Almost not fair: Pena's slick 'D' nails Nick
Tigers catcher tags stunned Swisher after letting squibber roll back into play
Baseball has always been a game of inches.
Never was that more apparent than in the eighth inning of Monday's game between the Tigers and Indians.
With Cleveland's Nick Swisher at the plate and Bruce Rondon on the hill for the Tigers with none out and the scored tied at 2, Swisher hit a squibber down the third-base line that rolled back into fair territory.
Tigers catcher Brayan Pena then alertly grabbed the ball and ran back to the plate to tag Swisher, who was still in disbelief that the ball didn't remain in foul territory.
"I had Miggy," Pena said about third baseman Miguel Cabrera. "He was talking to me the entire time. I saw it standing there, so I was like, 'OK, it might be a spin,' because a lot of baseballs do that, and that's exactly what it did. So when I caught it, I was making sure not to throw it or nothing. I was making sure to tag him."
Swisher wishes he could have the play back.
"I thought it was foul," he said. "Obviously, in hindsight, I should've ran."
It proved to be a huge play in a game that was determined on a two-run double by Victor Martinez in the 10th inning to secure a 4-2 win for the Tigers.
"It's one of those plays that it maybe looks like it doesn't mean anything, but it's an out, and it's a very important out. Every out counts," Pena said. "And from the other side, I feel like it's a learning experience, too, because if something like that happened to me, I'd make sure that I run [the next time]."
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.