ST. PETERSBURG -- A little Major League cat and mouse took place between Kevin Kiermaier and Jose Bautista during the Rays' 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays on Monday night at Tropicana Field.In the second inning, Kiermaier made it to second base after hitting a single to right field. After
ST. PETERSBURG -- A little Major League cat and mouse took place between Kevin Kiermaier and Jose Bautista during the Rays' 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays on Monday night at Tropicana Field.
In the second inning, Kiermaier made it to second base after hitting a single to right field. After Kiermaier slowed up after touching first, Bautista threw behind him hoping to record an out.
It's not the first time that scene has played out.
On Sept. 13, 2014, in Toronto, Kiermaier pulled off the same play. That led to him moving to third on a groundout and scoring on a passed ball.
"It's nothing with him personally," said Kiermaier, who stressed that he respects Bautista. "I just know he likes to throw. I know who the guys are in all of baseball who like to throw. That's the only time I'm going to try that is when it's the right fielder."
Kiermaier described how the action transpired on Monday night.
"Right out of the box, I was hoping he was going to do that, and he kind of deked me a little bit, because he had his body turning towards second base." Kiermaier said. "So I thought I was going to shut it down. I was still on my toes, though. Once I saw him throw behind me, I just took off."
While Kiermaier was safe, he allowed that the play ended up being a lot closer than he thought it was going to be.
"[Blue Jays first baseman Chris] Colabello made a good throw, and Bautista was actually a little further in than I thought after watching video," Kiermaier said. "So I'm glad I was safe."
Kiermaier said he reads all the scouting reports and he constantly talks to first base/outfield coach Rocco Baldelli about what kind of arms the opposing outfielders have and how aggressive they are.
"So I have a pretty good idea about what the outfield arms are like before every series," Kiermaier said.
Bautista, obviously, has one of the best outfield arms in baseball. So, eventually, one would think that this game of cat and mouse will go Bautista's way, and he'll nail Kiermaier on the bases with a throw. Kiermaier would not make that concession.
"I would like to think no [he will not]," Kiermaier said, "because I want to make the smartest decisions possible. I take a lot of pride in my baserunning. I try doing it for a momentum thing for our team. I understand as an outfielder myself how difficult it is to make throws -- especially when we're rushed. We're making throws from 150-feet plus, and I know how difficult it is."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.