Scoring from second base without someone swinging a bat doesn’t happen easily or often in the major leagues. Not unless some daring rerunning is attempted, along with the runner getting some help from the team playing defense.
Erick Aybar took full advantage of lapses made by the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, and came around to score a key run in a 2-1 victory for the Los Angeles Angels. He hustled to score from second after an errant pickoff throw by right-hander Rick Porcello, followed by total vapor lock by outfielder Austin Jackson, who delayed in throwing the ball back to the infield after Porcello’s error.
With runners at first and second and one out in the fifth, Porcello wheeled toward second and threw wildly trying to pick off Aybar. The ball went into center field and Aybar got up and ran to third. Apparently considering taking another base the entire time, Aybar watched closely as Jackson double- and triple-clutched the ball, walking it back toward the infield without throwing for several seconds. Finally, just as Jackson blooped a throw toward Detroit’s shortstop, Aybar turned on jets and sped home for the tying run. No relay was attempted. Great hustle on his part and ugly defense by the Tigers.
Via the Associated Press:
”We’ve talked to Austin,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. ”He knows that can’t happen, and it certainly won’t happen again. He’s got to be aware of where that lead runner is. You can’t take anything for granted. It’s certainly not the way you want to give up the tying run, or any run at all.”
Other than that moment, Porcello performed well — allowing an unearned run and six hits over seven innings. He also struck out six, including the final four batters he faced. But the back-to-back singles by Aybar and Howie Kendrick (via bunt) in the fifth, along with the errant throw, bit him good.
Porcello acknowledged his own mistake as well.
”I just didn’t execute the play,” Porcello said. ”You take a chance, backpicking at second base, but you know that kind of thing can happen. You really have to be on the money with that throw. I yanked the throw and pulled it, and it ended up being a pretty big play.”
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