A walk-off pickoff? Catcher's laser to first seals key victory

August 2nd, 2023

The record books will show that Giants southpaw Sean Manaea notched his first career save on Tuesday night in a 4-3 win against the D-backs. However, the final out came courtesy of catcher ’s right arm rather than Manaea’s left.

With Geraldo Perdomo on first base with two outs after singling earlier in the ninth inning against Ryan Walker, Christian Walker stepped to the plate with a chance to tie the game or put Arizona ahead. But Bailey, who entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth, took the opportunity out of Walker’s hands.

The rookie catcher came up throwing after Manaea’s third pitch of the at-bat -- a fastball high and outside to the right-handed-hitting Christian Walker -- and fired a laser to first base from his knees to pick off Perdomo and clinch San Francisco’s win. Fittingly, it was LaMonte Wade Jr. who swiped the tag on Perdomo, two innings after the first baseman homered to break a 3-3 tie.

Bailey’s pop time of 1.39 seconds on the play was the fastest by a catcher on a successful pickoff at first base under Statcast tracking (since 2015).

“I think Perdomo, it looked like he was getting off [first base], it looked like he was trying to steal,” Bailey said in describing the play. “It’s just obviously a really aggressive baserunner and a really aggressive baserunning team. LaMonte, the pitch before, we both kind of made eye contact, like, ‘Yeah, this is a good time to pick off.’ And it worked out well.

“It’s definitely cool to finish a game like that.”

The Giants are now 59-49 and in possession of the first Wild Card spot in the National League.