10/03/2003 9:39 PM ET
Pitcher Worrell plays 'goalie'
Worrell's play: 56k | 300k
By Chris Shuttlesworth / MLB.com
MIAMI -- The Giants' Tim Worrell gave Patrick Roy a run for his money in the 11th inning of Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Friday, sliding left and right and stopping balls with his body, his bare hand and anything else he could get in the way.
Worrell made two impressive fielding plays, and his stumbling, barehanded snag of a Luis Castillo comebacker and throw home to erase Jeff Conine could easily have been the highlight of the game if Ivan Rodriguez hadn't followed with a game-winning, two-run hit to give the Marlins a 4-3 victory and 2-1 edge in the series.
"That might have been one of the best plays I've ever seen," said shortstop Rich Aurilia. "He looked like a hockey goalie. I went to the mound, and we were laughing about it."
Yet Worrell, standing at his locker with bloodied and bruised knees, wasn't too impressed with his own play.
"I thought it was hit harder than it was," he said. "I thought he hit it good, and he didn't really hit it that good, so I was just trying to dive back and barehand it instead of probably getting into position and [making a] double play."
That double play would have ended the game and taken Jose Cruz Jr. off the hook for his inning-opening muff of Conine's fly ball, which sparked the Marlins' rally.
After Cruz's error and a walk to Alex Gonzalez -- despite Gonzalez trying to sacrifice the runner over -- Worrell made a nifty sliding stop and throw to first on Miguel Cabrera's sac bunt. An intentional walk to Juan Pierre loaded the bases for Castillo.
Castillo took a huge rip at Worrell's first offering, but he barely made contact, sending the ball skipping back toward the mound. Worrell was falling slightly to his left on his follow-through, but he reached back for the ball and, as his feet slid out from under him, grabbed it with his bare hand, stood and slung it sidearm to catcher Yorvit Torrealba for the out at home.
"I thought the ball that got hit back up the middle, that I ended up stopping with my hand, was hit harder," said Worrell. "Looking back now, with how it was hit, there was plenty of time there to get in front of it, set up, throw home and probably turn a double [play] there.
"At that point I was trying to get an out and make sure I had an out, and I saw it come off the bat. Most times, stuff back up the middle is not hit too soft, so I was just trying to make sure I could stop the ball."
But while Worrell may have been hard on himself for not turning a great play into the spectacular, his teammates expressed their admiration for his effort.
"Timmy made two great plays on the mound -- unbelievable plays," said Aurilia. "He's been on the job for us all year, and we can't look back and say Timmy lost that game. We have the utmost confidence in that guy going out there every day."
Chris Shuttlesworth is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.