Sure, it's only June. But Triple-A Nashville right fielder Scott Heineman and second baseman Christian Lopes have set a high bar for catch of the year.
The duo converged on a blooper off the bat of Memphis' Andrew Knizner in shallow right field in the third inning Tuesday night. Heineman -- Texas' No. 27 prospect, slid to make the catch but couldn't secure the ball and it popped out of his glove. Lopes alertly snatched it for the out, denying the third-ranked St. Louis prospect of a hit.
Video: Heineman, Lopes make wild play for Sounds
There was some initial confusion regarding whether the ball hit the ground, but the umpires soon confirmed it.
"The ball went up like a typical popup, and I honestly thought it was going to drop between me and Heineman," Lopes said. "I saw him barreling down on it, so I didn't want to get in his way, but I thought I had a chance as I got closer. But then he dives and it skipped off his glove and I could hear him say, 'Get it, Lopey.' I saw it pop right up and went out and got it.
"Afterwards, we just looked at each other and laughed. Like, what the heck just happened? But it was pretty cool for that play to develop like that."
It was the second out of the inning and limited Memphis' damage to a leadoff homer off the bat of Cardinals No. 10 prospect Edmundo Sosa as the Sounds teed off for 18 hits to thump the Redbirds, 10-4, at Autozone Park.
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When the pair returned to the dugout, their teammates had little to say about the peculiar play.
"No one was talking about it," Lopes said. "Everyone was just watching the game. I heard a 'Well done' and a 'Nice catch,' but that was it. Everyone just went on with the game."
Nashville had built an 8-4 lead by then and continued to take its hacks, collecting two more runs on seven hits after the play was made.
Lopes, 26, was making his Triple-A season debut after his promotion from Double-A Frisco earlier in the day. He batted .259/.367/.418 with a .955 fielding percentage in 40 Texas League games.
At the dish Tuesday, the 2011 seventh-rounder singled to right on the seventh pitch he saw from right-hander Anthony Shew in the second. After swiping his first PCL bag of the year, Lopes was plated on a base hit by Adam Moore. In the next frame, the California native laced an RBI double to left that scored Matt Davidson. He was driven in again by Moore two batters later en route to a five-run inning for the Sounds.
Lopes worked a walk in the seventh and stole another bag before being stranded at second and reached base with another free pass in the ninth.
"Anytime you make a play that's not supposed to be made, it gets your adrenaline pumping," he said. "It give you a little more energy throughout the rest of the game, for sure."
Heineman, 26, was playing his fourth game in right field this season for the Sounds. He entered the game with a 1.000 fielding percentage at the position, registering seven putouts and an assist in eight chances.
The 2015 11th-rounder clubbed a game-tying two-run dinger to left in the second and added a ground-ball single up the middle off an 0-2 offering by No. 20 Cardinals prospect Junior Fernandez.
2019 MiLB include
"It was just one of those things that just happens," Lopes said. "It was played perfectly and I just happened to be there. That's why you always focus until the play is over.
"No one said anything about it after the game. I don't think anyone remembered it. We were all just excited to get the 'W.'"
Zack Granite finished with four hits and an RBI for Nashville. Juremi Profar collected three hits, two runs and an RBI. Moore drove in three runs and Carlos Tocci notched a pair of knocks.
Adolis Garcia went 3-for-4 while Irving Lopez launched his first Triple-A tater in the second and added a single for Memphis. Fernandez whiffed the side on 15 pitches in the sixth.