In baseball, hustle is a valuable asset, particularly when Weird Baseball hits. On Monday night, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Cedric Mullins used his pace and a little Boston Red Sox shallow outfield confusion to convert a pop fly into a triple.
Mullins lofted a fly ball behind third base in the bottom of the eighth inning with the score tied at one. The Boston infield made a mess of it. Also Gold Glove shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who ranged a long way to get a glove on the ball, found it difficult. However, he may have been thrown a bit by third baseman Raphael Devers, who instead of caching the pitch, knocked it around a bit as it dropped to the turf.
Mullins, on the other hand, was running hard during the action, and when it reached the ground, he turned on the jets to round second and sprint for third. On the play, the Sox catcher was required to cover third, but Boegarts was unable to get the throw there in time to beat Mullins to third.
Because of Bogaerts’ role on the field, the play was ruled a hit rather than an error. And rightly so, as it was Mullins who worked his magic here, putting the Orioles in place to become the first home team in the season series between the two teams to win a game. However, the play seemed to be a complete disaster, and according to TV broadcasts, it was the shortest triple in StatCast history.
Mullins was brought home shortly after and the Orioles added some insurance runs to get the win, 4-1. And a nice highlight reel play for the very speedy outfielder on a night where it very much mattered.