Cespedes' amazing assist stands after review
A's left fielder cuts down Angels' Kendrick at home with perfect throw
ANAHEIM -- The Angels won the game -- on Collin Cowgill's walk-off homer, which capped a 14-inning thriller -- but no one will forget the throw from A's left fielder Yoenis Cespedes.
"A guided missile," Angels manager Mike Scioscia called it after his team's 2-1 win at Angel Stadium Tuesday night.
With the score tied, 1-1, in the eighth inning and Howie Kendrick on first with one out, Mike Trout shot a line drive into shallow left field that bounced off Cespedes' glove and rolled into foul territory, prompting third-base coach Gary DiSarcina to waive Kendrick home for what the Angels were certain would be the go-ahead run.
"After he bobbled it and it bounced off the wall, the way Howie that can run ... I didn't think it would be anywhere near where it was," DiSarcina said.
"When the ball rolled to the corner," Scioscia added, "I thought Howie was going to score standing up."
Kendrick never stopped running hard, but it didn't matter. Cespedes retrieved the ball near the fence, barely took the time to establish any momentum towards the plate and air-mailed a throw home that traveled at least 300 feet and landed snuggly into the glove of A's catcher Derek Norris, who applied the tag for the stunning out.
"You don't expect something like that," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "There aren't that many guys able to throw it that far on the fly."
Scioscia convinced umpires to conduct a crew-chief review, looking to replay to see if Kendrick was safe and to see if Norris violated Rule 7.13. Umpires ruled that the call stands, prompting another six full innings of baseball and leaving many to wonder if they've ever seen a throw that impressive.
Melvin said it was as good as he's ever seen.
"With everything involved with it, definitely," the A's skipper added.
Scioscia immediately chalked up memories of former Angels right fielder Vladimir Guerrero.
"I mean that was a special play," Scioscia said of Cespedes' throw. "You just tip your cap on that one."
DiSarcina thought back to June 5, 1989, in Seattle, when Royals outfielder Bo Jackson retrieved a liner off the left-field wall by Scott Bradley and fired all the way home to gun down Harold Reynolds and keep the score tied at 3 in the 10th inning.
"This one, for lack of a better word, he just winged it," DiSarcina said of Cespedes. "And his arm strength and his accuracy made it happen. You don't see that happen often, somebody with that arm strength and that ability to be accurate from the foul pole. Tremendous throw by a great player."
Two innings prior to Cespedes' throw, Albert Pujols ran through DiSarcina's stop sign and was easily thrown out at home by A's right fielder Brandon Moss, who also threw Erick Aybar out going first to third in the sixth inning on Monday.
Cespedes' eighth-inning throw was his third outfield assist against the Angels this season, having also thrown out two runners at home plate in the second inning at O.co Coliseum on May 31.
"It's not going to deter us or stop us from running," DiSarcina said. "You can't do that. You can't shut down you running game. He's out there. You just acknowledge his talent, and you marvel at the throw he made. It's tremendous."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.