Making unbelievable plays in the field has become commonplace for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. But for the first time, Machado's glittering glovework is on display in the World Baseball Classic, and he's taking hits away from opponents while representing the Dominican Republic.
In Thursday night's 3-0 win over Venezuela at Petco Park, Machado made a pair of incredible plays at third base. The first was on an Alcides Escobar bunt attempt in the fifth, when Machado charged, barehanded the ball and fired an off-balance throw to first to get the speedy runner.
Machado saved the best for last, however. With one out and nobody on in the sixth, Miguel Cabrera hit a sharp ground ball down the third-base line and Machado -- ranging well into foul territory, and at the edge of the outfield grass -- backhanded the ball and made a jump-throw to first. The throw was offline, but first baseman Carlos Santana moved off the bag to grab it and dove back to the bag with his glove to get Cabrera by half a step.
The distance of Machado's throw across the diamond was 157.8 feet per Statcast™; his longest throw from third to get a runner at first in 2016 was 147.3 feet. The longest tracked throw by any third baseman to get an out at first last season was 151.4 feet, by Cheslor Cuthbert of the Royals on July 9, against the Mariners.
"That boy, he's not human," left fielder Gregory Polanco said. "He's from another planet. He's a great guy, he never gives up, and it's great to watch him play."
Machado's play was reminiscent of what is perhaps his signature gem -- robbing the Yankees' Luis Cruz of a hit down the third-base line with a throw from foul territory at Yankee Stadium in July 2013.
"I feel great just being here, being a part of this team, being a part of the legacy we're trying to create," Machado said after the game. "This event has been great every time we've been here."
A three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner in five MLB seasons, the 24-year-old Machado split time between third base and shortstop for Baltimore in 2016 as a result of an injury early in the season to J.J. Hardy.
Since debuting in 2012, Machado leads all American League third basemen with 75 defensive runs saved, and is second only to the Rockies' Nolan Arenado (84) in the Majors over that span.
The World Baseball Classic runs through Wednesday. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games in San Diego's Petco Park and the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.