CHICAGO -- Carlos Guillen's behind-the-back flip to start a double play Saturday night, in a 3-2 comeback victory over the White Sox, was still out in front on the list of Major League highlights Sunday morning. To the Tigers second baseman, though, his no-look toss to shortstop Ramon Santiago was just a natural reaction to try to get an out.
"I just felt at the moment that was the only way I had a chance," Guillen said. "I tried to put the ball right in front of Santi so he can at least make one out."
It isn't a play they practice, Guillen and Santiago both said. It's just a play of faith by Guillen that Santiago will be there, and a reaction by Santiago to be ready in case Guillen can actually pull it off.
The result was two outs and an escape from a third-inning jam on what could have easily been an infield single. Back-to-back singles from Chicago's Juan Pierre and Omar Vizquel had put runners on first and second with one out for Alex Rios, who swung at the first pitch he saw from Rick Porcello and hit a strong grounder up the middle. Guillen ran it down behind second base and then flipped it toward the third-base side of the bag.
It required almost as deft of a play from Santiago to complete it. He ran down the ball two steps before he got to the bag, then had to change direction to reach the bag and fire to first for the third out.
"I just wanted to be ready to catch the ball and get one out at least, because Carlos made an outstanding play," Santiago said Sunday. "I don't know if he's going to throw here or here, so I was kind of [waiting]. If I go to the base right away, I don't get that. But it was hit pretty hard and I stayed back. He gave me a good feed."
It's actually the second time this season that Guillen has pulled off that play. He had a similar flip to rookie shortstop Danny Worth to get a force out against the Blue Jays on July 24, the same night he strained his right calf and landed on the disabled list.
"This one I got more on it, because I think it was to the other base of the base," Guillen said. "The other one was mostly up the middle. I messed it up a little bit."