Adeiny Hechavarria ran through the stop sign at third base, but he finished his sixth-inning dash toward the plate with an A-plus, tag-me-if-you-can slide that turned out to be the winning run in the Rays' 2-1 victory over the Royals on Monday.
"We're probably not going to benefit if we make those decisions too often," Rays manager Kevin Cash said about Hechavarria's decision to run through third-base coach Matt Quatraro's stop sign. "But it was nice we did tonight."
Hechavarria doubled to lead off the inning. One out later, Matt Duffy singled to right and Hechavarria headed for home.
"It was a line drive to right field, and I saw [right fielder Jorge] Soler go to his left," Hechavarria said. "So I figured I had a chance and just went."
Hechavarria said he saw the stop sign and acknowledged ignoring it.
"At that point I was just going 100 percent full speed and kept going," Hechavarria said.
Soler's throw from right field beat Hechavarria by a significant distance, but Hechavarria slid wide around home. When Royals catcher Salvador Perez tried to make the tag, Hechavarria pulled away his right hand before sneaking his left hand past Perez's mitt to score the Rays' second run.
"That was pure instinct, I went in thinking I'm going in to slide, but he was right there blocking the plate," Hechavarria said. "So I went around, I was going to put one hand in, and I saw he was going to put one hand there, so I flipped and put the other hand in there just in time."
Perez told reporters that once he caught the ball, he expected Hechavarria to try and jump.
"He just moved to the other side," Perez said. "I tried to follow him, follow his body. He did a tremendous job changing hands. You guys saw that. That's pretty good for him.
"I went for the right hand first, but as soon as he saw me go outside, he changed to the left and I was too late. That was a great slide for him. Yeah, in that moment I thought I almost got him a little bit because I felt something. But he was safe."
The Royals did not challenge the play as the replay clearly showed that Hechavarria was safe.