So the third baseman followed instructions and the Mariners wound up with a most unusual 5-6-3 double play at a critical juncture in Friday’s 5-3 win over the Angels.
With one out and the score tied at 3 in the eighth inning, Healy shifted over between first and second base and pinch-runner Brian Goodwin on first, Justin Bour of the Angels lofted a towering popup in Healy’s direction.
But let Healy take the story from there.
“First off, I’m already on the opposite side of the field [on the shift], so I already feel like I’m out of place,” Healy said. “But [Bour] didn’t run out of the box. Obviously being the guy who was going to catch the ball, I had no idea he was going to do that.
“So Dee yelled at me, ‘Let it drop. Let it drop.’ From there, I picked up the ball and looked at first and looked at Dee and said, ‘What do I do now?’ He said, ‘Throw it to second,’ so all the sudden we had the double play.
“I jogged off the field not really knowing what happened. I felt like he was just playing ‘MLB The Show’ and controlled me on a little controller. It was awesome.”
Because the infield-fly rule only is in effect with runners on at least first and second, the Mariners had an easy double play. And coming immediately after Mike Trout had tied the game with a two-run homer, the heads-up tactic got Seattle back in the dugout with momentum and set up game-winning homers by Tim Beckham and Omar Narvaez in the ninth.
“It was an awesome, heads-up play by Dee,” said manager Scott Servais. “That’s how Dee is on the field. He’s always thinking ahead. That’s all on Dee because they hit that popup 100 times, Ryon Healy is going to catch it 100 times unless somebody is in his ear. So good teamwork there.”
Gordon noted his initial thought was to at least get the faster Goodwin off the bases in exchange for Bour. And when Bour didn’t run to first, well, all the better.
As for playing the video-game master with Healy?
“Just teammates trying to help each other out,” he said.