(Russell Martin is a boss. Courtesy of The AP)
The inning-ending double play in the 7th yesterday, Garder-to-Martin on a caught flyball/throw out at the plate to preserve what, at the time, was a 1-run lead was an absolute thing of beauty. And when you consider how the Yankees mucked things up to even get in that situation, bases loaded and 2 outs thanks to a couple of sloppy errors, and you consider that the offense had once again been able to chip away at Cub pitching all day without being able to break through for more runs, I don't think there's any question that the plays by Gardner and Martin were the best of the season so far.
The throw by Gardner was textbook, and all set up by perfect positioning on the catch. He transitioned so smoothly and quickly into the throw that anybody watching should have known that Pena was going to be meat at the plate. Watch the replay. By the time Gardner makes the catch and unleashes the throw, Pena is only a few steps off third base. And then the job by Martin to make the catch, secure the ball, take a brutal hit without getting seriously hurt, and hold onto the ball? Incredible. The extra little dose of swag on the show to Pena after he got up was a nice touch too. I haven't looked up the WPA of that play yet, and I don't want to. Given the situation that it took place in, the execution of the play by both parties involved, and the fact that it held a slim lead in the late innings on the road, that's #1 for the season in my book.
P.S.- I was watching the 2nd half of yesterday's game at Hooters with a few people for a friend's going away party. In typical Yankee fan fashion, I made one of the waitresses change the channel from the Sawx-Brewers game just so I could watch. After the collision at the plate, I let out a couple of loud yells and started pounding the guy sitting next to me on the arm. I got a couple of dirty looks from other restaurant goers and waitresses alike. I'm a classy guy.