It took five throws to get the third out in the top of the sixth inning. Venezuela had just scored the first run in a game that Puerto Rico needed to stay alive in the Caribbean World Series.
It may seem meaningless now, knowing that Venezuela won the game 3 to 1 and the Dominican Republic wrapped up their 16th World Series title, but I can’t get that game-five play out of my head.
It was beautiful.
Even a frozen world away squinting at a 12-inch television screen, the play grabbed me.
Ronny Cedeno leads off the top of the sixth for Venezuela with a single. Alex Delgado pops up a bunt and first baseman Javier Valentin makes a spectacular diving catch P-3. Gregor Blanco grounds into a force out 5-4. Luis Rodriguez singles and Blanco moves to second.
Ramon Hernandez singles to right field. Armando Rios charges the ball and comes up throwing, but Blanco scores. Yadier Molina makes a great pickup in front of home plate and delivers a quick throw to shortstop Luis Figueroa who has Hernandez hung up off first. While running Hernandez back, Figueroa keeps an eye on Rodriguez who has rounded third. When Rodriguez gets too far off the bag Figueroa twists and makes a perfect throw to Alex Cora. Cora runs Rodriguez toward home before making a throw to Molina who moves the runner back toward third before the return throw to Cora for the out.
Close your eyes and watch.