World Series hero Joe Panik saves Giants, ruins his belt with incredible double play
Joe Panik saves Giants with nasty double play
There's no stage bigger than Game 7 of the World Series. Just ask Giants rookie second baseman Joe Panik, who's rightfully being heralded as a hero thanks to a third-inning flash of leather that will go down as one of the best in the history of the Fall Classic.
The Royals had tied the score, 2-2, in the second and chased Giants starter Tim Hudson from the game in the process. Lorenzo Cain led off the top of the third with a single to right field with Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler and Alex Gordon lurking.
It looked as though Hoz had singled up the middle off Jeremy Affeldt, but Panik came diving into the frame, keeping the ball in the infield and flipping it with his glove (Look, Ma! No hands!) to Brandon Crawford for the out at second.
Crawford stood strong avoiding the diving Cain and whipping a throw to Brandon Belt at first base. An instant replay review showed that Crawford's turn was good enough to beat a diving Hosmer at first, emptying the bases of Royals and killing a rally before Paul Rudd could even turn his hat inside out.
Also, Panik broke his belt on the play, so this iconic moment can also be classified as a bit of a wardrobe malfunction.
Somewhere in the space-time continuum there's an alternate reality in which that ball gets through to give the Royals first-and-third with nobody out and Butler at the dish. Instead, Butler batted with the bases empty and grounded out to end the inning.
There's little doubt that Panik's play was a major turning point of Game 7. The Giants manufactured the go-ahead run in the top of the fourth and were able to hand Madison Bumgarner a 3-2 lead in the fifth. You can guess what happened from there.