ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - It easily could have gone unnoticed after all the runs and extra-base hits today, but Alexi Casilla’s tag at second base on Desmond Jennings’ stolen base attempt in the second inning received the proper attention following the Orioles’ 10-7 win over the Rays.
“I thought Lexi played real well at second base for us today,” said manager Buck Showalter. “What a tag he made. They’re going to show, and rightfully, (Matt Joyce’s) catch on those gem things they show, but Lexi’s tag at second, I know Matt (Wieters) was a big fan of it.”
It was a thing of beauty. Casilla reached across the bag to make the catch, then spun and applied the tag in one smooth motion.
“That ball cut actually,” Casilla said. “It was like a slider or something like that. I just react. I knew that if I just caught it, he would be safe, so I had to spin around and try to tag him. It happened. I got lucky. I just react because that ball cut. It was open. I just reacted and was spinning and tagged him out.”
Wieters pointed at Casilla after the tag.
“I threw it and it cut a little bit to him,” Wieters said. “I’m like, dang it, and then next thing I know, I get an out call. I’m like, ‘I don’t know how he just did that.’
“I’ll take it.”
Casilla also contributed at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBIs and a run scored.
Casilla knows that he has to take advantage of any opportunity, given his limited playing time this season.
“Exactly,” he said. “I haven’t been playing that much, but I always keep working hard, get in the cage every day and just to get any opportunity and got out there and get on base and score runs and give my team a win.”
The Orioles moved back into third place with today’s win.
“Well, this is a great team,” Casilla said. “I guarantee you we’re going to be in first really quick.”