Unusual double play showcases ‘special’ experience of Galvis, Sogard

Check this out, as Freddy Galvis starts off this crazy double play for the Blue Jays off the Gary Sanchez hard liner to short.

TORONTO – Moments after DJ LeMahieu doubled to lead off the seventh inning Tuesday, Freddy Galvis and Eric Sogard turned to one another near second base and exchanged a few words.

At the time, the Blue Jays were protecting a two-run lead. They had just returned home from an 0-6 road trip, and were in search of their first win in more than a week. Playing against a first-place Yankees team, the 21-38 Toronto Blue Jays needed every advantage they could get.

With that in mind, Galvis shared an idea with Sogard as Luke Voit approached the batter’s box. Knowing that Voit has below-average speed, Galvis told Sogard to be ready for a play at second base just in case. There was no force because first base was empty, but who knows. Maybe they could catch LeMahieu off-guard at second then turn a double play.

The ball would have to be hit hard, and right at Galvis. They’d need a perfect feed, a quick tag and a strong throw. Objectively speaking, the chances of all this happening were slim. Still, the thought occurred. Worst-case, you throw to first in time to beat Voit.

"Believe it or not, we were discussing it," Sogard said.

"The situation’s going to dictate when you do it," Galvis added. "Especially with a slow runner at home plate, that’s when you do it."

Voit struck out, so any payoff would have to wait at least one more hitter. But that conversation between Galvis and Sogard would soon set in motion an unusual 6-4-3 double play that showcased their athleticism and experience.

With one out, catcher Gary Sanchez stepped up to face Joe Biagini. Like Voit, Sanchez has below-average speed, so when he hit a grounder right at Galvis, Sogard bolted for second, where a perfect feed awaited him. He then applied the tag to LeMahieu before throwing across the diamond to end the inning.

"Sure enough, it worked on the next batter," Sogard said. "It was definitely one of the cooler double plays I’ve been a part of. It’s something I’ve never seen."

"I don’t think I’ve seen a play like that," starter Clayton Richard echoed. "That’s two guys thinking ahead of the game and being on the same page. That’s pretty special."

Granted, plays like that aren’t enough to reverse the fortunes of a Blue Jays team that might lose 100 games. Far from it. But at field level, those brief conversations can make a big difference. After all, you’d certainly rather beat the New York Yankees than lose a seventh consecutive game.

"You just don’t teach that," manager Charlie Montoyo said. "That’s unbelievable that you can think like that. That makes Galvis special."

Of course, it’s not enough for Galvis to think of the play. Sogard has to tag the runner then throw to first on the run – not an easy play even if you sense it coming.

"We have really good communication," Galvis said. "We try to anticipate some plays, and we anticipated that one."

Ben Nicholson-Smith is Sportsnet’s baseball editor. Arden Zwelling is a senior writer. Together, they bring you the most in-depth Blue Jays podcast in the league, covering off all the latest news with opinion and analysis, as well as interviews with other insiders and team members.

Regardless of what happened at second, Sogard was determined to retire the hitter. While the runner at second is more dangerous, there’s no guarantee he’ll stray far from the base.

"The batter has to be the priority," Sogard said. "Getting the out at second is a bonus."

On a young Blue Jays team, Sogard and Galvis have more big-league time than most. The 33-year-old Sogard has nine seasons in the majors, one more than the 29-year-old Galvis. That experience helped them turn a 6-4-3 double play that was anything but ordinary.

"We’ve both been out there a long time," Sogard said. "We’ve seen a lot of things. We’ve done a lot of things. We trust each other a lot and we think well together, so I think extra things like that start to happen when you have veteran guys who know each other well."

Thanks in part to that play, the Blue Jays beat the Yankees 4-3 to end their losing streak at six games. Along the way, two veteran infielders combined skill and awareness in memorable fashion. Just don’t expect this to happen again soon.

Galvis estimates he gets one or two chances a year to make a play like this. And even if you get a shot, good luck turning that double play.

"I’ve literally never seen that," Sogard said. "Now we know at least it’s possible."

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