Every now and then, we see a billiards-style hit in which a batter makes poor contact with a pitch, beating it into the ground but putting just enough english on it that it stays fair. Derek Dietrich did this last year when he was with the Marlins. The Tigers’ Nick Buss had spin working in his favor several years ago, turning a foul ball into a double. What we have never seen — at least to the best of my memory — is a hit with the amount of english on Paul DeJong‘s foul ball-turned-single yesterday against the Giants.
The Cardinals were threatening with runners on first and second with two outs against Giants starter Dereck Rodríguez in the first inning. With a 2-2 count, DeJong nearly swung and missed at a change-up. Instead, it glanced off of his bat something like five feet into foul territory before spinning back into fair territory about two-thirds of the way down the first base line. Rodríguez, who understandably assumed it was a foul ball and did not charge after it, had no chance and first baseman Brandon Belt had to charge in, allowing DeJong to reach safely and load the bases.
The Cardinals were not able to capitalize on the stroke of good fortune as Yadier Molina flied out to end the inning. They still went on to win 1-0 thanks to a superbly pitched game by Jack Flaherty and a solo homer from Marcell Ozuna. His homer went into “Big Ac Land” — the M in the sign was broken last month by DeJong.