SAN DIEGO -- While Carlos Quentin's run-scoring collision may be the standout moment from Friday night's 3-1 Padres win, right fielder Chris Denorfia nearly completed a similarly memorable play in the third inning.
With Mets' starter R.A. Dickey at the plate, Denorfia was playing a shallow right field and shading the foul line in anticipation of the kind of opposite-field blooper that is often a product of a pitcher's defensive swing. What he got instead was a solidly struck line drive. Denorfia charged and fired a wild one-hopper to first, where Yonder Alonso picked it for what looked to many in the ballpark to be a 9-3 groundout.
Dickey was ruled safe in the bang-bang play, but the Padres had almost completed a rare feat: throwing a runner out at first from the outfield. Denorfia has made a few such attempts this season, opportunities he says are the product of perfect circumstances.
"There are certain situations where I can play in and over towards first base, and if a guy hits a line drive to me, I usually have a shot," Denorfia said.
Those chances are few and far between, and in order for Denorfia to take them, he says, his first baseman must also be aware and ready for a throw he's not used to receiving.
"[Alonso] is really good at getting to the bag, he can smell it too when it's coming," Denorfia said. "If you put a good charge on it, and he's there, you just try not to throw it away."
Alonso was quick to point out that a throw from right is a strange play for the first-base umpire, too.
"That play might happen once every two, three years. It never happens," Alonso said. "So it's a hard play all around -- for the right fielder, to me, and for the umpire."