Braves put new twist on 1-3-6 double play

September 22nd, 2020

Usually when you see a 1-3-6 double play in the box score, you figure the pitcher threw the ball to the first baseman for the first out, and the first baseman fired the ball to the shortstop covering second for the second out.

That's not the kind the Braves turned Monday night against the Marlins.

With nobody out in the ninth inning and pinch-runner Monte Harrison on first base for the Marlins, Matt Joyce hit a chopper back toward the mound. Braves closer Mark Melancon backtracked a few steps, fielded the ball and threw over to Freddie Freeman at first for the first out. Harrison took a chance and took off for third base, but Freeman fired the ball to shortstop Dansby Swanson, who hustled over to cover third, and he tagged Harrison for the second out.

The Marlins challenged the call at third, but it was confirmed. Melancon then got Brian Anderson on a flyout to right to finish off Atlanta's crucial 5-4 win.

"In my book, that's a smart baseball play," Harrison said. "With my speed and the way I play the game and the way my instincts play up, we take that play nine times out of 10. The one time happens to be today. It is what it is. I take full responsibility for making that out.

"But any other day, I'm still making that exact same play, because I don't think they can do that consistently to get me out. It takes a perfect throw from Freddie and it takes a great play from Dansby to make that catch and make that tag on a bang-bang play.”

Melancon joked postgame that third baseman Austin Riley's lack of faith in his athletic ability was the reason Swanson ended up having to cover third.

"I didn’t realize Riley didn’t give me any credit and was right on my heels when that ball went up in the air," Melancon said. "If he’d have just stayed at his position, we wouldn’t have had that issue. I guess he had no confidence in me."

Marlins manager Don Mattingly had no issues with Harrison's decision.

"I love that play. For me, you've got to make them make that play," Mattingly said. "Freddie might be the only guy that makes it, quite honestly. And he had to make a throw to a guy on the run, and he had to basically make a blind tag.

"I told Monte after the game, I thought it was a great play. I don't want him down over that, at all. I say we do it every time, in that situation, and make them make that play."