Iglesias starts slick DP with nifty flip
Early gem helps propel Tigers to feel-good victory over Twins
DETROIT -- Due to a mixup, Jose Iglesias wasn't on the Tigers' original lineup card when it went up Thursday morning. Unfortunately for Minnesota's Kurt Suzuki and Brian Dozier, that was quickly corrected. Just when the Twins' offense seemed ready to get going in the first inning, Iglesias and his glove made sure the threat was quickly erased.
What looked like a Suzuki single and a first-inning jam for Anibal Sanchez instead became the latest addition to Iglesias' highlight reel after a scoop and shovel pass for a double play.
"Not only was it a great play," manager Brad Ausmus said of the first-inning double play turned by Iglesias and Ian Kinsler, "but it was an important play in the course of the game. I think if that double play isn't turned, the game may turn out differently."
The gem helped Sanchez escape the opening inning without giving up a run, and it allowed the Tigers to subsequently pull ahead early in a 13-1 victory. That's the kind of difference Iglesias makes in the infield defense now that he's healthy. At the same time, he makes it look artistic.
"Yeah, that's the only way something's going to get done," Iglesias said of his flip out of the glove to Kinsler to get it started. "And a beautiful turn by Kins, as well. And a nice pick by [Miguel Cabrera] at first. So everything went well, and we got a good start."
In many ways, it was a play that goes against the grain for Iglesias. Instead of a sprint into the hole and strong throw against his body, as he has done a few times this season, Iglesias had to chase down Suzuki's ground ball up the middle.
As Iglesias passed the bag running to his left, he shoveled the ball out of his glove to Kinsler, who has seen enough from his double-play partner to know to cover the bag.
"We practice a lot together," Kinsler said. "We turn double plays every day together, so I know where he likes to comes from, and where he's capable of coming from, so I was right there."
He also knew to expect the flip.
"He can play catch with his glove, throw it up left-handed," Kinsler said. "He's capable of flinging that ball pretty far with his glove. He's pretty good at it."
Kinsler barehanded the ball to force Dozier at second base, then whirled and fired to first with enough time to get Suzuki.
"That play's more a react play," Iglesias said. "We've got an idea what we're going to do with each other on each particular play. But we just react to it."
The reaction from Sanchez was obvious. Instead of having two runners on and nobody out for Joe Mauer in the first inning -- the kind of early threat that has plagued him at times this season -- he had two outs and nobody on.
"That double play helped me a lot," Sanchez said. "I think that's the play of the game."
It was the 18th double play turned by Iglesias and Kinsler this season. It might be their best to date, but it might not be for long.
"It's up there," Iglesias said. "We can still do better than that, but that was a pretty impressive play. And also, a great moment for the team, and for Anibal."