HOUSTON -- At 40 years old and playing in his 2,550th Major League game, Astros designated hitter Carlos Beltran certainly doesn't run like he did when he was compiling Gold Glove Awards in the outfield a decade ago. But in the ninth inning Sunday, he was just fast enough.Beltran beat
HOUSTON -- At 40 years old and playing in his 2,550th Major League game, Astros designated hitter Carlos Beltran certainly doesn't run like he did when he was compiling Gold Glove Awards in the outfield a decade ago. But in the ninth inning Sunday, he was just fast enough.
Beltran beat out a potential game-ending double play ball by hustling down the line to first base and then scored the game-tying run from first on a two-run triple as the Astros rallied to score four in the ninth and stun the Blue Jays, 7-6, at Minute Maid Park.
It took Beltran 12.04 seconds to go from first to home, with a Sprint Speed of 25.5 feet per second (his average is 25.9), according to Statcast™. The league average from first to home is 11.28 seconds with a Sprint Speed average of 27 feet per second.
"There's two outs, so my job is to try get a good secondary lead and hopefully score on that play right there," Beltran said. "When the ball was hit, I knew it was going to be in that corner, and it was a long run for [left fielder Norichika] Aoki and for the center fielder. I'm looking at the third-base coach, and I know that I've got to go home. I gave everything I have."
The triple by Alex Bregman tied the game, and Juan Centeno won it when he singled to right field to score Bregman for the Astros' third walk-off win this year (first since April 9).
Beltran had three singles in the game, but perhaps no play was bigger than his one-out grounder in the ninth to first baseman Justin Smoak, who threw to second base for the second out of the inning but had no play on a hustling Beltran at first.
"You're just trying to beat the double play right there and, thank God, I was able to do that and give the team another chance to tie the game," he said.
When Bregman hit the triple into the gap in left-center, there was little doubt third-base coach Gary Pettis was going to send him home. He wound up sliding home without a tag as the ball reached the home plate area.
"One-hundred percent confident," Bregman said when asked if he thought Beltran would score. "He looked like he did 20 years ago running around the bases … flying. It was a fun moment."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.**.