Out of left field, Walsh clutch for AL

July 14th, 2021

Angels first baseman was in new territory on Tuesday. He not only participated in his first All-Star Game but also made his first career Major League appearance in left field, making it count with an incredible sliding catch in the eighth that helped the American League protect a late lead in a 5-2 win at Colorado’s Coors Field.

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Walsh has played 150 games in the Majors over the past three years but had never appeared in left field. That changed on Tuesday, when he replaced Blue Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernández as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning. Walsh, who was told of the plan on Monday, flew out to center and then went out to left field for an uneventful seventh.

But in the eighth, Walsh came to the rescue when Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant hit a sinking liner with the bases loaded and two out on a 3-0 fastball from Red Sox closer Matt Barnes. Walsh made a sliding catch to end the inning despite his inexperience at the position.

“I hope Joe Maddon wasn’t watching,” Walsh said. “I like first base a lot more than left field.”

Joking aside, Walsh said he felt he got a read on the ball and was pleased he was able to help the AL to their eighth straight Midsummer Classic win. He has played 20 games in right in the Majors, including 18 this season, and he made 17 career appearances in left as a Minor Leaguer.

“I could tell it had a little topspin,” Walsh said. “It seemed like he was out front maybe a tad so I just kind of broke in and fortunately it ended up in my glove. I felt it. But I looked back to make sure it wasn't rolling to the wall."

He then led off the top of the ninth and hit a deep drive to center field, but the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor made a nice running catch at the wall. Walsh finished his All-Star debut by going 0-for-2 but enjoyed his experience, joining two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani in starring in the game.

"Unbelievable,” Walsh said. “Playing in the game against and with these guys was a dream come true. I'm just thankful for the two ABs. And hopefully more to come."