MLB: Mauer earns raves with athletic tag
By Joe Christensen
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
NEW YORK — Joe Mauer had other catchers at Yankee Stadium in awe with his game-saving play in the ninth inning Sunday. The Twins wound up losing 3-2 in the 10th inning, but not before Mauer produced the rare catcher web gem.
“That’s one of the best plays I’ve ever seen,” Twins catcher Mike Redmond said. “Instinct-wise, that play was off the charts. I told him I don’t know how he did it.”
Yankees manager and former catcher Joe Girardi said, “The athleticism that he showed to get a very speedy runner is pretty incredible.”
With a tie score and one out, pinch runner Brett Gardner was at second base when Francisco Cervelli hit a sharp bouncer back toward pitcher Jose Mijares, who reached behind his back with his glove and knocked the ball back toward home.
Mauer grabbed the ball about halfway to the pitcher’s mound and bluffed a throw to first.
“I would have thrown that ball on instinct,” Redmond said. “And if he throws the ball, we lose.”
Gardner didn’t hesitate around third and was halfway home when Mauer turned, hustled and dived in time to tag Gardner before he could touch home plate.
“He’s about as fast as they get on the bases,” Mauer said. “As soon as I got to the ball, I remembered who was at second and thought I’d fake and maybe have a chance to throw him out at third. I didn’t really think I’d have to race and beat him home.”
Mauer was slightly shaken up on the play. “I just kind of knocked the wind out of myself, diving, and I just needed a minute,” he said.