Frankie Montas showed his ability on the diamond extends beyond the pitcher’s mound in making a rare 8-1 putout on Sunday afternoon.
It is not a rare occurrence for a pitcher to make a putout. There could be a soft fly ball back to the mound that the pitcher snags, or they could over first on a ball that takes the first baseman away from the bag. It is fairly routine, and not anything worthy of attention.
But it is something notable when that putout happens at another base, and from a throw in the outfield. That was the case on Sunday, when Frankie Montas made a putout at second base from an assist by Ramon Laureano.
The play started with a soft fly ball off the bat of Mike Trout. Laureano charged in, making a diving attempt to snag the pop fly. Knowing Laureano’s arm, and with the shallowness of the ball, Tommy LaStella held near first base to avoid being doubled up should Laureano catch the fly.
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That is where the head’s up play came in. The ball landed in front of the sliding Laureano, who managed to catch it on a short hop. He quickly got to his feet and fired to second, a perfect throw despite being off balance and without having any momentum to the base. There, Montas was waiting, corraling the throw to get the force out at second.
It has been over a year since the last 8-1 putout took place. That one took place under slightly different circumstances, as Austin Hedges hit a pop fly behind second base. The second baseman lost the ball in the sun, allowing it to fall into play behind him. There, it was picked up by Albert Almora, whose offline throw was snagged by Brandon Kintzler, who tagged the runner for the out.
Sometimes, the little things make a major difference over the course of a series, or even a season. Those seemingly hidden plays can make a major difference in an inning. In this case, had Montas not had the baseball IQ to cover second on that play, the Angels would have had a runner in scoring position with no one out. Anthony Rendon followed that play with a base hit, which would have driven in LaStella. Shohei Ohtani then had a three run homer, which would have given the Angels a four run inning. As the A’s won in extra innings, eliminating that baserunner made a major difference. And, it could even be considered the biggest play of the game for the A’s victory.
Ramon Laureano and Frankie Montas teaming up for the 8-1 put out was not just a rare moment, it helped the Oakland A’s come away with an eventual victory. This time, one of those hidden moments that can change a game received the spotlight.