TORONTO -- The fourth-inning flare to center field didn't feel like a hit off the bat to Ezequiel Carrera, nor did it look like one to Corey Kluber. Yet it wound up representing the deciding run in Tuesday's Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.Carrera's soft one-out bloop bounced
TORONTO -- The fourth-inning flare to center field didn't feel like a hit off the bat to Ezequiel Carrera, nor did it look like one to Corey Kluber. Yet it wound up representing the deciding run in Tuesday's Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
Carrera's soft one-out bloop bounced in front of Indians center fielder Tyler Naquin, chasing home Troy Tulowitzki from second base with the Blue Jays' second run in a 5-1 victory at Rogers Centre that promised Toronto at least one more tomorrow.
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"To be honest, it wasn't good contact and the ball hung a little bit in the air, but when the ball fell, I was really happy," Carrera said through an interpreter. "We'll call that a 'blooper.' It was good for me."
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According to Statcast™, Carrera made extremely soft contact on a first-pitch 84-mph Kluber curveball, producing just a 68.6 mph exit velocity with a 38-degree launch angle. Similar batted balls went for a hit nine out of 16 times this season.
"He just put it in the right spot," Kluber said.
Naquin appeared to take a circuitous route to the ball as he charged in, watching it fall between himself, shortstop Francisco Lindor and left fielder Coco Crisp. Tulowitzki alertly recognized that the ball was not going to be caught, taking off from second base and scoring.
"I'm not the fastest guy out there," Tulowitzki said. "I have to get good reads to score. That one, I didn't fall for the deke, I got a good read, and off that turf, it bounces high. I ended up scoring and that was good."
"We've got to give credit to Tulo," Carrera said. "That was a hard play, because you don't know who's going to catch that ball, either the center fielder or the shortstop. He read it well and it worked out."
Naquin started the play 100 feet from the landing spot of the ball, which had a hang time of 4.8 seconds. Outfielders facing those circumstances made the catch 58 percent of the time this year. Naquin ran 96 feet and was still 28 feet from the ball's landing spot, with his throw home cut off.
"We were shaded to pull," Naquin said. "Nobody was getting that ball."
Carrera celebrated the hit by grinning into the Blue Jays' dugout and grabbing his stomach. He repeated the celebration after an eighth-inning triple, then he later struck a sheepish tone as he explained what that had meant.
"It's just a joke on the team. They call me 'Little Fatty,'" Carrera said. "But they know I can run. It's just a joke between the guys and me."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com.