Carpenter channels Willie Mays Hayes with acrobatic run

Carpenter channels Willie Mays Hayes with acrobatic run

ST. LOUIS -- Trying to score from third base on Matt Holliday's first-inning fly ball to Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton on Friday, Matt Carpenter used some split-second improvisation by somersaulting over catcher Brayan Pena, a la Wesley Snipes' Willie Mays Hayes from the movie "Major League."

And it actually worked.

Carpenter evened the game at 1-1 by flipping over Pena, who had taken the throw from Hamilton and was in position to tag Carpenter at home. Instead, Carpenter made an aerial move and was able to tap home plate as Pena dropped the ball trying to adjust.

"I'm just trying to score," said Carpenter after the Cardinals' 6-1 victory at Busch Stadium. "You're running through all the different scenarios in your mind. Basically, I had two options. I could either run through him or try to go around him. Initially, I was just going to go right through him and at the last minute, I felt the need to go over him. Honestly, it was just a reaction and ended up working out."

Carpenter's 1st-inning double

"It's one of those plays where you're trying to do whatever it takes to block home plate," Pena said. "The only thing I felt was him jumping over me. … I've got to go get the baseball and he has to do whatever it takes to score that run."

Carpenter, who leads the Cards with nine runs scored this season, added that it was "my first somersault ever."

Manager Mike Matheny is hopeful that it is also his last.

"It wasn't a sight we wanted to see because that looked like it could have turned out bad," Matheny said. "Not just out, but hurt. The whole thing didn't look good. Very athletic move. It ended up working out OK."

Carpenter opened the inning with a double off Reds starter Johnny Cueto and has now reached base in every game this season. Another double late in the game gave Carpenter six in four games; each came in an inning in which the Cardinals scored.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.