Even though Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado has made a living making incredible plays at third base, he still manages to surprise every now and then.
On Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays, he pulled off yet another outstanding play in the first inning of what eventually became a 5-0 victory for the Orioles.
With the game tied 0-0 in the bottom of the first, Machado started an impressive 5-4-3 double play that ended the Rays' scoring threat.
As you can see in the video below, Machado moves to his right and makes a stop along the foul line, firing the ball to second base to kick off the incredibly fast double play:
We've seen Machado make plays like this on a regular basis, but the fact that he had the presence of mind (and incredible athleticism) to fire a strike to second base - instead of going for only one out at first base - is what makes him a special player.
Kevin Gausman, the Orioles' starter, told MLB.com after the game that he's happy to have defenders like Machado and second baseman Jonathan Schoop playing behind him:
"I don't think there's any third baseman and second baseman that roll that double play the way that they did," Gausman said. "You feel really comfortable with those guys out there. Obviously Manny's going to run down the line and try to get any ball that he can try to put a glove on."
As the cliche goes, double plays are a pitcher's best friend, and there certainly aren't many third basemen who can turn them like Machado.
Even Orioles manager Buck Showalter was impressed by Machado, even though he sees what the star defender can do on a nightly basis:
"Manny made a couple plays. Nobody takes them for granted; they're so hard," Showalter said. "He's one of the few guys who can make them."
Machado has already won two Gold Glove awards in his young career (2013 and 2015) and is seemingly in line to win a third this year.
Machado isn't just a one-trick pony, though, as he also went 1-for-4 at the plate and had two RBI in his team's much-needed victory.
However, Machado has struggled with his bat this season, as he is currently hitting only .238 with 18 home runs and 52 RBI.
With the win, the Orioles improved to 48-51 on the season and are now 3.5 games behind the Kansas City Royals for the second American League wildcard spot. They currently trail the first-place Boston Red Sox by six games in the AL East division.