Red Sox: Top 5 defensive web gem plays of 2016 season
By Sean Penney
Betts throws out runner at third
Something about playing at the Trop must bring out the best in Red Sox fielders. A day after Benintendi’s miraculous catch, Mookie Betts made an even more spectacular play to throw out a runner at third base.
With Boston clinging to a 2-1 lead in the 8th inning, Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier hit one down the first base line just out of the reach of a diving Ramirez. The ball was ruled fair as it past first base, but had rolled into the right field foul territory near the bullpen mound by the time Betts was able to catch up to it.
Kiermaier rounded second looking to turn an easy double into three bases, but Betts wouldn’t allow it. The Red Sox right fielder scooped up the ball and fired a laser to third base that reached Travis Shaw on only one hop, just in time to tag the runner.
If it weren’t for a perfect throw from Betts, Kiermaier would have stood at third base with only one out. Evan Longoria followed by lining out to right field, which potentially could have scored Kiermaier on a sac fly to tie the game, rather than end the inning with Boston’s lead intact.
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Betts has always had an accurate arm, but he surprised even himself by how hard he was able to throw the ball. Plays like this are why Betts led all major league players at any position in defensive runs saved, which earned him his first career Gold Glove.