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Well, that’s one way to beat a shift.
Greeted with a shifted defense in the fifth inning of the St. Louis Cardinals’ game against the Miami Marlins, third baseman Matt Carpenter bucked recent baseball strategy and played some small ball. With two outs, the left-handed hitter laid down a perfect bunt to the completely vacated left side of the infield.
Marlins pitcher Elieser Hernandez was forced to make the play on the ball, but it was already to the outfield grass by the time he got to it, allowing Carpenter plenty of time to scamper to second.
It was the rarely seen “bunt double” with no error on the play.
“I knew it was possible to get the double,” Carpenter said. “It’s a good feeling. I can’t deny that. If you hit left-handed in this league, they’re going to shift you.”
Carpenter’s heads-up play and hustle would pay off as he scored the next batter to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.
Despite the shift, Marlins manager Don Mattingly was not happy Carpenter’s bunt resulted in a double.
“I think Elieser’s got to get that ball,” Mattingly said of his pitcher. “It looked like he was just kind of trotting after it and lets it keep rolling. For me, he stops it.”
Carpenter had opened the scoring for St. Louis with a home run in the third inning. He finished the night 3-for-4 and added a third run on Dexter Fowler’s three-run blast in the eight inning. The Cardinals cruised to a 5-0 win.
Contributing: Associated Press