3-2-8? Not your everyday double play

August 29th, 2020

ST. LOUIS -- It’s not every day you see a catcher running down a baserunner in between second and third base, and a center fielder applying the tag at second base.

That’s the wacky double play the Cardinals turned in the second inning of Friday’s 14-2 loss in the series opener against the Indians at Busch Stadium. On Francisco Lindor’s grounder with no outs and runners on first and third base, Cards first baseman threw home to catcher , who then tagged out Cesar Hernandez in a rundown on the third-base line.

Then, Molina chased José Ramírez and Lindor back to second and first base, respectively. About halfway between second and third base, Molina looked like he might throw to first base to get Lindor. But he turned and threw to center fielder covering second base to tag Ramírez out.

It went down in the scorebook as a 3-2-8 double play -- which has not happened in the expansion era (since 1961), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“Really smart play by Yadi,” manager Mike Shildt said. “That was a pretty special instinctual play by Yadi. The guy’s a budding Hall of Famer. His instincts are as good as I’ve ever seen. And his ability to understand how to play this game in real time is amazing. He does things on a somewhat nightly basis that you go, ‘Wow, that’s a special player.”

According to Statcast, Molina covered 155 feet, and Carlson covered 201 feet to get the two outs. It was a heads-up play by Carlson to get to the bag, although the Cardinals work on those plays in pregame workouts.

“We don’t ever want a vacated base, and it’s hard for outfielders to get there,” Shildt said. “But the awareness of being able to get there is something that we’ve worked on. But also in real time, give Dylan credit for doing it.”

Lindor did make it past first base with the next batter, however -- Carlos Santana launched a two-run homer off to expand the Indians’ early lead over the Cardinals to 6-0.