It took one pitch and two throws to get the third out in the top of the seventh inning.
The Tigres del Licey were clinging to a one-run lead against the Aguilas Cibaenas when Tony Pena Jr. drilled a ball off the leftfield wall and Victor Diaz tried to score from first base.
Diaz was out at the plate: 7-6-2.
Licey’s lead was safe.
It may not seem all that important since Licey tacked on four runs in the bottom of the inning and rolled to a 5-2 victory, improving their record in the Caribbean Series to 3-0, but that defensive masterpiece drew shouts in the Bronx.
“A beautiful 7-6-2 putout,” yelled Javier from Walton Avenue. “That was absolutely marvelous.”
The play was magic even a world away on a dusty barroom television.
“It can’t be done any better,” Javier went on. “Marvelous. Just marvelous.”
Licey leftfielder Emilio Bonifacio grabbed Pena’s ball off the wall and fired to Anderson Hernandez who nailed Diaz at the plate with a perfect relay to catcher Matt Tupman.
“That kind of play makes me ache for baseball,” Javier said. “They’ll be doing it across the street (at Yankee Stadium) in a couple of months, but I wish they were here tonight.”
Javier closed his eyes and went through it again.
One pitch and two throws: 7-6-2.