PITTSBURGH -- Gerrit Cole could only watch as left fielder Starling Marte held the Pirates' 2-1 lead in his hand.In the top of the seventh inning, as Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon singled on a line drive to left field, Dustin Garneau tried to head home from second base. Unfortunately
PITTSBURGH -- Gerrit Cole could only watch as left fielder Starling Marte held the Pirates' 2-1 lead in his hand.
In the top of the seventh inning, as Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon singled on a line drive to left field, Dustin Garneau tried to head home from second base. Unfortunately for Garneau, Marte snatched up the ball and his 100.6-mph throw, according to Statcast™, beat Garneau there.
"I'm thinking 'If he goes, we've got an out,'" Cole said. "And he went."
Marte launched the ball 232.3 feet and connected with catcher Francisco Cervelli just slightly faster than Garneau sprinted the 180 feet to home plate. It was the third-hardest recorded throw this season, and it preserved the Pirates' 2-1 win.
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Despite the Pirates' narrow lead, Marte didn't feel any pressure to make a perfect throw with two outs on the board. He also didn't have much time to overanalyze, so he relied on his instincts to put the ball over the plate for Cervelli.
"No pressure," Marte said. "Because I know how to throw to home plate. I know I can control the ball to home."
Cole heavily relied on his defense as he allowed 10 hits and didn't record a strikeout in seven innings. After Garneau was called out at home and the inning ended, Cole turned and pointed to left field in appreciation.
Cervelli shares Cole's respect for Marte's arm. The catcher nearly fist-bumped the umpire as he celebrated the throw after the out call was made.
"When I see he has the ball out there, I think, 'Out.' All the time," Cervelli said. "You know? He's really good at throwing that. I had to move a little bit to the left side, and then he got it on point."
Marte has earned a reputation for having one of the strongest outfield arms in the game, as his National League-best 16 assists helped him win his first Gold Glove Award last winter.
Although Marte's teammates and coaches have seen him throw from left field to home plate in practice, the act carries more weight when a win is at stake, according to manager Clint Hurdle.
"We've seen him do it," Hurdle said. "You never take it for granted, the times that he does it. But in that situation, the game was on the line."
Sarah K. Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.