Flipping out: Murphy turns in amazin' play
First baseman gets his man with behind-the-back toss
NEW YORK -- The Mets got the defensive play of the year on Wednesday night, from an unexpected source.
With one out in the top of the seventh, the Dodgers' Mark Loretta hit a sharp ground ball down the first-base line. The ball hit off the top of the base and popped into the air back toward second base. Mets first baseman Daniel Murphy, who started the year with a string of defensive miscues in left field, grabbed the ball with his bare hand and flipped it behind his back to pitcher Bobby Parnell, racing over to cover the bag. The throw beat Loretta by a quarter-step.
The Mets went on to win the game, 5-4.
"It happened," Murphy said matter-of-factly, adding that he had tried similar behind-the-back plays as a second baseman. "I've thought about it before, but I never actually thought I could do it."
When asked whether he called on any basketball experience, Murphy quickly responded, "I'm still trying to figure out baseball."
Murphy credited his pitcher with being there to finish the play.
"Bobby made a great play to keep coming there," Murphy said. "If he didn't, I'm probably flipping it to [manager] Jerry [Manuel]."
Parnell was so busy sprinting to the base that he didn't see how Murphy got him the ball.
"I didn't even realize he threw it behind his back until after the game," Parnell admitted. "Instincts take over at that point, I guess."
And Manuel was just glad to see his struggling team get a key out in an eventual win.
"I didn't know what happened on that play to be honest with you," he said. "When the guy called him out, I just said, 'Hooray. We got another out.'"
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.