Squeeze play executed to perfection

Squeeze play executed to perfection

CHICAGO -- Some ballplayers are good bunters but aren't equipped with the set of wheels that would allow them easily to reach base on a squeeze. Other ballplayers possess speed but struggle to time a late bunt properly, spoiling the play altogether.

On Wednesday, Scott Podsednik excelled in both areas.

During the seventh inning of the White Sox 4-1 victory against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, the fleet-footed Podsednik dropped down a perfectly executed suicide squeeze with one out in a tight ballgame. Podsednik reached first base on the play, which resulted in an RBI when Chris Getz scored from third. The run came with the White Sox clinging to a 2-0 lead and, according to Getz, was foreseen even one batter earlier by third-base coach Jeff Cox.

"To be honest, the hitter before, I was at second base," Getz said. "Cox came up to me and almost predicted that it might happen if the situation dictated. And what do you know, he put it on and then we were rolling."

The inning began with consecutive walks to Getz and Gordon Beckham, which knocked Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster from the game. White Sox pitcher John Danks then bunted into a fielder's choice back to relief pitcher Angel Guzman, with Beckham out at second on the play and Getz moving to third.

That series of events set up the squeeze for Podsednik, who laid down a bunt on Guzman's first offering after initially hiding his intent to bunt. The ball rolled between the mound and first base as Podsednik burned up the line and Danks headed to second.

Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee and Guzman both converged on the ball, with nobody covering first. Meanwhile, Getz was nearly at home plate, on his way to scoring an easy run.

"I was so antsy, so excited we actually called a squeeze and I'm involved," Getz said. "Stuff like that is fun."

Lee grabbed the ball, but neither Guzman nor Cubs second baseman Aaron Miles could reach first base before Podsednik.

"We both went for the ball, but the guy's trying to score," said Lee, who acknowledged that the squeeze was in the back of his mind. "It was a good play. There was no defensing that. He bunted it in the right spot. It was a good bunt."

Miles elaborated on the events that unfolded.

"It's a tough play because for one, it's not a regular sacrifice bunt," Miles said. "He's squaring around late. Obviously, the middle infielders are cheating a little toward the bags because we're playing double-play depth.

"If you're anticipating it, and anticipate it good enough, it's still going to be very tough to get there. To get a guy like Podsednik out on a bunt when he squares so late is tough. ... He's one of the fastest guys in the league, and he's squaring around late."

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said that because his team has been so susceptible to hitting into double plays this season, he knew he needed to try a little small ball to get something going.

On Wednesday, that decision -- and the timing of both the bunt and baserunning -- worked out perfectly.

"I had the right people in the right place," Guillen said.

Jesse Temple is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.