Memo to opposing defenders: Don't jog after a Byron Buxton base hit

"Once I saw him joggin' towards the ball, that's my cue.”

Dan Cook
May 23, 2018 - 4:18 pm

© Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Among his many tools, Byron Buxton's speed may be the most disruptive to opposing teams.  And yet it was apparent on Wednesday that the lesson hasn't reached every locker room.  

Batting in the fifth inning with the Twins trailing Detroit by two, Byron dumped a Michael Fulmer slider into left-center field.  Tigers center-fielder Leonys Martin jogged after it, assuming it would go as a routine single.

But there's nothing routine about Byron Buxton on the basepaths.

Buxton turned on the afterburners and slid safely into second base for his fourth double of the season.  The Twins were unable to push that run home, but by sheer force of his speed, Buxton created a scoring threat on a play where 95% of big-leaguers would've settled for a single.

“Not too many guys that I can think of would have been able to get there safely,” manager Paul Molitor said after the game, “He just puts pressure on the defense.  That time of the game, we're trailing by a couple, but it's still the right play to try and get into scoring position.

Martin hurried his throw from center, but a good slide from Buxton beat it.  That's the point of putting pressure on a defense, however. A hurried throw could've easily gotten away from the infielder covering second base and suddenly Buxton's on third with just one out.

Asked after the game how soon he was thinking “double”, Buxton said, “As soon as I hit it.”  Was it just a matter of seeing the ball split the outfielders? “Nope. As soon I see you joggin'.  Once I saw him joggin' towards the ball, that's my cue.”

Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire, who coached Buxton during his time as manager of the Twins,  is as familiar as anyone with how dangerous Buxton can be running the bases. You can bet all of the Tigers outfielders will be as well after Wednesday's series finale.

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