Infante’s play similar to Castillo’s in 2003 playoffs

MIAMI — You don’t see the groundout combination happening often, but what took place in the ninth inning on Wednesday night at Marlins Park also occurred for the Marlins in the 2003 playoffs.

A quick refresher.

Against the Cardinals on Wednesday night, Heath Bell issued a leadoff single to Matt Carpenter, bringing up pinch-hitter Yadier Molina.

Bell induced a routine tapper to the mound. In hopes of starting a double play, or at least getting the lead runner, he threw to second. But shortstop Jose Reyes wasn’t yet at the bag, and the throw appeared headed for center field. Before that could happen, second baseman Omar Infante, who was backing up the play, collected the throw several feet behind the bag.

Carpenter was easily safe at second, but Infante threw to first and got Molina for the out. For those keeping score at home, it goes as a 1-4-3 groundout.

Marlins fans with a good memory may recall a similar play during the 2003 playoffs. In Game 3 of the NL Division Series with the Giants at Sun Life Stadium, Luis Castillo showed why he was a Gold Glove winner that year.

In the sixth inning, Mark Redman was on the mound for the Marlins. The inning started off with back-to-back singles by Barry Bonds and Edgardo Alfonzo.

Andres Galarraga stepped up, and bounced a ball to the mound. Redman fielded it cleanly and threw to second, but the throw went by shortstop Alex Gonzalez. However, Castillo was trailing the play.

Castillo collected the throw that wasn’t intended for him, and he went with his only option, throwing to first, where he nabbed Galarraga.

In both cases, it helped that the batter was a slow runner.

The Giants did score two runs in the sixth that inning, but Castillo’s great play saved more damage, and the Marlins won, 4-3, in 11 innings.

Like Castillo nine years earlier, Infante was at the right spot at the right time, making a heads up play.

Joe Frisaro

 

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