TORONTO -- It may have been the greatest throw of Royals left fielder Alex Gordon's career. It mostly likely was the longest assist.
Gordon, a two-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove Award winner, threw out Edwin Encarnacion at the plate to end the bottom of the fourth inning at Rogers Centre on Monday night with a laser from deep left field. In the end, it wasn't enough for Kansas City, as the Blue Jays blew open a tight game late and won, 6-2.
But at the time Kevin Pillar singled with Encarnacion on second, it was 1-0 Blue Jays. Pillar drove a single toward the left-field line and away from Gordon, who ran it down, pivoted, blew a big bubble-gum bubble, and fired a one-hop strike to home plate. Catcher Salvador Perez tagged a sliding Encarnacion on the left shoulder for the out.
Statcast™ estimated that the throw travelled 250 feet and left Gordon's hand at a velocity of 92.8 mph.
Told of the velocity, Gordon quipped, "Hey, put me on the bump."
When the ball was hit, it seemed a long shot that Gordon would even try to throw home.
"You kind of know the situation," Gordon said. "It's a 1-0 game, and with the way [Blue Jays starter Aaron] Sanchez was pitching for them, you try to hold it down in terms of the score. You know Edwin isn't the fastest. I was playing in the gap, and Pillar hit it down the line.
"I just tried to make a good throw. Salvy made a great play. I didn't realize it until I got to the dugout and saw it again that he had to pick it because I short-hopped him."
Perhaps one reason Gordon wasn't so much in awe of his play is that he practices such throws with outfield coach Rusty Kuntz on a daily basis.
"You work on it and play long toss every day, and you work on those throws," Gordon said. "It's good to see those translate to the game."
It was Gordon's 70th outfield assist since 2011, when he made the transition from third base to left field full-time.
"Is that good?" Gordon asked jokingly. "As a former infielder, I never thought I'd get 70 outfield assists."