Attention baserunning coaches: add this heads-up play from Josh Rojas to your offseason highlight reels.
The Astros prospect dashed home on a foul pop when no one covered the plate, scoring the go-ahead run in the seventh inning as Double-A Corpus Christi rallied for a 5-3 victory over Springfield on Friday at Hammons Field.
Video: No one covers home, Hooks score on unusual sac fly
"I tagged up and I was waiting just to see if they'd leave it open and make sure nobody was close, but the pitcher [Junior Fernandez] was actually covering home, so I walked back," Rojas said. "I was anticipating them to leave it open and they didn't really leave it open at first. Then, [catcher Andrew Knizner] asked for time from [plate umpire Grant Conrad] and the umpire looked over and saw that I was kind of coming off the bag, so he didn't give it to him because I wasn't it on the base. I think he asked for time and assumed he got it, so he flipped the ball to the pitcher and turned around to go get his mask.
"Once I saw that nobody called time, the pitcher was walking back to the mound, the third baseman was walking back to third and the catcher had his back to home, I kept walking off little by little. Our third base coach, Omar [Lopez] said, 'You can go, you can go.' And I waited for the pitcher to get just a little bit further, so he couldn't get back in time and then I took off."
Fans at Hammons Field erupted in boos and the Cardinals were in disbelief in the aftermath of it.
Gameday box score
"I think they were kind of taken by surprise," Rojas said. "I don't think they really knew what was going on. They assumed time was called, which it wasn't, so they were pretty upset."
The run proved crucial, as it capped a four-run rally.
Cardinals No. 14 prospect Genesis Cabrera (0-2), making his third start in the organization since being acquired from the Rays in the Tommy Pham trade, shut out Corpus Christi for six innings before being tagged for all four runs in the seventh.
Rojas said he's caught defenses off-guard before but never like this. Lopez said Rojas is the type of player with the awareness to carry out that kind of play.
"Josh is one our players that have such great instincts to play the game," Lopez said. "His game awareness is above average. He's very aggressive and he knows how to play the game. He's always looking for opportunities to take advantage and do something that some players are not able to do because he's always ahead of the game."
The 2017 26th-round pick has a .251/.343/.391 slash line in 91 games with the Hooks after hitting .311/.410/.511 in 24 games with Class A Advanced Buies Creek. He was 0-for-4 on Friday but reached on a throwing error by second baseman Andy Young to become the potential go-ahead run.
Stephen Wrenn hit a solo homer, doubled and scored twice for Corpus Christi, while Astros No. 21 prospect Abraham Toro was 2-for-4.
Knizner doubled, singled and drove in a run and John Nogowski homered on a two-hit night for the Cardinals.