The expression "hitting the cover off the baseball" is often tossed around, but Milwaukee Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado actually did just that in Friday night’s 5-3 victory, on a weak groundball to third base nonetheless.
With one out in the sixth inning and Mark Reynolds on second base, Maldonado hit one on the ground to Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez. It was clear something was wrong with the baseball when Alvarez’s throw died as it flew across the diamond, dying well before it got to first baseman Gaby Sanchez.
"I was surprised," Maldonado said. "I didn’t know what happened when he threw the ball to first base. I thought he threw the ball to second base. I was in shock."
The replay shows the cover came off the ball right after Maldonado made contact, meaning the ball was more than likely defective.
"In my eight-year career at this level, I’ve never seen something like that," Brewers centerfielder Carlos Gomez said."It’s amazing. It’s something that I’m never going to forget."
The odd play led to a run for the Brewers, as Maldonado reaching safely allowed pitcher Kyle Lohse to sacrifice the runners up to second and third. Carlos Gomez plated Maldonado with an infield single with two outs.
"We got a run because of it," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I don’t know. It’s a strange game."