Happ uses block, bare hand for out at plate

June 11th, 2021

After giving up three runs in the top of the first inning in Thursday's 7-5 win over the Yankees at Target Field, Twins starter literally threw his body in front of a potential fourth.

With Gio Urshela at third base and Miguel Andújar at the plate, Happ sailed a two-out pitch over the head of catcher Ben Rortvedt, opening the door for Urshela to race home. Rortvedt's underhanded toss bounced to Happ's left as he slid in, so his only play was to barehand it, then reach across his body to tag the Yankees third baseman.

"You’re asking a guy just to make a play that he might not have to make for years," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "It’s just you have to react on the field, get the job done, and he did it. Ended up with, I think, the ball in his bare hand, making the tag. Got it done. I mean, every run is important and him being there to make that happen and finish that inning off was huge."

Urshela was initially called safe, but the play was overturned on review. It was an incredible end to an otherwise difficult first inning for Happ, who pitched for New York from 2018-20 before joining Minnesota on a one-year deal this past offseason.

"Finally. I feel like it's been, over the last 15 years covering home plate, trying to get a guy out in a situation like that, it rarely goes your way," Happ said. "Fortunately, I was able to grab that with my hand there and reach over and I think happened to be able to get in front of the plate a little bit. A nice swing for us to get out of that inning and try to regroup."