Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes armed and dangerous to Angels’ runners // Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes proves again he’s got one of the best arms in the majors // ‘You don’t see that kind of arm strength and accuracy from the foul pole. He just winged it’ — Gary DiSarcina
There was the usual joy that spilled from the Angels dugout late Tuesday when Collin Cowgill’s walk-off home run cleared the wall in left field to beat the Oakland Athletics, 2-1, in 14 innings.
And there was more than the usual amount of relief.
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia sounded as if he half-expected Yoenis Cespedes, the A’s Paul Bunyan-like outfielder, to make a superhuman leap and pull it in.
“The way he was playing tonight,” Scioscia said, “it would not have shocked me if he caught it.”
Said Cowgill: “There’s no telling what that guy’s going to do”
The Angels are expert witnesses.
During the second inning of a May 31 game at Oakland, Cespedes threw out two Angels at the plate. And on Tuesday he was at it again, unleashing a throw in the eighth inning that is being compared to some of baseball’s best ever.
With Howie Kendrick at first base, Mike Trout’s one-hop double toward the left-field line caromed off Cespedes’ glove and into the corner. Angels third base coach Gary DiSarcina said he thought there might be a play at the plate but that Kendrick, who runs well, would score easily.
Cespedes retrieved the ball near the foul pole and air-mailed a high-arcing throw of about 300 feet to catcher Derek Norris that nailed Kendrick at the plate and preserved a 1-1 tie.
“You don’t see that kind of arm strength and accuracy from the foul pole,” DiSarcina said. “He just winged it.”
Said Scioscia: “When the ball rolled into the corner, I thought Howie would score standing up. Cespedes picked the ball up and threw a guided missile that was right on the money. It was just an incredible throw from that distance, from that angle, everything.”
It was Cespedes’ eighth assist this season, two more than any other outfielder in the majors through Tuesday’s games, but this one was obviously special.
“If you hadn’t seen it,” A’s reliever Sean Doolittle said, “you probably wouldn’t have believed it.”
Which is why the Angels were holding their collective breath as Cespedes quickly retreated to the wall in tracking Cowgill’s blast.
Instead, the ball was several feet over his head.
Said Cowgill: “That was the only way we were going to score if we hit it to left field.”