MINNEAPOLIS -- It's a play that Twins third baseman Miguel Sano has practiced routinely throughout the season.At last, during an 8-1 loss to the Indians on Tuesday night, Sano got a chance to pull it off in game action. Sano ended the fifth inning with what was arguably his best
MINNEAPOLIS -- It's a play that Twins third baseman Miguel Sano has practiced routinely throughout the season.
At last, during an 8-1 loss to the Indians on Tuesday night, Sano got a chance to pull it off in game action. Sano ended the fifth inning with what was arguably his best defensive play of the season, drifting into foul territory and throwing out Austin Jackson at first base to keep the deficit at just two runs at the time.
"I thought Sano's play was one of the better ones I have seen him make," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "From my angle, it looked like the ball was going to go down in the corner."
But Sano wasn't going to let that happen.
With one on and two out, Jackson ripped a 1-2 changeup from Bartolo Colon down the left-field line. Sano, who had to quickly move to his right, stabbed the ball with his backhand and threw across his body from foul territory. In fact, he ended up near the tarp by the time he had completed his throwing motion. Still, first baseman Joe Mauer was able to pick the ball for an inning-ending groundout.
According to Statcast™, Sano's 149-foot throw was his longest assist from third base this season. For Molitor, it reminded him of a play that Brooks Robinson, who won 16 American League Gold Glove Awards with the Orioles, would have made.
"For us old schoolers, Brooks would have been proud," Molitor said. "It kind of had that look of the World Series play he made [against the Reds in 1970]. The fact [Sano] ranged as far as he did and all in one motion to get off an accurate throw."
And it wasn't the only stellar play of the night for the Twins' defense.
In the seventh, center fielder Byron Buxton robbed Edwin Encarnacion of a home run with a leaping grab at the wall. Buxton had to make a late adjustment, as the ball soared near the bullpen fence.
The ball left Encarnacion's bat at 104 mph and had a 79 percent hit probability, according to Statcast™.
"You know what? It doesn't surprise you anymore," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We see it on highlights when we're not here. We see it when we're here. We've got to try to hit it somewhere else."
Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.