Angel Pagan makes a catch at the center field wall in the seventh inning against Lyle Overbay. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was ejected for arguing Pagan trapped the ball.
Angel Pagan’s disputed leaping catch at the wall on Lyle Overbay’s shot to open the bottom of the seventh inning Sunday served a dual purpose in the center fielder’s mind. Not only did it help prevent the Pittsburgh Pirates from answering Jason Bay’s sacrifice fly in the top half of the inning, it also help make amends for the baserunning gaffe Pagan had just committed.
“I’m glad that after that I made that good catch, so maybe they forgot about it a little bit,” Pagan said following what turned out to be a 7-0 win by the Mets.
On the play Bay’s sacrifice fly scored Daniel Murphy with the game’s opening run, Pagan had decided to steal second. As Pagan was approaching second base, he noticed center fielder Andrew McCutchen corralling Bay’s fly ball. Pagan stepped over second toward third, then redirected himself back to first base, again missing the bag.
Overbay, the Pirates’ first baseman, spotted Pagan’s gaffe, asked for the ball and Pagan was ruled out.
“When I saw [McCutchen] get the ball, I was trying to step on the base,” Pagan said. “Halfway [back] I was like, ‘Oh my god, I didn’t hit the bag.’”
Even though that resulted in the third out, it was not technically a double play, and Murphy’s run counted.
Still, there was enough momentary uncertainty about the status of the run that Bay -- given his recent lack of success -- figured his first June RBI would be stripped. Then he got an explanation/interpretation in the dugout and exhaled.
“The way things have been going, had I had to pick one, I thought it was coming off the board,” Bay said. “Put it that way.”
Terry Collins said Pagan probably should have just been halfway between first and second on the play and started heading back to tag up.
The Mets also were victimized by that gaffe in April 2002, when Jay Payton did not retouch second base on a Vance Wilson fly ball to right field.
As for Pagan’s catch on Overbay, Pagan later checked out a replay. He acknowledged it looks like it may have been a trap, or the baseball glancing off the wall before finding its way into his glove, but Pagan insisted he made the catch.
“When he hit it, I thought it was going to be close to the wall,” Pagan said. “And as I was getting close to the warning track I felt like I had to jump for it. I jumped for it and I felt the ball in my glove. On the video it kind of looks like it hits the wall, but it was my glove that hits the wall after I caught the ball. … I felt the ball in my glove and then my glove hit the wall.”
Fireworks happened to go off on the play, incorrectly believing the ball had made its way over the fence for a solo homer.
“I saw Angel make the catch out there, so I knew they had some type of technical glitch,” said Chris Capuano, who threw the get-me-over, 3-1 pitch to Overbay that was smashed, since the southpaw did not want to walk the leadoff batter after being staked to a 1-0 lead.