The catcher with arguably the strongest arm in the Majors came through once again on Tuesday, using his skill behind the plate to help the Blue Jays defeat the Red Sox, 5-1, and extend their lead in the American League East to 1 1/2 games.
Toronto catcher Russell Martin helped preserve a late tie when he cut down an attempted basestealer with what Statcast™ shows is just the latest in a long line of incredible throws by the Jays' backstop. While he sits atop a key Statcast™ leaderboard, a certain Nationals player took a shot at climbing toward the top of another category by making one of the quickest trips around the bases this season in his team's pivotal game against the rival Mets.
Statcast™ was also busy tracking towering home runs by the third basemen for the Pirates and Mets on Tuesday, as well as a strange pair of home runs -- including one that didn't leave the yard -- by a Marlins catcher. Here's a more in-depth look at each of those plays, courtesy of Statcast™.
Martin snuffs attempted stolen base
Though the Blue Jays have been making plenty of noise with their offense over the past month, it was a key defensive play by Martin that helped Toronto extend its AL East lead on Tuesday night. With the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Martin fired a throw down to second base to erase the potential winning run from the basepaths.
Martin rifled the throw at 81.4 mph to catch pinch-runner Rusney Castillo trying to steal, despite the fact that Castillo took a lead of 11.8 feet then reached a top speed of 18.1 mph on the play. The strong throw was nothing new for Martin, who entered the night leading all catchers with an average arm strength of 81.48 mph (minimum 25 attempts) on throws down to second base.
Realmuto's unique pair of homers
Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto became the first player in 35 years to hit both an inside-the-park home run and an over-the-fence home run in the same game. Making the event all the more rare, however, is the fact that Realmuto not only registered a higher exit velocity on his inside-the-park shot, but he also hit it farther than the typical home run he hit in the previous at-bat.
Realmuto's over-the-fence home run in the second inning jumped off the bat at 98 mph and traveled a projected distance of 383.6 feet. Two innings later, he smoked a 103.4-mph line drive that traveled a projected 406.1 feet before ricocheting off the rounded left-center-field wall toward right field. The catcher reached a top speed of 20.2 mph as he raced around the bases before sliding into home uncontested to complete the rare feat.
Taylor's mad dash around the bases
Nationals outfielder Michael Taylor seemingly broke the game wide open when he plated four runs in the sixth inning of Tuesday's crucial meeting with the division-leading Mets.
With the bases loaded and his club already leading 3-1, Taylor roped a single up the middle at 112.7 mph. The scorched ground ball ultimately skipped past center fielder Yoenis Cespedes and rolled all the way to the wall, allowing all three baserunners, and Taylor himself, to score on the play.
Taylor reached a top speed of 20 mph in racing around the bases in just 14.9 seconds, the fourth-fastest trip around the bases this season. The only players to cover those 360 feet in a faster time are Dee Gordon (14.3 seconds), Kevin Kiermaier (14.6) and Jarrod Dyson (14.8).
Kang hits a towering blast
Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang helped extend his team's lead with a mammoth solo home run in the eighth inning of Pittsburgh's eventual 7-3 victory over the Reds on Tuesday night.
The Rookie of the Year candidate led off the eighth inning with a no-doubter that jumped off his bat at 110.1 mph and traveled a projected 472 feet, making it the 19th-longest homer in the Majors this season.
Wright tees off for vintage homer
Long before the Mets put together their late rally to defeat the Nationals, third baseman David Wright put the Mets on the board in the second inning with one of his best-struck balls of the season.
Wright teed off on the eighth pitch of the at-bat from Jordan Zimmermann, turning around the 95-mph fastball at 107.2 mph, and sending it a projected 410.2 feet into the left-field seats. Those numbers made the homer Wright's third-hardest hit ball of the season, as well as his third-farthest.
Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.