibled and covered second.

“I was trying to take a deep angle to make sure it stayed in the infield,” Crawford said. “I saw he got a good jump on it so I rerouted to the bag. Just the way the play was developing I kind of figured he’d go with the glove flip and was just on my toes for wherever that was going to be. He made a great play.

“He did the hard part, I just had to catch it.”

Gabe Kapler was also quick to credit the second baseman.

“I thought it was a very instinctive play by Tommy. I mean, so I get to watch these guys do their defensive work every day,” The Giants manager said. “I try to get the best perspective, and one of the good perspectives is over there at first base.

“So I can see Tommy’s routine on balls to his right, balls to his left. It’s not a play that you practice all that often. You’re not flipping the ball with the glove with all of your momentum going up the middle all that often. So it really is an instinct play. It really is an athletic play. It’s not a practiced play all that often.

“So it was pretty impressive for him to kind of feel Crawford’s presence around the bag. I don’t think it was a perfect feed, by any means, but like how could it be? He’s shoveling the ball with his glove with all of his momentum taking him away from the play.”

“I thought it was one of the better plays we’ve made all year.”

 

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