The tying run is at second base with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
J.J. Putz is in to close the game, one in which the D-backs rallied from six down to take the lead. A win against one of the NL’s worst teams would be huge, while a loss, especially now, would be devastating.
So when Jose Altuve hit a ball to Putz’s left, one that had infield single written all over it, the 34-year-old did what he had to do.
“It was just pure reaction,” the reliever said.
That reaction let to Putz diving for the ball, snagging it in his glove and throwing to first for the game’s final out.
“I’m really not that athletic,” Putz added. “Like [catcher Miguel Montero] said, I think he said he felt home plate move when I hit the turf.”
That might have been a slight exaggeration, but Putz’s 6-foot-5, 250 pound frame is not exactly meant to go airborne, if even for just a second before he came crashing down.
“He was actually very athletic on that play,” D-backs Manager Kirk Gibson said, chuckling. “He showed a little more quickness, probably surprised some people.”
The important thing, as both Putz and Gibson noted, was that Putz got a few laughs along with his 27th save, and the D-backs were able to get the win and keep pace with the San Francisco Giants.
ArizonaSports.com’s Craig Grialou contributed to this report