TAMPA -- It's not all that unusual, at Steinbrenner Field, to see a shortstop range deep into the hole on his backhand side, scoop the ball and fire a strike to nail the runner at first base. This time, though, it was Ryan Flaherty.
Starting at short for the Orioles on Wednesday afternoon, Flaherty robbed Juan Rivera of a base hit when he made a tremendous play to his right. His off-balance, nearly sidearm throw arced high but still had plenty of juice on it, getting to first base in time to beat the veteran outfielder.
"I saw him get to the ball, and I thought there was a 50-50 chance that he even threw it," said pitcher Jake Arrieta, who benefited from Flaherty's impressive get. "To make an accurate throw, running away from first base, toward the third-base foul line like that is really incredible. I don't know if that play will be appreciated as much as it should, because that's a pretty amazing play he made."
Flaherty acknowledged that the play could have gone wrong.
"I just let it fly and got lucky that it landed in the mitt," he said. "It could have ended up in the seats pretty easily."