Gotcha: Yadi, Belisle nab Buxton in big spot
Cards battery catches Twins rookie speedster stealing in 8th, representing tying run
ST. LOUIS -- After an infield hit by Minnesota's Byron Buxton put him on first to lead off the eighth inning of a one-run game, reliever Matt Belisle and catcher Yadier Molina met between the mound and home plate. Their discussion was short and to the point, for they anticipated what was coming next.
"The kid is so fast that I just assumed they were going to try at some point," Belisle later explained. "I told Yadi I would quicken up [my delivery]."
The combination of Belisle being purposefully quick to the plate and Molina making a perfect throw prevented Buxton from swiping his first Major League base. It also turned the potential tying run into the inning's second out in the game that would finish as a 3-2 Cardinals win.
"I was ready," Molina said. "It was a great turn [of events]. When you get a guy at second for the second out, it's huge. That's what we needed."
The stolen-base attempt was the first for Buxton, who made his Major League debut on Sunday. His speed, though, was no secret. He had swiped 20 bases and logged 12 triples in 59 Double-A games before his callup. He also tripled off Cardinals starter John Lackey for his first Major League hit on Monday.
He took off on Tuesday trying to advance into scoring position for Torii Hunter, who ended up extending the inning with a single after Buxton was erased. Twins manager Paul Molitor turned defensive when asked about the foiled advancement afterward.
"Their guy was very quick to home, and we were trying to figure out a way to get him into scoring position, and it didn't work out," Molitor said. "I haven't looked at [his jump] to tell you if it was good or bad yet. As always, we'll look at it and see how we can get better."
Buxton was the eighth runner thrown out by Molina this season, but the first since May 26. Molina has thrown out 38 percent of attempting basestealers, slightly below his career average of 45 percent.
"He's above average in that department," Belisle said. "I know that I'm quick enough, coupled with Yadi, we're going to be handling most of the running game. But guys like [Buxton] can be hard to catch. He's very quick."