Runner Safe After Acrobatic Play At The Plate

“I told you I wasn’t gonna slide.” – Chris Coghlan.

ST. LOUIS — The Blue Jays’ team motto this year is “Let’s Rise.” Chris Coghlan took that phrase to a new level in Tuesday’s 6-5, 11-inning win over the Cardinals with one of the most acrobatic “slides” ever seen.

Coghlan turned what appeared to be a guaranteed out into a Toronto run by soaring over the head of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina during the seventh inning. Molina appeared to have Coghlan out on arrival, but clearly the veteran utility man had other ideas.

If the play looked like something out of a movie, that’s because it was. In “Major League II,” Willie Mays Hayes made a similar move, but that was a scripted Hollywood comedy and it likely took multiple takes to pull off. Coghlan had one opportunity, and he did not miss it. To top it all off, he even threw in a mid-air somersault.

Coghlan started the rally with a one-out walk. In the next at-bat, Kevin Pillar hit a ball to the right-field corner, and as Coghlan approached third, he was waved home by third-base coach Luis Rivera. For a brief moment, that appeared to be an ill-advised decision, because Stephen Piscotty got to the ball in time and fired home.

The ball arrived well before Coghlan got to the plate, and a collision with Molina was seemingly imminent. That’s when Coghlan went all in with a headfirst dive over Molina’s entire body to avoid the tag. While in the air, Coghlan reached down for the plate with his left hand, then landed on it. It wasn’t quite Vince Carter over France’s Frederic Weis from the 2000 Sydney Olympics, but it may have been baseball’s version.

Home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott signaled safe after Coghlan completed his leap, as audible gasps were heard from the crowd at Busch Stadium. That gave the Blue Jays a 3-2 lead, and they tacked on another run before the end of the frame. Both runs were charged to Cardinals right-hander Matt Bowman, who entered the game with a scoreless streak of 19 2/3 innings.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB

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