When rookie third baseman Manny Machado was charging Evan Longoria's slow grounder in the ninth inning of the Orioles' 3-2 win Wednesday, the 20-year-old said that intincts took over.
By now you surely know what happened. By Thursday morning, fans in Baltimore could be "Manny-ing," posing for photos of themselves making fake throws to first base.
Machado faked a throw to first and quickly turned to third, where pinch-runner and potential go-ahead run Rich Thompson has made the turn around third. Shortstop J.J. Hardy was there covering third base, and Machado threw there to catch Thompson in an inning-ending rundown.
"That's a nice play for a veteran," Rays manager Joe Maddon said after the game, "let alone a guy that's 20 years old."
But the play came to be thanks in part to the fact that Machado faced a similar situation Sunday against the Yankees. Derek Jeter rolled a ball near the same spot, and Machado threw it away.
He thought back to that play -- his second error of the season, but realistically his first (he was also charged with an error on that controversial reversed call in Detroit last month) -- on Wednesday night.
He learned from his mistake. Don't try to do too much, and you might end up doing more.
And that's exactly what happened. That play changed the momentum of the game. Machado led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, and it was just a matter of time before the Orioles claimed another walk-off win.
"He was smart," Hardy said of Machado. "I don’t know if he would have been able to throw out Evan. I know he’s running a little slow with his hamstring, but for Manny to do what he did, it just shows you how aware he is at 20 years old.
"I think he’s really impressed me," Hardy added. "He’s really aware of everything that’s going on around him. For him to do that in that situation is impressive."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun