Pennington proves his worth in Blue Jays' win

Pennington proves his worth in Blue Jays' win

NEW YORK -- Cliff Pennington wasn't even supposed to play on Saturday afternoon -- but he ended up saving Game 1 of a doubleheader for the Blue Jays, coming up with a timely snag with his glove.

Pennington wasn't even in the starting lineup for the 9-5 victory. He entered in the second inning after shortstop Troy Tulowitzki left with an undisclosed injury. Pennington contributed with a hit and a run, but it was this play in the field during the eighth inning that changed the game.

New York had the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth when first baseman Greg Bird hit a sharp grounder to the right side of the field. The ball was scorched and took a short hop before arriving to Pennington his he made a sliding play and recorded the out.

"It was incredible," Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada said. "He was sitting on the bench, couldn't have known this was going to happen and the next thing you know they call him out to play. He turned out to be a huge player today, he made some amazing plays, nice hit, it was huge."

The Yankees were an inch or two away from taking the lead. Instead, the game remained tied at 5 and eventually went to extra innings in which Toronto earned the win. 

One of the main reasons Pennington was acquired from Arizona last month was to provide solid defense up the middle, and that's exactly what happened Saturday afternoon.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.