Sure the White Sox are bad at cutting down base stealers, but the Oakland A’s took things a little too far Friday.
With the game on the line in the eighth inning, the White Sox’s one-run lead looked to be in jeopardy when Coco Crisp broke for home on a two-out straight steal attempt.
But White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski saw the attempt out of the corner of his eye, grabbed the pitch from reliever Matt Thornton and reached out across the plate to apply the tag before Crisp could score. The White Sox finished off the 4-3 victory one inning later.
“[Pierzynski] did a great job,” Thornton said. “He just flopped on the plate. There was absolutely no chance for Coco to touch the plate and to be safe. He just threw his body over the plate. He figured if [Crisp] had to slide in cleats first he was going to wear it and tag him out. A.J. did a great job of getting out and making a play. It caught him off guard, he said, so it was a really nice play by him.”
The 35 steals against the White Sox were the second most in the American League heading into play Friday, behind the 47 allowed by the Red Sox. The four base stealers the White Sox have thrown out are the least in the American League.
This one was more of a gift, and Pierzynski joked afterward that he needs all of the caught-stealing numbers he can get.
White Sox third baseman Omar Vizquel said he was caught off guard and didn’t have time to help Pierzynski by shouting that the runner was coming.
“I didn’t have time,” Vizquel said. “It’s a play that happens so quick that you don’t have the time to say anything. You don’t know if he’s faking, you don’t know if he’s going, you don’t know what happened. But it was a great play. It was awesome.”